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Social Policy Briefings


Social Policy

Social Policy Briefings are split into five areas: Welfare, Liberation, Student Finance, Society & Citizenship and Miscellaneous. Click on one of the following to be directed to the briefing archive you are looking for:



Below please find the social policy briefings covering welfare issues since 2008.

2013 briefings

Interfaith Week on Campus  9/12/13

This briefing looks at how Interfaith Week is an important opportunity for students' unions to enhance good campus relations in an innovative way.

International Student Fees 07/11/13

A briefing on the current policy around tuition fees for international students

Learning with care 11/10/13
A briefing on NUS' new research report on student carers.

Commercial Bar Crawls 20/09/13
A briefing on how to tackle the negative issues  associated with commercial bar crawls.

Hate Crime Faith and Belief 09/09/13
A brieifing on Hate Crime surrounding faith and belief

Landlord Immigration Checking Proposals 02/08/13
A briefing on proposals to make landlords in the private rented sector check the immigration status of their tenants. 

Theft from the person 28/06/13
A briefing on Home Office information regarding theft from the person.

Mental Distress HE 28/06/13
A briefing on the results of the mental distress in HE research commissioned by the Welfare Zone and Disabled Students' Campaign. 

Impact of Article 4 Directions on Housing Benefit claimants 14/06/2013
A briefing on a recent DWP report considering the impact of changes to Local Housing Allowance and the relevance this might have in terms of Article 4 Direction debates.

Student Deaths 31/05/2013
A briefing on procedures surround student deaths

Shelter's Rogue Landlords Campaign 17/05/2013

A briefing on Shelter's Rogue Landlords Campaign in England.

Sexual Health Guidance 03/05/13

A briefing on the new sexual health commissioning guidance for local authorities in England.

Students with HIV 19/04/2013
A new resource from The Children and Young People HIV Network on supporting students with HIV.

Where I Pray Campaign 22/03/2013
A briefing on NUS Where I Pray social media campaign

University Mental Health Day 15/02/2013
A briefing on University Mental Health Day

Students with caring responsibilities 11/01/2013
A briefing on student carers in HE and FE.

Boiler rooms 18/01/2013
A briefing on illegal call centre operations

2012 briefings

Research into Student Housing Patterns 14/12/2012
A briefing on a new piece of research into student housing patterns in Leeds.

'Challenging Voices' Resource 23/11/2012
A briefing on the new 'Challenging Voices' resource which has been produced to support colleagues in FE settings get to grips with potentially difficult discussions relating to students’ identity, background, beliefs and values.

Conflict in the Middle East: Supporting Students on Campus 15/11/2012
A briefing describing ways to support students who may be affected by the conflict and limit tensions between student groups.

NUS/Unipol Accommodation Costs Survey 2012/13 15/11/2012
A briefing looking at the key findings of the new Accommodation Costs Survey.

Supporting Student Parents 26/10/2012
A briefing highlighting a new report about supporting student parents in higher education.

Ramadan and Exam Timetabling 19/10/2012
A briefing explaing the impact of Ramadan falling during the summer exam period from 2014/15

Changes to Housing Benefits 12/10/2012
A briefing on changes to the housing benefit and how this could affect LGBT students

Commercial Bar Crawls 05/10/2012
A briefing on how to minimise the negative impacts of commercial bar crawls

Fit to Sit 28 September 2012
A briefing on 'fit to sit' policies.

Police Crime Commissioners 7th September 2012
A briefing on the new positions of Police Crime Commissioners

Why let good times go bad? 28th August 2012
This briefing sets out plans for the 2012/13 WLGTGB campaign

The Late Night Levy  6 July 2012
This briefing sets out details of the new late night levy and Early Morning Restriction Orders

The Government's new alcohol strategy 5 April 2012
This briefing details the Government's new strategy to tackle alcohol misuse and encourage responsible drinking

Proselytism 5 March 2012
This briefing highlights NUS' work on proselytism as well as some useful resources for students' unions to use at a local level.

Success on protecting tenancy deposit protection 17 February 2012
A briefing relating relating to tenancy deposit protection in England, though may be of interest regarding tenancy deposit protection in Wales or the development of tenancy deposit protection in Scotland.

