Membership Consultation – Future of NUS Scotland

Please read this page in full before starting the survey.


How to complete this consultation  

We’re asking each member to submit two separate responses: an officer submission and a staff submission. We’re keen to understand the broad range of opinion that exists between and within student unions. These responses will help guide our thinking on the future of NUS Scotland.  


How will the data be used? 

The responses will be shared with the Future of NUS Scotland Working Group, which reports to the NUS UK Board.  


Will we publish the data? 

This is an internal NUS process and we will share the findings of the consultation later in 2023.  


What about non-affiliates and wider stakeholders?  

A separate consultation will be available for wider distribution. We will reach out to non-affiliates to understand whether this conversation is likely to influence their decision to join NUS Scotland in the future. We will also engage with key stakeholders including the Scottish Government, Scottish Funding Council and our partners across the UK.  




In April 2022 a motion passed at NUS Scotland Conference calling for an independent NUS Scotland. The policy in and of itself does not constitute a decision, but rather a policy position. Therefore, we now have a duty to progress the policy by exploring the viability of an independent NUS Scotland and what it might look like. Read the full policy here.


NUS Scotland has 31 affiliated members and is currently constituted as a department of NUS UK with dedicated staff and budgets. It is not a separate legal entity. As a department of NUS UK, NUS Scotland is currently legally and financially reliant on NUS UK. It has political autonomy through policy setting at NUS Scotland Conference and through the NUS Scotland President – who is the only full-time officer. The President is supported by four members of staff, with a staff to full-time officer ratio of 1:3.6 FTE. 


This project must be undertaken with due diligence and due process. Firstly, the policy that was agreed by NUS Scotland Conference did not specify a preferred organising model and future relationship with NUS UK, nor did it explore any technicalities such as financial settlement or legal changes to the Articles of Association.  


Secondly, a project of this nature requires thorough governance oversight and respect for existing processes. It is critical that the process we enter is done transparently and with the continual engagement of all parties and stakeholders. 


And third, there is currently no consensus among NUS Scotland members about how a future NUS Scotland should be structured or financed. The final proposal(s) should strengthen the student movement in Scotland and across the UK and reach a point of consensus.  


For these reasons NUS Scotland is proposing an exploratory period across 2023 and 2024 to ensure due diligence and due process and a full exploration of the financial, legal and political implications and risks.  


The NUS UK Board was asked to convene a temporary sub-committee: the Future of NUS Scotland Working Group which has now been established and held its first meeting. The Working Group will oversee the process of exploring what an independent NUS Scotland could look like.   


A set of criteria was also agreed to guide us through this process. The criteria should offer clarity around what we might be trying to achieve and some parameters around the exploration.  


An important note on NUS Charity  

The term ‘NUS Scotland’ refers to the student voice, campaigning and influencing work that takes place under the NUS Scotland brand.  


NUS UK and the NUS Charity are two separate legal entities which currently work ‘shoulder to shoulder’ which means that we often co-badge on activity e.g. a Charity event in Scotland such as The Gathering will be badged up with NUS Scotland. However, while we acknowledge that some of the issues explored in this project will have implications on the Charity, this conversation, including options for reform, does not extend to NUS Charity, or the work of NUS Services.    



Solvent and Sustainable    

  • Financially solvent with a healthy cash flow and balance sheet  
  • Able to operate within a ‘Minimum Viable Product’  

Politically independent     

  • Free to determine own policy, campaigns and priorities  
  • Clear identity  
  • Operational ownership of budgets & staffing  


  • Secures meaningful wins for students and wider society  
  • Visible among students and policy makers   
  • Students in Scotland can influence Westminster policy effectively   

Preserves unity   

  • Students & SAs in Scotland remain unified   
  • Productive relationship with England, Wales and NI on cross-border priorities e.g. liberation work.  
  • Students in Scotland from UK feel affinity towards a cross-border student movement   

Simplified & Modernised  

  • Focused activity  
  • Clear governance   
  • All members can participate  
  • Campaigning fit for purpose in the digital age  
  • Modernised democracy  
  • Minimum officer : staff ratio of 1:3.7 FTE  



What student association are you responding from?

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