Self Assessment explained

Designed for all students’ unions

The online self assessment has been developed for all higher education students’ unions and is designed to be accessible to everybody. You do not need to have prior knowledge of governance in order to use the guidance or to undertake the self assessment. Each of the compliance statements is furnished with an ibutton that you can click in order to access further explanation and sources of additional guidance. There is also a glossary of terms which is searchable and a range of frequently asked questions to help you to navigate the self assessment with ease.


You will need to register and login to undertake the self assessment, this will enable you save your data input and update or amend it at a later point in time.


If you allow the website to harvest and collate your results, you will be able to benchmark your results against other students’ unions across the country. This data will provide a national picture that can be used to identify if further resources or training needs to be developed for the sector.

Your data will be kept confidential and only anonymised results will be published. If you would prefer not to have your data included in the benchmarking exercise you are able to opt out by indicating this when you register.

Self Assessment Levels:

The self assessment provides the students’ union with the opportunity to rate their performance against each compliance statement by assigning a level of attainment in accordance with the scale detailed below:

4. Fully Achieved:
Good Practice that could be copied by others.
Difficult to envisage further improvement
Role model solutions
3. Acceptable standard:
We are satisfied as to where we are in this area.
Continuous Improvement can be evidenced
2. Minimum standard:
Some work in this area but we want/need to improve
Some review work undertaken but not much progress
1. Below minimum:
Not much work currently undertaken
Below where we want/need to be

This self assessment scale matches the categories used by the Students’ Union Evaluation Initiative (SUEI).

Not Applicable

The Code is designed for all students’ unions. Whilst every students’ union’s governance is individual the principles apply to all.

Some of the compliance, statements apply exclusively to students’ unions that employ members of staff. Where this is the case they are clearly demarcated and there is provision for students’ unions to select n/a (not applicable) on the self assessment.

Level of priority for follow up work:

If your students’ union has not yet achieved level 4 ‘Fully Achieved’ against all of the statements, then you have the opportunity to rate the level of priority you want to give any follow up work that is required.

Low Level Priority:
The additional work that is needed to fully achieve this compliance statement can be done over an extended period of time.
Medium Level Priority:
Additional work required to fully achieve this compliance statement is significant but not urgent. Needs attention soon.
High Level Priority:
This compliance statement requires urgent attention and must be dealt with immediately.

Legal compliance

If you indicate that your students’ union is currently operating below minimum on any of the statements detail legal requirements, you will be prompted to make it a high priority to rectify this. Failure to meet your legal requirements could lead to serious repercussions for your students’ union therefore, it is essential that you rectify any areas of legal noncompliance immediately.

Supporting information

Next to each compliance statement there is a ‘supporting information’ box provides space for your students’ union to detail how it can demonstrate that it achieves the level of assessment that has been assigned. This can be done by providing some narrative or by linking a document to it.

Providing supporting information in this way will help to explain why one level of assessment has been chosen over another. This will prove useful when sharing the results with colleagues or other stakeholders. It will also help when it comes to reviewing your students’ unions performance against the Code of Practice in future.

Development ideas

Beside the ‘supporting information’ box there is a ‘development ideas’ box is there for you to detail the things that need to be done in order to reach level 4 ‘Fully Achieved’ against each compliance statement. It’s important to be creative when undertaking this exercise and to think carefully about what is right for your students’ union.

Shared Practice

Throughout the Code of Practice there are examples of practice that other students’ unions have generously agreed to share with you to help you to generate ideas for development.

However, please do not attempt to pick up the governance arrangements from another students’ union and impose it on to yours. Your students’ union’s governance needs to be tailored to your individual circumstances. Therefore, it is not advisable simply copy the ideas of others. Think carefully about what will work for your students’ union and try to innovate rather than imitating others.

Furthermore, if you do find inspiration from the practice examples that other students’ unions have agreed to share, please acknowledge the influence that their work has had on the development of your governance arrangements.