Roots of Violent Radicalisation 7 February 2012
The Home Affairs Committee has released a report on the roots of violent radicalisation. This briefing looks at its findings.

The Housing Voice coalition 3 February 2012
A briefing on the Housing Voice coalition for affordable housing.

Government Consultation: Dealing with the problems of late night drinking 27 January 2012
A briefing on the proposed changes to alcohol legislation and how this could affect students' unions.

Housing Benefit Changes 13 January 2012
A briefing on changes to the Housing Benefit.

2011 briefings

Religion and Sexuality 25 November 2011
The briefing looks at the tensions, perceived and real, between faith and sexuality on campus, and how dialogue can help.

Student Safety Net 4 November 2011
NUS has launched a new service to help promote the safety of students. Read all about it here.

Last orders for bar crawls? 23 September 2011
A briefing on commercial bar crawls and how students' unions can work to tackle the negative issues associated with these events.

Bar Crawls Guidance for Law Enforcement Officers 8 August 2011
A briefing on our new guidance for the police and other law enforcement officers on commercial bar crawls.

Religion and Belief in HE 29 July 2011
This Social Policy Briefing looks at the recently released report by the Equality Challenge Unit into religion and belief in higher education.

Theft 3 June 2011
This Social Policy Briefing explores theft in student communities drawing on results form the NUS Student Victimisation Report and British Crime Survey.

Rebalancing the Licensing Act 11 April 2011
This SPB explores the Government response to the ‘Rebalancing the Licensing Act’ consultation

New approach to fighting crime 11 March 2011
On 2 March 2011, the Home Secretary Theresa May set out the government's new approach to tackling crime. This SPB outlines the impact of changes for Police, Community Safety Partnerships, the public as well as exploring how plans may impact on students' unions.

New Legislation for Stop and Search by Police 11 March 2011
This SPB outlines how on the national reporting standard for Stop and Search has changed and the impact this will have on practice.

Anti-Social Behaviour Consultation 25 February 2011
This Social Police briefing outlines the Government s review of anti-social behaviour in relation to student communities and examines proposals to streamline and enhance current provisions.

Cyber Bullying 14 February 2011
This SPB titled cyber bullying uses the case study of 'Little Gossip' to outline how SU's can seek to lobby for changes or closure of websites which foster such behaviour and seek to prevent students being the victims of cyber bullying.

Influencing NUS policy through National Conference and other Conferences 11 February 2011
The National Union of Students holds a number of meetings (conferences) each year that decide the stance of NUS on key issues. This SPB outlines how members can seek to influence the decisions of these conferences.

Alcohol Legislation - Shaken Not Stirred, 28 January 2011
This SPB outlines major changes to licensing laws which have started their passage through Parliament as part of the Police Reform & Social Responsibility Bill. The SPB includes an overview of proposals on minimum pricing.

Student pregnancy and maternity, 24 January 2011
This SPB explores a briefing published by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) titled Student pregnancy and maternity: implications for higher education institutions. This SPB summarises the key responsibilities that HEIs now have to ensure fair treatment of pregnant students and those who have recently given birth.

2010 briefings

Coalitions Home Office Strategy 2010, 15 November 2010
The Home Office, like all government departments, has set out a new strategy to deliver the governments priorities. This social policy briefing examines the impactions of the new Home Office business plan examining plans for creating a ‘big society’ and reducing crime and anti-social behavior (ASB).

Last Orders for Bar Crawls 5 November 2010
This social policy briefing outlines what NUS in partnership with Drinkaware UK are doing to tackle large scale commercial bar crawls. Bar crawls have historically played a part in the drinking culture of the UK. Generations of young men and women have taken part in bar crawls across the country and most have been low key events organised locally. In recent times we have seen an increase in large scale commercial bar crawls which have become more problematic.

Comprehensive Spending Review 25 October 2010
This SPB examines the implications of George Osborne's long-awaited Comprehensive Spending Review which sets out the plan for eliminating the UK’s structural budget deficit over the course of this parliament.

