NUS Charity – working with GuildHE – recently comissioned some in-depth research in collaboration with six small HE SUs, looking at all aspects of the governance and structure of those organisations. The resulting report provided a really interesting insight into the opportunities and challenges for small HE SUs, and small SUs in general, as anecdotally there are many similarities across colleges and universities.

As part of the project a suite of guidance documents has been created to support small HE SUs with their governance. Many of these can be adapted if your small SU is not yet a charity and has an advisory board rather than a trustee board, for example.

If you have any questions about any of the templates or guidance, or would like some more specific support with the governance and structures of your small SU please email or



Board Agenda template with explanatory notes
A template to be used to create an agenda for your trustee or advisory board plus notes to support the understanding of the Board Agenda template.

Trustee Board Paper Front Sheet template
This template is a helpful summarising document for papers that are sent to trustee or advisory boards.

Cycle of Business for Trustee Boards
A template and guidance on creating a cycle of business for your trustee board.

Trustee Board Role Descriptions
Role descriptions for trustee board members, including Chairs and Vice Chairs of the board.

Skills Audit for Board Members
A self-evaluation skills audit for trustee board members to identify knowledge and skills, and any gaps that need addressing.

Trustee Recruitment guidance
Guidance on recruiting trustees for your organisation.

Board Action Log template
A template for capturing the actions from board meetings.

Declaration of Interest for Board Members guidance and template
Guidance and a template for board members to declare any interests annually.

Trustee Code of Conduct template
Editable template for a trustee code of conduct.

Terms of Reference guidance for sub committees
Guidance on creating subcommittee terms of reference for SU boards.

Delegation of Authority template
A template spreadsheet that outlines who or which department is responsible for various areas of SU activity or reporting, and any obligations on staff, officers, the board or the institution for reporting or compliance. This template contains some examples to get you started.

Risk Register template and Risk Register guidance
An editable risk register spreadsheet plus risk register guidance to support your use of the spreadsheet.



Guidance on Performance Management
Detailed guidance and practice on how to performance manage SU staff.

SMART Objectives template
This is a template to support staff to create SMART objectives.

One-to-One Meeting template
This template is to support discussion in a one-to-one meeting with a member of SU staff.

Staff Appraisal/Review template
Editable template for a staff appraisal or review.