Quality Societies Scheme

Groups need to meet at least three of the criteria for the badge to be awarded it.

There are five badges the groups can choose to work towards on top of the Good Practice badge. Each badge has a particular aim and examples are given of how societies can achieve them. Groups can also come up with their own ideas which they feel would reach the same objective. The society needs to demonstrate to the Accreditation Panel (Opportunities Officer, Societies Committee Chair & an Opportunities Coordinator) that their work has resulted in achieving the aim of the badge.

Societies may demonstrate that they have achieved the aim of a badge in any way they wish. This can be by writing a report, doing a presentation, showing a video or anything else which shows how they have achieved the badge. Including feedback form members is a great way to prove that efforts have paid off. The accreditation panel may ask further questions if they feel more evidence is required.




Good Practice

To complete any of the other badges you have to complete this badge first.

Societies should be doing this anyway as registered groups of the Students’ Union. This badge is to prove that the society is running the correct way.


  • Group governance – through AGM minutes
  • Group membership – paid members on the website (including committee members)
  • Democracy and member voice – elected exec at an AGM
  • Health and Safety – risk assessments for events/activities
  • Financial management – not in the red, finances going through the SU
  • Data protection – completed online data protection training module


Member Focused

Members are at the heart of everything


  • Information on the SU website is up-to-date and informative and the society is easy to contact including an active group email address displayed on the website and social media links
  • Regular communication from the society to members using different channels of communication e.g. email, social media, noticeboards etc.
  • Have a range of activities which members are interested in e.g. academic societies should have guest speakers, conferences, revision sessions etc. and not just socials
  • Have a Marketing/Communication plan
  • Regular opportunities for members to get involved in the running of the group and provide feedback e.g. event surveys, event committees, members’ meetings etc.
  • Create a society brand that members identify with
  • Attendance at membership recruitment events e.g. Freshers/Refreshers Fair
  • Hold Give it a Go events, or get involved in other SU campaigns and events
  • Write articles for the SU website/Student Media



Varied and high quality experience


  • Set short-term objectives for the academic year
  • Complete an SU development plan and meet with the Opportunities Team to discuss it
  • Reflect on events and determine ways to improve or expand them in future
  • Try out new events and get feedback
  • Ensure the exec and activity leaders have the skills necessary to be effective in their roles e.g. attend a range of SU student group training sessions
  • Engage with ways to improve support for societies e.g. attend Societies Forum or participate in relevant working groups/surveys
  • Participate in national student activities e.g. NUS Union Development committees and national networks for specific activities
  • Have an effective handover to the new exec
  • Ensure financial sustainability for the group through clear annual budgeting and consideration for the future
  • Increase membership by a significant amount


Welcoming and accessible activities


  • Have an inclusion officer on the exec to focus on inclusion issues
  • Hold an ‘introduction to the society’ event, explaining how the group runs and allowing people to ask questions
  • Make newcomers feel welcome and support them to settle into the group – have a buddy system/welcome team
  • Hold Give it a Go events, or similar activities aimed at beginners
  • Have a marketing plan dedicated to promoting that students can join at any point of the year
  • Ensure communications and activities are considerate of the diversity of students at Durham -  contact the relevant associations and societies for advice
  • Make a deliberate effort to reach out to different demographics of students e.g. host events at different Colleges, get involved in inter-cultural events etc.
  • Offer a range of different types of activities that appeal to different interests, at different times of the day and week –outside of term-time
  • Hold alcohol-free social events
  • Keep costs to a minimum, and seek other funding to make events financially accessible e.g. set up a hardship fund to enable more students to participate in costly activities
  • Hold all activities in accessible rooms/locations
  • Implement more accessible decision making, such as online voting, so all members are able to have their say
  • Get involved in campaigns organised by the Associations


Participant Wellbeing

Safe and comfortable environment


  • Create and uphold a behavioural code of conduct
  • Hold or get involved in a campaign, or create an initiative to promote the importance of self-care for exec members (and not overworking themselves)
  • Exec members complete the University’s online consent training and reflect on your learning, and actively encourage members to do so too
  • Exec attendance at alcohol awareness training and reflect on your learning
  • Exec attendance relevant training e.g. active bystander
  • Exec, and members if relevant, complete safeguarding training on DUO
  • Get involved in a student welfare or well-being campaign
  • Run activities or initiatives that build members’ confidence e.g. development workshops, buddy programmes etc.



Positive impact on students and wider community


  • Collaborate with other Durham student groups/DUCK on events or campaigns
  • Have a publicity plan to raise awareness of the society both inside and outside the University community
  • Get involved in a large scale student event
  • Participate in a student campaign or volunteering project that goes beyond your society’s usual focus e.g. collaborate with an Association or SCA
  • Support a cause (local, national, or international) through campaigning, volunteering or fundraising
  • Collaborate or build links with student groups from other Universities
  • Be an active part of a national/international student organisation
  • Work with other nearby educational institutions such as local schools, Further Education colleges, and universities
  • Work with other external organisations on events or campaigns e.g. community centres, non-student societies etc.
  • Hold open events for non-students to get involved – promote through local events news outlets
  • Engage with events going on in the local area e.g. Christmas fairs, Durham Pride etc.
  • Encourage members to engage in democracy e.g. attending Assembly, voting in SU elections/referenda, voting in local and national elections/referenda etc.