NUS Hate Crimes and Incidents Survey 29 0ctober 2010
Social Policy Briefing detailing NUS's new survey into the extent and nature of hate activity on campuses.

Online ID Theft, 8 October 2010
Over the last few years identity theft has gained prominence in the media and grown to be a serious concern for individuals.

Safety Messages to New Students 3 September 2010
Students are one of the most victimised groups in society; there is a heightened risk at freshers: students new to area, alcohol connotations, lack of knowledge and the care-free period of freshers.

Online ‘Money Mule’ scams 27 August 2010
Many online job seekers have fallen prey to money mule scams, whereby people are recruited by fraudsters to transfer money illegally gained in one country to another.

NUS and Drinkaware: Why Let Good Times Go Bad? 9 August 2010 
NUS and Drinkaware have joined forces to bring you the 'Why Let Good Times Go Bad?' campaign for the academic year 2010/11.

Students and illegal downloading in the Digital Economy Act 30 July 2010
The Digital Economy Act (DEA) was given Royal Assent in April 2010 and includes new legislation to tackle online copyright infringements. Amongst other things, the DEA paved the way for legal action to be instigated by those who own copyrights to materials against those who obtain or use such materials without permission.

NUS and UUK joint publication: Living Together, Working Together 23 July 2010 
On 5 July, NUS officially launched the first ever joint publication produced by NUS, UUK and GuildHE on community issues. The report focuses on the partnerships between universities/colleges and students’ unions and how these are used in various projects and groups to deliver positive outcomes for the community.

HMOs and Planning Legislation 9 July 2010
The Minister for Housing, Grant Shapps, has sought feedback from national stakeholders to explore how best to alter the Use Class Order legislation introduced in March to limit the regulatory burden on unaffected areas.

NUS/Unipol Accommodation Costs Survey 26 March 2010
This is the latest NUS/Unipol Accommodation Costs Survey looking at rents charged in student accommodation complexes (more generally known as "halls of residence") by both institutions and the private sector.

Council Tax and Students 10 March 2010
Council tax was introduced in 1992 to replace the poll tax as the main tax levied to pay for local services. At the time, NUS was successful in its campaign to exempt full-time students from the new tax (they had been liable for the poll tax).

The Ins and Outs of 'Legal Highs' 19 February 2010
‘Legal highs’ are recreational drugs which, through legislation loopholes or by using legal products, can offer users similar heightened experiences as illegal household equivalents. Students’ health and studying experiences are at risk if they choose to take these drugs.

Government response to the Rugg Review 4 February 2010
In January 2008, Communities and Local Government (CLG) commissioned Professor Julie Rhodes and David Rugg to carry out independent research on the Private rented Sector. 

Use Class Orders and HMOs 1 February 2010
This announcement is in response to the consultation that CLG ran last year to gauge opinion on changing the Use Class Order to require planning permission for any property that is intended to be let to more than three unrelated people.

Noise Induced Hearing Loss 27 January 2010
Exposure to very loud noise is the biggest avoidable cause of permanent hearing damage worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation.

2009 briefings

Students and Crime Victimisation 30 October 2009
Students are twice as likely to become victims of theft than any other group. The urban, fast-paced environments students live in; the active social lives students lead; and a generally relaxed attitude towards security measures mean students are ideal targets to criminals.

Students’ Union Staff and Officer Diversity Survey 2009 29 October 2009
In November AMSU’s Diversity Action Working Group (DAWG) will launch its annual Diversity Survey. The survey measures different characteristics of staff and officers working in students’ unions, such as ethnicity, gender and disability, and provides a national snapshot of who works in the student movement. 

Consultations concerning student housing: ‘HMOs and possible planning responses’ and ‘The private rented sector: professionalism and quality’ 12 June 2009
Last year, there were two pieces of research published that had direct implications for student housing. The first was the ECOTEC research, published in September 2008. The second was an independent review of the private rented sector (PRS) carried out by Julie Rugg and David Rhodes (known as the Rugg Review).

Meet the Parents 9 May 2009
NUS launched its groundbreaking research into the experiences of students with children at an event in Parliament on April 30, 2009 hosted by Fiona Mactaggart MP. The report is the result of extensive research, including a literature review, 17 interviews with experts in the field, ten focus groups and a survey of over 2000 students with children.

