National Union of Students
Good Governance Code of Practice:
Principles of Good Governance
Self Assessment Toolkit
Summary and Reports
Code of Practice Explained
Self Assessment Explained
Guidance for University Governing Bodies
Frequently Asked Questions
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The principle of 'Democracy' is fundamental to all Students' Unions and is enshrined in the 1994 Education Act. This principle looks for students' unions to demonstrate that their membership is at the heart of the organisation. It also sets an expectation that students' unions should have fair and transparent democratic processes and procedures which are accessible to all.
Openness & Accountability
The principle of 'Openness and Accountability' looks for students' unions to demonstrate that their decision making processes are transparent and that those responsible for making decisions are held to account. It also sets an expectation that students' unions are able to identify their key stakeholders and evidence how they ensure effective communication is achieved.
Clarity about the role of the Board
This principle seeks to ensure that students' unions are able to demonstrate that the role of their Board of Trustees is clear. The Board is ultimately responsible for the governance of the students' union, therefore it is imperative that their role is clearly defined and understood. Furthermore, Students' Unions that employ staff need to be clear about the Board's role in relation to the Senior Staff member and the wider staff team.
Effective Trustees & Board Performance
Good Governance relies on high quality trustees who collectively operate as an efficient and effective Board. The compliance statements relating to 'Effective trustees and Board Performance' deal with the composition of the board, procedures for joining and leaving the Board, how the Board functions and reviewing Board performance.
Delivering Organisational Purpose
Delivering Organisational Purpose is all about strategic development and demonstrable impact. Ensuring the SU has a clear vision for the future and a plan as to how this will be achieved. Furthermore, SUs need to be able to report on the impact that the work of their work has on its key stakeholders (as identified in accordance with 2.10). This principle also looks for the SU to demonstrate a commitment to continuous development and quality improvement.
The principle of Exercising Control seeks to ensure that the SU complies with all legal and regulatory requirements. It also sets an expectation that the Board maintains an oversight of the operations of the organisation to ensure that it is performing effectively inline with the SU's strategy and is appropriately managing risks.
Behaving with Integrity
The 'Behaving with Integrity' principle sets out an expectation that Trustees of SUs adhere to high standards of conduct. Trustees should work in the interests of their SU and its membership at all times and must not seek personal gain. This principle includes an expectation that there are clear policies and procedures in place for Trustees need to adhere to with regards to declaring conflicts of interest and claiming expenses. SU's must also have clear procedures in place for removing trustees from their position if they fail to behave in accordance with the standards expected of them.