If you are eligible there are many benefits to being part of the National Codes: 

  • both managers and tenants enjoy the benefit of good standards of housing management and practice
  • benchmark standards are established and clearly stated
  • verification and audit are carried out independently
  • involvement in the management and development of the Codes encourages and rewards engagement
  • the Codes enable suppliers to meet many of service specifications inherent in partnership working
  • all tenants and members have a right to access the complaints and independent Tribunal system, if serious disputes cannot be informally resolved, through the National Codes Administrator
  • misunderstandings and disputes are reduced
  • where problems do occur they are promptly resolved

Clear benchmark standards

The Codes set a number of clear benchmark standards which are realistic and achievable by property suppliers and managers.

Best practice

The standards set reflect established best practice in the sector and are based on what a reasonable student and their parents would expect of a good quality housing supplier.

Establishing reasonable practice

The standards codify, for both members and consumers, what is reasonable in a given set of circumstances and can be used productively to establish what is reasonable in managing a building.

Opportunities for involvement in the Codes’ management

The management of the Codes themselves is undertaken by a Committee of Management, most of whom are members of the Codes. Larger suppliers (in excess of 3,000 bed spaces) are entitled to take up a position on the Committee. There are a number of other places and co-options available for smaller providers who wish to contribute to the continuing development of the Codes.

Committee of Management meetings are held at least twice a year. This is the only forum in which representatives from the whole accommodation sector meet together in a round table format. Meetings are good for networking, finding out about what is going on in the sector and developing the Codes.

A free annual conference is held jointly with Universities UK, which discussed both operational aspects of the Codes as well as bigger picture policy issues that may have an impact upon providers that are signed up to them. Every member is entitled to send delegates.

Verification exercises as a management and development tool

All members of the Codes are verified at least once every three years – and larger suppliers much more often. (Click here for further information on how standards are checked.) These verification visits are carried out independently by established experts in the field. Many suppliers use their verification process as a management tool to ensure that their policies, documentation and procedures are fully up to date and in order. The onsite visit can be used both to motivate and to improve staff in engaging with high quality management. The vast majority of verification inspections, whilst always taken seriously, are a positive and rewarding occasion.

Code standards as a basis for service specification in partnership arrangements

The Codes are used by many institutions and suppliers in connection with procurement procedures. The Codes’ specific standards can be used as the basis of a service specification for partnership and outsourcing arrangements. Additionally, the Codes provide for independent audit and verification that standards are being set. They also give each contracting party access to an independent Tribunal to decide on unresolved disputes relating to the Codes. Taken together, the standards, verifiable audit and access to a complaints and dispute resolution procedure within robustly operated Codes all give confidence to contracting partners or shared service operators if problems occur. In this connection it is worth noting that Universities UK recommends to its members that in partnership deals they should only use members of the ANUK/Unipol Code for Non Educational Establishments.

Professional administration focused on the quick resolution of problems

The Codes are run by a National Codes Administrator (NCA). Part of the NCA’s role is to deal informally with complaints and problems that arise and to get them resolved quickly. If matters can’t be sorted out in this way, the NCA co-ordinates referral to a tribunal system which brings fairness and closure to disputes.