The Best Student Life. Bristol SU

The Bristol SU Balloon Accreditation Scheme (BAS)


Bronze Balloon Accreditation Society Award Logo

Silver Balloon Accreditation Society Award Logo

GOLD Balloon Accreditation Scheme award logo


Last year, Bristol SU launched a new scheme for clubs and societies to both maximise their potential and show members their strengths. The scheme was launched on October 3rd 2016, with an email going out to all club and society presidents.

Please see the Balloon Accreditation Scheme Guide

What did you think about the Balloon Accreditation Scheme in its first year? Let us know by filling in this BAS Feedback form!

How does it work?

Throughout the year you can use the BAS Evidence Form’ to let us know how you are working towards your levels. These will be checked and assessed throughout the year, and you will be updated at Christmas on your progress. If you have not submitted anything by Christmas, that is not a problem, we just won’t be able to update you. The final deadline for this year can be found on the guide.

We will also compile data from surveys that already exist (such as ‘Rate My Group’), handover documents, your webpage, and group membership information. We will use these methods to assess how well a group has achieved in each of the five criteria areas. You can see what will be used as evidence on the BAS Guide next to the different criteria.

The deadline for submitting evidence is the 30th April 2018.

rate-my-group.jpg unioncloud.jpg


What will it look like?

You will be assigned a level in each of the five areas. These levels will be either Bronze, Silver or Gold. At the end of the year, we will take an average of the top four out of five of these scores and you will be assigned one headline level. To guarantee gold, you would want to meet gold criteria in all areas, AND you have to meet the criteria for Bronze and Silver. In the event that your group does not quite reach the bronze criteria, or you do not submit any evidence, you will be issued with an ‘In Progress’ balloon.  

Can we opt out?

Groups were intially given the choice to opt out by November 14th, 2016. Those that did not opt out are currently enrolled in the scheme and will continue to be. Never fear, however! If you choose not to submit any evidence or take part, you will be issued with an ‘In Progress’ balloon and the next committee can decide whether they want to submit the following year.

New groups affiliated in the 2016/2017 academic year and afterwards will be automatically enrolled in the scheme.


What’s in it for your group?

Recruit more members by demonstrating that your society is well run and interesting! No one likes joining a society that isn’t fun or won’t include them. This is a great opportunity to show new students how wonderful your group is. Also it is a great way to prove that your group is as successful as it used to be and that the legacy will live on!

Impress sponsors with proof that your group is financially sustainable due to their contributions. It could be used as a reason to set you apart from other sponsorship requests. It is a great way for them to see all the other things that you do!

Develop your committee by working towards a common aim. You might learn some skills as individuals (like how to set up a survey, analyse data, or how to project manage) whilst working towards some of the levels, and this could improve your employability and skill set.





Digital certificate and logo to display on webpage.

Posters and stickers to display at Welcome Fair


Silver - as above plus:

You will be eligible to be chosen as a featured group to have an article showcased on the Union’s website.

Enter in £50 draw


Gold - as above plus:

Celebrated at the Union Awards

5 groups drawn to feature in Online Welcome guide

5 groups drawn to have video feature on website for part of the year

Enter in £100 draw


Forms and Guidance


Balloon Accreditation Scheme Guide (BAS)

BAS Evidence Form

BAS Appeals Form

BAS Sustainability Statement

BAS Equality and Diversity Statement

BAS Sustainability Report and BAS Equality And Diversity Survey: Want an easy and free way to run your report and survey? Simply click here to find a template Sustainability report for the BAS, and a template E&D survey! All you have to do is save the template to your own jotform account, edit it, and share the link with anyone who needs to complete it. Don't forget to fill in the evidence form to tell us you've run the report or survey! 
Alternatively, you can use this word template for the Sustainability Report Sustainability_report_template_for_BAS.docx

If you have any questions, please email the Development Team




Q: The guide says that you need to collaborate with another group or organisation. Is there any guidance as to what constitutes a valid groups/organisation in this instance?


A: This can be any charity (including specific SU campaigns), affiliated student group (from any university), or company. You will have to explain/evidence that you worked with this group in collaboration, not for them! If you are a student group specifically related to an external charity or organisation (for example, Oxfam) then you would need to demonstrate collaboration with someone other than that group.


Q: What do we consider a collaboration?