The Rugg Review - The Private Rented Sector: its contribution and potential 20 February 2009
Commissioned by Communities and Local Government (CLG) this independent review of the private rented sector was launched at York University on 23rd October 2008.

Anti-Terror Arrests and Student Visas 9 April 2009
On 8 April, 12 men were arrested by anti-terror police in a number of raids in the north west of England. All but one of the men were Pakistani nationals who had entered the UK on student visas.

2008 briefings

Codes of Practice for Student Accommodation 21 August 2008
When developing the Housing Act 2004, the government agreed to "exempt" educational establishments from mandatory HMO licensing provided they signed up to a code of management practice, approved by the government.

Agency Workers' Rights 2 May 2008
Agency workers are defined, unsurprisingly, as those employed by an intermediate employment agency to provide services to another business or organisation.

Tenancy Deposit Protection and Students 25 March 2008
If a tenant signed a tenancy agreement in England and Wales after 6 April 2007 and has an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) then new government legislation means that their landlord must protect the deposit they pay.

ID Cards and Students 6 March 2008
The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, has outlined the plans for the start of a national identity scheme. Students will be among the first groups to be involved in the scheme.



Below please find the social policy briefings covering liberation issues since 2008. These cover topics from our main liberation campaigns (Women, LGBT, Black, and Disabled) as well as general information on equality and diversity.

2014 briefings

Addressing Xenophobia 14/03/14

This Social Policy Briefing looks at Xenophobia and outlines the campaigns NUS is partnering on to challenge xenophobia.

2013 briefings

Learning with care 11/10/13
A briefing on NUS' new research report on student carers.

That's What She Said report 15 March 2013
A briefing on NUS' report into 'lad culture' in higher education.

The Equality Act for Students 1 March 2013
A briefing on the implications of the Equality Act 2010 for students.

University Mental Health Day 15/02/2013
A briefing on University Mental Health Day

Students with caring responsibilities 11/01/2013
A briefing on student carers in HE and FE.

2012 briefings

Fit to Sit 28 September 2012
A briefing on 'fit to sit' policies.

The attainment gap in HE 11 May 2012
A briefing on the attainment gap between Black students and white students in HE

Government consultation on civil marriage 12 March 2012
This briefing details the Government's consultation on civil marriage

Diversity Survey 2011/12 8 March 2012
This briefing gives details on the Students' Union Staff Diversity Survey 2011/12

Public Sector Equality Duty 6 January 2012
A briefing on the Public Sector Equality Duty.

2011 briefings

The experiences of Black and ethnic minority staff 28 October 2011
This briefing summarises a report published by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) into explores the experiences of black and minority ethnic staff working in Higher Education England. NUS welcomes the report, particularly as diversity of staff was a key issue identified in ‘Race for Equality: The experiences of Black students in further and higher education.’

Donation Not Discrimination 9 September 2011
An update on the LGBT campaign's long-running work on blood donation.

Race for Equality 24 June 2011
SPB outlining the NUS Race for Equality research into Black students’ experiences in further education (FE) and higher education (HE).

Pride IS a Protest 20 March 2011
Pride started as a protest. LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) people and their friends marched together because it was then commonplace for people to think that LGBT people shouldn’t openly walk down the street, so they marched to show people that they should and could.

Increase the job prospects of Black students 18 March 2011
In an environment of increasing graduate unemployment and with students facing significantly larger levels of student debt, NUS recognises that black students are particularly disadvantaged when it comes to entering the job market. This SPB also highlights support available to black students and outlines what students unions do to support black students in entering the job market.

Trans Staff and Students in Further and Higher Education 7 March 2011
SPB exploring the equality Act provisions which apply to further and higher education institutions as education providers and employers, and to students' unions as employers and service providers.

Making Reasonable Adjustments in Higher Education 4 February 2011
This SPB examines a report, The Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) titled Managing of Reasonable Adjustments in Higher Education. Which outlines a new general duty, under the Equality Act 2010, requiring reasonable adjustments where disabled staff, students or visitors personally experience substantial disadvantage in comparison with non-disabled people.

