The Policy Cycle

The work that NUS does is prioritised and decided through policy. The National Union of Students produces campaigns, projects, briefings, events, training, statements, seminars, resources, materials, committees, speaker tours, lobbies, protests, conferences, consultations and probably a hundred other types of ‘thing’ to help students in their studies and in their lives. To help make sense of this, the work of NUS is split into five separate “zones” and the policy that is passed fits into one of these five zones. Policy for each zone goes through a journey from the first time it is discussed through to the way it is implemented.

  • Reflecting on National Conference and in consultation with the NEC, the needs for work on certain areas are identified and grouped into Key Themes for the year ahead by Vice Presidents.
  • The Policy Portal opens up online, to establish dialogue and debate on the Key Themes.
  • Zone Conferences, based on these Key themes, bring in the experiences of the membership and their needs, helping to understand the problems, build and debate solutions.
  • Zone Committees are elected to steer and deliver the work on the Key Themes.
  • The Policy Development Convention takes place comprising the NEC and every Zone Committee, streamed live to the membership. It debates proposals based on evidence from investigations and from the Policy portal.
  • Zone Committees create their policy recommendations for the year ahead.
  • Unions get a chance to look at these recommendations and comment on them (a student forum debates the policy)
  • Unions feedback on the policy (an amendment to the policy is suggested by the union)
  • Unions submit ordinary motions on issues not discussed in the zone recommendations (identifying a need for work on certain areas)
  • National Conference votes on the policy submitted and it becomes the work plan for the Zone for the year ahead.

There are three ways that new policy can be added into the work of NUS:

  • An ordinary motion suggested from a students’ union. Ordinary Motions deal with issues not discussed anywhere within the Zone’s recommendations.
  • An amendment from a students’ union to the Zone Committee recommendations. Amendments change the Zone Policy is someway (e.g. the Zone Committee suggests that FE elections should all happen in May, and the amendment suggests they should happen in May or October).
  • A policy recommendation by the Zone Committee after consulting with the membership at Zone Conference and the Policy Development Convention.