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Durham Students' Union

Durham Students’ Union's Advice Service offers free, independent advice and information to all registered Durham University students. Advice covers all main areas of student concerns, including housing and academic issues, whether that is through face-to-face appointments or through their bank of digital resources. The Durham Students’ Union Advice Service is independent from the University and the University does not warrant any of the advice given. All enquiries to the Durham Students’ Union Advice Service are dealt with in strictest confidence.

The Education Act (1994) obliges Council (Durham University’s governing body) to publish a Code of Practice which details how higher education institutions will assure the good governance of its students’ union. The Durham Students’ Union Code of Practice has recently been amended to better reflect the increasingly good governance and management of Durham SU, through establishing a Board of Trustees and implementing a professional support framework.

It will be helpful to take the time to familiarise yourself with the Code of Practice as part of your induction to the University. In particular, we ask that you note the following:

  • A student should have the right not to be a member of the union, and therefore, you have the right to opt out of membership of the Students’ Union
  • The restrictions imposed on the activities of the Union by charity law as defined in the Charities Act 2006:
    • Resources of the Union including that given by the University in the form of an annual grant, shall be used to further the objectives of the Union, in respect of representation and furthering the interests of students as to enhance the educational aims of the University for students whilst at the University.
    • All purposes of the Union must be exclusively charitable; it cannot have some purposes which are charitable as well as others which are not.
    • Purposes cannot be political, although political activity and campaigning can be carried out in order to support charitable purposes. However, a Charity must stress its independence and ensure that any involvement it has with political parties is balanced.
    • Charities can:
      • Engage in activities that support the delivery of its’ charitable purposes;
      • Campaign for change in law, policy or decisions which would support the charity’s purposes, including ensuring that existing laws are observed; and
      • Support specific policies advocated by political parties which would help achieve its charitable purposes. Charities cannot:
      • Engage in political campaigns that are the sole activity of the charity for an unreasonable period;
      • Exist for a political purpose, i.e. any purpose directed at furthering the interests of any political party, or securing or opposing a change in the law, policy or decisions either in this country or abroad;
      • Give support or funding to a political party, candidate, politician or similar; and
      • Become a vehicle for the expression of the political, religious or similar views of any individual trustee or staff member.