2010 briefings

NUS SU Diversity Survey 3 December 2010
SPB outlining NUS SU staff and officer Diversity Survey

Equality Act 2010 1 October 2010
The Equality Act 2010 has come into force from 1 October 2010. Given Royal Assent in the last days of the previous administration, it brings together all the previous discrimination law in one act.

Sexual Orientation and Faith Equality 24 September 2010
A new set of resources has recently been published which looks at the relationship between people of different sexual orientations and religions or beliefs in further and higher education.

Black Students Research 17 September 2010 
Research carried out in recent years has clearly highlighted the attainment gap between Black and white students.

Reclaim the Night 18 August 2010 
The Reclaim the Night marches started in the UK in the 1970s. They also take place in America, where they are known as “Take Back the Streets,” and other countries across the world.

Disabled Students and the Equality Act 2010 9 August 2010
The aim of this briefing is to provide an understanding of the new equality Act 2010 and how it will impact disabled students.

Hidden Marks 20 April 2010 
NUS launched Hidden Marks, its research into women students’ experiences of harassment, stalking, violence and sexual assault at NUS Women’s Conference on 15 March, 2010.

Vote accesibility and disabled students 10 March 2010
As pre-election fever starts to build up and politicians from all parities jostle for airtime on the key issues such as students’ fees, the NUS is asking students to use their vote in the forthcoming general election to support candidates that would vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament and would pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative.

2009 briefings

The Equality Bill 11 December 2009
The Equality Bill was introduced in the House of Commons earlier this year in an effort to harmonise current discrimination law.

Students’ Union Staff and Officer Diversity Survey 2009 29 October 2009
In November AMSU’s Diversity Action Working Group (DAWG) will launch its annual Diversity Survey.

Donation Not Discrimination 16 October 2009
The National Blood Supply (NBS) currently prohibits any man who has ever had sex with another man, even once and with a condom, from donating blood for life.

UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities 9 September 2009
On 8 June 2009 the UK ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, which sets a benchmark against which the UK and other countries will be measured when examining the rights of disabled people around the world.

Meet the Parents 9 May 2009
NUS launched its groundbreaking research into the experiences of students with children at an event in Parliament on April 30, 2009 hosted by Fiona Mactaggart MP.

The role of music in the anti-racism movement April 2009
Through supporting student societies for organisations such as Love Music Hate Racism and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) students' unions (SUs) can have a key role in empowering all students to make a stand against racism and fascism.

The Experiences of LGBT Staff and Students in Higher Education March 2009
The Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) published their research report, The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Staff and Students in Higher Education, on 4 March 2009. 

Social Model of Disability March 2009
For the last 30 years, the 'social model' of disability has been developed by disabled people in opposition to old attitudes, which have become known as the 'medical model'.

Trans Students and Accommodation February 2009
Recent legislation provides the impetus for institutions to consider the needs of trans students, specifically in relation to accommodation provided by universities for first-year students.

2008 briefings

Equal Pay 5 June 2008
The Equal Pay Act was intended to put an end to paying women less than men where they are carrying out jobs of equal value.

Mapping Equality Data in the Higher Education Sector 18 April 2008
The Equality Challenge Unit has published a report on equality data in higher education, looking at both staff and students across a number of categories.


Student Finance

Below please find the social policy briefings covering issues relating to student finance since 2009. 

2014 briefings

Welfare Reform and Disabled Students 4 April 2014
How is welfare reform affecting disabled students?

2013 briefings

Social work bursary reform in England 22 February 2013
This briefing looks at the reforms to the social work bursary taking effect from 2013/14.

2012 briefings

Part-time student finance 18 May 2012
This briefing covers the changes to part-time student finance in England for 2012/13.

Estrangement 24 February 2012
This SPB looks at estrangement status in higher education student finance, NUS' work on this area and what it has achieved, and the areas we're still looking at.

2011 briefings

Student Loans Company Stakeholder Framework 9 December 2011
The SLC reshaped how it interacts with stakeholders across the sector following the delays of 2009. This SPB outlines how that framework operates and how SUs can raise issues via NUS.

