Frequently Asked Questions

Why isn’t the Quality Hub allowing me to register?

The site only allows one registration per students’ union as the login
area of the site is for those authorised to complete the online

The registration details can be shared with others within your
students’ union, but should not be shared widely because this access
will allow alterations to be made to the online workbook and for
submissions to be made.

Therefore it’s important that the login is only given to those will
responsibility for completing and submitting your self-assessments.

Can my union take part?

All students’ unions across the UK can participate. HE and larger FE
students’ unions are most likely to benefit from taking part. Smaller
FE unions are likely to find the NUS Learner Voice guidance more
relevant to addressing their needs.

How much does it cost?

It is free to all unions that are affiliated to NUS across the UK.

Is my union required to take part?

No, it is not compulsory; however, participation is likely to prove
hugely beneficial. It provides a framework you can use to assess your
union’s performance, and the opportunity to have that self-assessment
audited and validated by an external body.

Does Quality Students’ Unions have cross-sector support?

The Committee of University Chairs, Universities UK, GuildHE and the
Leadership Foundation have all endorsed the model and HEFCE have
demonstrated their support by awarding funding.

Each of the sector bodies detailed above, promote Quality Students’
Unions to their members and therefore your institution is likely to ask
you about your participation

How does it link with other quality standards?

The quality mark is linked to existing standards to prevent duplication
and to ensure a standardised approach. For example, a union achieving a
higher level Investors in People standard would automatically achieve
the ‘very good’ judgement for the ‘people’ component of the quality

In the first instance, unions will be able to opt to evidence the
governance standard by utilising the NUS Good Governance Code of
Practice. In future, following a review of the code, the Good
Governance Code of Practice will become the sole measure for achieving
against this standard.

How does it link with the wider work of NUS?

All work undertaken by NUS to improve the quality of students unions is
linked. At present Quality Students’ Unions focuses on the core aspects
of students’ union quality that apply to all students’ unions.
In future, NUS plans to develop add-on modules that students’ unions
will be able to opt into in order to have their particular specialisms
recognised, as an additional aspect to this quality standard.

What is the time-frame from registration to audit?

You can decide the timeframe that you want to work to, within the
parameters of the scheme. It depends on how quickly you are able to
complete both Part A and Part B self-assessments and proceed to audit.
In most cases, the first self-assessment is likely to take no longer
than a month. Subsequent self-assessments will involve updating rather
than rewriting and should generally be completed in even less time.

What’s the difference between Part A and Part B?

Part A is a basic health check and Part B requires a more thorough
self-assessment including qualitative data. Further information can be
found in both the About and Guidance section of this hub.

How far in advance of my Part B audit date do I need to submit all my self-assessments and supporting evidence?

Self-assessments and supporting information must be uploaded at least
15 working days in advance of the audit date

What should I submit as supporting evidence?

Within Part A the required documentation is very specific and is
detailed within the workbook. For Part B there are no set rules other
than; if you refer to a document within your self-assessment statement
then you must submit the aforementioned document as evidence.

There is a suggested list of documentation that you may wish to
consider including. Make sure that all of the information submitted
links clearly to your self-assessment statement.

Only provide supporting evidence that adds weight to your
self-assessment. Including additional information that is not directly
relevant will only distract the verifier from the information that does
support your submission.

How is the overall level of award calculated?

The overall level is calculated on the basis of an aggregate score
calculated from the scores attributed to each of the 12 component

However, there are also ceilings within the scoring system. Further
details can be found within the quality rating

Why is my self-assessment calculated at a low level when I have scored highly on many of the components?

Unions who do not score highly in relation to any of the five ceiling
components, detailed below, will have their overall scoring restricted.
Unions will not be able to achieve an overall score that is higher than
their score for any of the 5 ceilings.

The ceiling components are:

What information will be made public?

Information to share which unions have completed Part A and Part B will be published. The overall award level will not be published and neither will the verification reports

What happens if my union is not able to achieve an award?

Quality Students’ Unions is linked to the work of the NUS
Strategic Support Unit. Unions that struggle to achieve against this
quality mark will be referred to the Strategic Support Unit who will
make contact with the union to offer support.

How long can I retain Quality Students’ Union Award?

An Award can be retained for a period of up to three years before it
expires and a further audit is required. Within the three year period,
unions have to successfully complete an annual Part A return. A
reassessment could be triggered within the three year period if certain
conditions are met. Please see the timescale for reassessment section
of this Quality Hub for further details.