A: A collaboration would be a time when two groups are working together towards a common aim. For example, Islamic Society working with members from the local Oxfam branch to put on a joint event and sharing resources would be collaboration. Islamic society raising money for Oxfam would not.


Q: If I’ve been on an SU training session, do I need to submit anything?


A: Yes. You can just submit an evidence form saying you have attended on behalf of your group, and we will be able to check our attendance lists!


Q: Is it easier if I submit a file with all of my evidence for the year?


A: You will need to submit your evidence along with the BAS Evidence Form for each separate area (E&D, Fun, etc), but if you wish to do this as one large submission, that’s fine. We have 300+ groups to check, and we will just need it all in one place! All evidence should be submitted this way.


Q: What counts as an ‘equality & diversity related event’ other than Liberate your Language?


A: This can be training or an event. 'Mental health Awareness', or 'Mental health First Aid' are run by the SU, but let us know if you think an external training you attend counts! For events, 'Explore', 'Richmond Lectures' or one of the campaigns such as 'Reclaim the Night' would count, but make sure it’s useful and relevant to you and your group! It's about looking at what's on during the year and seeing what would be of use to the equality and diversity of your members. There should be loads of different speakers during the many campaigns this year, so just keep an eye on what’s happening in Bristol and at the SU! If in doubt, just ask us!


Q: We don't have many members; will we be able to get a result from Rate My Group?


A: Every affiliated student group should have 30 members minimum anyway, and in order to get a clear percentage result from Rate My Group and meet the 'Fun' criteria, you will need at least 10 people to complete the survey. Committee members should complete this as well!


Q: If I attend AMM, a Network meeting or a student council, will I need to submit an evidence form?


A: Yes. You can just submit a BAS Evidence Form saying you have attended on behalf of your group, and we will be able to check our attendance lists. You can only attend on behalf of one group, so ensure another representative is there is you are on multiple committees!


Q: Do we need to send you the results of our Equality and Diversity surveys?


A: We don’t need to see your results, but we will need to see that it’s been sent by you! You could even just screenshot the email in your ‘sent’ box. For the gold criteria, we will just want an explanation of how you have acted on these results as a group, with some supporting evidence.


Q: What counts as a 'taster session'?


A: A taster session would be any session open and advertised to everyone (not just your members) that is completely free and allows people to learn about what your group is all about! This could be anything from running a 'Give it a Go' session, to holding a coffee morning to speak to people about your subject. 


Q: When will my group get our accreditation score?


A: This year (2016/17), we will have results out to groups within the handover period. From 2017/18 onwards, results will be awarded in April/May before the SU awards. This means the handover that takes place in 2017 will be counted twice as evidence for both 2016-17 and 2017-18.


Q: When do we need to have submitted all our evidence by?


A: For 2016/17, you will need to have submitted all your evidence by the handover deadline. For every year after that, starting 2017/18, you will need to have submitted all your evidence by April 30th so we have time to award scores by the SU awards! You may find it easiest to submit evidence throughout the year as things take place, so you’re not scrambling at the end to get everything together. This will also mean we can give you a progress report in January.


Q: How does the appeal process work?


A: You will be asked to submit a BAS Appeals Form if you are unhappy with the levels you have received. The forms will then be considered by the Societies Network. Please note that new evidence cannot be submitted at this stage, and must have been attached on the original evidence form!


Q: If we already have an E&D officer, have we met that criteria?


A: Absolutely! At the start of the year, if we have the details of your Equality officer on your handover form, then this is all you need. If you wish to elect one mid-year, then you can hold an election and inform one of student services once you have the officers details and we’ll add them to our database.


Q: Do we need to complete every section of the Sustainability report?


A: The report provided is just to get you thinking about the kind of things you need to consider, and is no way a template. If you are finding it difficult in any of the areas listed, it might be worth considering what’s preventing you from being able to manage that goal?


Q: If I'm going for Gold, do we need to provide evidence for meeting the Bronze and Silver criteria?

A: YES! Gold can only be awarded if you have met all the criteria for the Bronze and Silver levels as well. This is stated in the Balloon Accreditation Scheme Guide (BAS) in the criteria pages. We will look at all Bronze submissions first before seeing who has decided to progress to the other levels, so make sure these are submitted or you may not get awarded in that area.