NUS Affiliation Referendum: Everything You Need to Know

As per our Standing Orders we are holding our annual referendum on the University of Derby Union of Student's affiliation to the NUS UK.

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Referendum information

As per our Standing Orders we are holding our annual referendum on the University of Derby Union of Student's affiliation to the NUS UK.

The official question wording is set each year at a Scrutiny Panel by a panel of students with roles within the Union. This year students will be asked: "Should Derby Union of Students remain a member of the National Union of Students (NUS) UK?"

All current student members are eligible to vote via an online secret ballot which will open at 10.00am on Wednesday 6th March and close at 10.00am on Wednesday 13th March. The results will be announced on 13th March on the Union website.

What is NUS UK?

NUS is a voluntary membership organisation run by elected representatives. It seeks to represent the views and interests of students nationally and carries out campaigns and lobbies on behalf of students and its member students' unions.

The NUS is more than just one organisation, it is made up of separate companies and we are currently affiliated to all three:

  • NUS (UK) is the campaigning organisation that is responsible for championing student issues on a national level. Membership to NUS UK currently costs the Union 2.5% of the annual block grant. To end membership at NUS UK, students must vote on affiliation by secret ballot (a referendum).
  • NUS Charity supports the Union's development through training and resources, and offers services such as elections support. Membership to NUS Charity is currently 0.5% of the Union's annual block grant.
  • NUS Services Limited offers trading support which gives Union's collective buying power allowing prices to be kept lower for students. This membership is included with the NUS Charity membership. You can read more about the NUS on their website: National Union of Students UK (

This referendum is for affiliation to NUS UK only and does not include NUS Charity or NUS Services Limited.

Why are we having a referendum?

It is written into our Standing Orders that we hold an annual referendum during the election period on our affiliation to the NUS UK. We are a student member-led organisation and we recognise that student opinion on NUS UK affiliation can change over time so it is important to get student voice to understand how our members wish us to proceed.

Our position

Our priority is a free and fair referendum based on factual information where every member has the opportunity to participate. The Union holds no official position on the referendum however any student with a role within the Union (such as Executive Officers or Student Officers) are free to take a stance on whether the Union should or should not be affiliated to NUS UK.


You can view the Referendum Rulebook here.

What does remaining affiliated/disaffiliating look like?

We've put together a list of some key differences between remaining affiliated and disafiliating to give you an idea of how either decision would affect the Union.

Remaining Affiliated Disafiliating
We currently pay £23,783.13 (2.5% of our block grant) for membership. We would no longer pay the affiliation fee, which could then be used for other Union services.
We are entitled to send 5 elected NUS Reps to the National NUS conference and NUS Liberation Conference each year. We would no longer be able to participate in the conferences or have a vote.

We can contribute to and help shape any national lobbying campaigns undertaken by NUS UK. Current campaigns include:

  • Beyond Borders: Equality at Work for International Students.
  • Dear Rishi Sunak: Stop making it harder for young people to vote.
  • Protect Student Tenants' Rights in the Renters' Reform Bill.
  • Cost of Living Campaign.
We would not be able to contribute to NUS UK campaigns. We could work with other Student Unions to influence national government directly.
We would hold another referendum on NUS affiliation next academic year during the elections voting period. We could hold a referendum to re-affiliate in the future.

NUS UK have put together a website explaining why they think that students should vote to remain affiliated, which you can view here.

Regardless of affiliation

  • We will continue to benefit from the separate membership with NUS Charity, which includes trading support, elections support services and development resources, and access the trading elements of NUS Services Limited.
  • Students will continue to benefit from the Totum discount card.
  • Our Executive Officers can network with other officers around the UK.
  • The Union can access schemes such as Green Impact and Responsible Futures.