The National Scholarship Programme 2 December 2011
This briefing outlines the new National Scholarship Programme for 2012/13 and some of the issues that have arisen around it. 

Supporting our future NHS Workforce 6 April 2011
This SPB offers an update on the consultation on the NHS Bursary Scheme in England.

Disability Living Allowance Reform 3 February 2011
This SPB outlines the case for and against the governments move to reform the DLA. The outlines what NUS is doing, and what unions can do, during the consultation period which runs until 14 February.

2010 briefings

Welfare Reform the Universal Credit 19 November 2010
On 11 November 2010, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan-Smith, outlined major plans to reform out of work benefits and tax credits in England, Scotland and Wales, and replace many of them with a single 'universal credit'. This SPB outlines the impact of these changes for students.

The Browne Review, 15 October 2010
This Social Policy Briefing offers an overview of the Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance in England, chaired by Lord Browne (the Browne Review) which reported its findings on 12 October 2010.

The National Minimum Wage 10 September 2010
The National Minimum Wage (NMW) was introduced by the then Labour Government in 1997 to protect low-paid workers from exploitation by employers who would often pay derisively low wages.

Student finance policy update for 2010/11 and beyond July 2010
As with most years, there are a variety of changes to student support rules across the various parts of the UK and the different systems of support. This briefing summarises the changes for higher education support for 2010/11 and, where we know of them, changes for future years.

2009 briefings

Supporting our future NHS Workforce – a consultation the NHS Bursary Scheme in England 9 September 2009
The Department of Health released a consultation document on the future of NHS Bursaries for healthcare students in England on 15 September 2009.

English HE Student Finance Announcements 9 July 2009 
The Government has announced several changes to student finance policy in recent weeks.

Student Income and Expenditure Survey 2007/2008 9 May 2009
On April, the Department of Innovation Universities and Skills published the latest Student Income and Expenditure Survey (SIES) for England.

Welfare Benefit Reform 3 April 2009
The Government has published its latest Welfare Reform Bill. If enacted, it would increase the conditions placed on those seeking employment whilst claiming benefits.


Society and Citizenship

Below please find the social policy briefings covering society and citizenship issues since 2011.

2013 briefings

The Living Wage in the UK Higher Education Sector 8 November 2013
A summary of NUS' new research into the Living Wage across the HE sector.

Free Maxwell Dlamini 21 June 2013                                                                                       
briefing on the most recent unfair arrest and incarceration of Maxwell Dlamini, former President of the Swaziland National Union of Students, and what students and students' unions can do about it.

Citizenship Education 3 May 2013
An overview of citizenship education and the proposed changes to the citizenship curriculum.


The Student Vote 25 Jan 2013
An overview of the key issues around students and voting in the run up to the general election in 2015 and local elections in 2014.


2012 briefings

Move your money 2 Nov 2012                                                                                        
A briefing on how to move your money to an ethical bank and encourage students to do the same

The Living Wage 6 July 2012
A briefing on the living wage

Ethical banking 4 May 2012
A briefing on how students' unions can start ethically banking.

Access to HE for refugees and asylum seekers 17 February 2012
A change in law means that a huge proportion of young asylum seeking students will now have to pay international fees and will not have access to student finance.

The forced removal of Lydia Besong 20 January 2011
This briefing asks you to take action today to urge Air France not to participate in the forced deportation of Lydia Besong, a Cameroonian asylum seeker and playwright.

2011 briefings

Unpaid Internships 18 November 2011
This briefing looks at the situation facing unpaid internships and what can be done to improve conditions. 

UK Bill of Rights 14 October 2011
A briefing on the Government's proposal for a UK Bill of Rights



Other briefings which do not fit into one of the areas above.

2011 briefings

Social Policy Team 2 December 2011
This briefing outlines the current Social Policy Team and who covers which area of work.





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Hi, I'm Colum McGuire, Vice President (Welfare) and welcome to the Welfare and Students' Rights zone.

On this page you'll find all the latest welfare zone information. If you have any questions or comments, please drop me an email. You can read my personal thoughts on the campaign in my blog.

Staff contact: Jo Goodman, Research & Policy Officer

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