The Independent Awards Standards Council – Trust Mark Scheme
What is the Awards Trust Mark?
The Awards Trust Mark scheme is a not-for-profit accreditation programme run by The Independent Awards Standards Council with the goal of, as the name suggests, enhancing trust between those entering awards schemes, and the organisations running them.
It is based around a voluntary code of conduct that awards organisers commit to. All levels of the Trust Mark require a director to sign up to this code of conduct. The highest levels (silver and gold) not only have the most extensive list of elements within the code of conduct, but are also validated by calling a randomly selected awards judge and awards entrant.
The scheme is not-for-profit. All individuals on the council, and organisations supporting the scheme, monitor their investments and the fees charged to award organisers are purely to cover these costs. Any surplus is reinvested back into the scheme.
The scheme is already raising standards in the industry, and we would encourage everyone entering awards to encourage the organisers to commit to the code of conduct and thus earn an Awards Trust Mark.
If you are aware of an accredited award doing something that suggests they are not complying with the Awards Trust Mark code of conduct, then please contact us so we can investigate further.
What is the evidence for needing one?
The need for the Trust Mark, and the elements within an agreed code of conduct, are based on research by Boost Awards that gained input from both awards entrants and organisers. This research showed that about 80% of businesses entering awards would be influenced by such a scheme when picking awards to enter. It found that transparency was essential, and that most awards organisers were willing to consider such a scheme, for the benefit of all stakeholders within the awards industry. The research also showed that perceived trust in the judging process used in an awards scheme is one of the most influential factors for businesses in picking schemes to enter.
So how does the Awards Trust Mark work?
There are three tiers available as shown below (Click logos to apply):
What do we get for applying?
Any awards scheme that earns an accreditation:
- Can use the Awards Trust Mark logo, of the level of accreditation that they have earned, in any marketing for a period of 12 months after accreditation has been earned. When in digital form, the logo must link to the corresponding page on this www.awardstrustmark.org website which explains what that level accreditation means.
- Will have their awards scheme marked with a correspondingly coloured tick on the awards-list.co.uk and awards-list.com websites. These sites are the agreed locations where the accreditation level is published and can be verified. The research clearly shows that organisations choosing which awards to enter will lean towards those with Trust Marks.
August 2019 – The Inside Out Awards, which celebrate the UK’s best in-house creative teams, have successfully applied for a Standard Awards Trust Mark. They have a transparent judging process, use independent judges and have a clear website with information and rules for entrants. Many congratulations and good luck with this year’s awards!
July 2019 – We are very pleased to announce that The Card and Payments Awards achieved the highest level of accreditation – The Gold Awards Trust Mark. This represents the first award scheme in the financial services sector to achieve this. We were extremely impressed by the ethical robustness in all aspects of judging, feedback and transparency of these extremely well-run awards.
June 2019 – The Drum, the global media platform and largest marketing website in Europe, has successfully achieved standard Awards Trust Marks for six of its award schemes, with the potential for further accreditations in the future. This is both a reflection of the excellent standards to which the Drum Awards are organised and a real coup for the Trust Mark Scheme in its mission to raise standards within the industry.
The Drum Awards that bear the Awards Trust Mark are as follows:
The Drum PR Awards – The DADI Awards (Drum Awards for Digital Industries)
The Drum B2B Awards – The Drum Content Awards
The Drum Digital Advertising Awards USA – The Drum Out of Home Awards
May 2019 – Great to see a new award scheme successfully applying for the Awards Trust Mark – Well done to MWT Cymru who achieved their Standard Awards Trust Mark for their Mid Wales Tourism Awards. In the process of applying they made a number of changes to their scheme based on the criteria and suggestions from the IAS Council members, and with these incorporated, we are happy to confirm that these are a very well run awards scheme. We wish them the best of success in their inaugural year.
May 2019 – We are very pleased to announce that the criteria for the standard Awards Trust Mark has been met by The Aesthetics Awards. These awards for practitioners, companies and organisations demonstrating excellence in the field of medical aesthetics, are well-organised, have a clear website with all the information and rules for entrants, and most of all have a transparent judging process with independent judges. Many congratulations and good luck with this year’s awards.
April 2019 – “We are delighted to award The South West Tourism Excellence Awards a Gold Trust Mark for it’s ethics, transparency and general great practice. The first tourism award to receive Gold. What impressed me most about the awards is how they give feedback despite being free to enter, and how they truly listen to entrants – surveying them every year to ensure continuous improvement. A great scheme.” Chris Robinson, Independent Awards Standards Council.
The awards also incorporate the following county awards websites which all follow the same rigorous standards:
Bristol, Bath & Somerset Tourism Awards
Dorset Tourism Awards
Cornwall Tourism Awards
Devon Tourism Awards
Mid-January 2019 – Another flurry of Gold Trust Marks to report. The BOC Global Events and Training Group have signed up to the scheme for their BOC Brilliance Awards, which comprise of 4 separate schemes under the one umbrella:
Business Brilliance Awards – Marketing & PR Brilliance Awards – HR Brilliance Awards – Internal Communications Awards
As a result of the verification process, and in order to achieve the Gold standard, BOC agreed to commit to automatically providing feedback to all entrants, something they previously had not done, so we are especially pleased they have added this to their processes and achieved Gold. Many congratulations.
January 2019 – A very exciting start to the new year for The Trust Mark scheme as we can announce that the prestigious Investors in People Awards, themselves a very credible accreditation scheme, have attained a Gold Level Awards Trust Mark. This is fantastic news. After going through a rigorous process of external verification, it became very clear that Investors in People set themselves the highest of ethical standards in all aspects of judging, feedback and transparency. In our opinion they are a standard that all awards schemes should aspire to. Well done to everyone involved.
December 2018 – Trust Marks aplenty! We are delighted to announce that a total of ten award schemes organised by Don’t Panic have been awarded standard level Award Trust Marks. We were very impressed by the consistently transparent entry processes and the use of independent industry judges for all of the different awards. They are well organised and transparent with their fees, as well as being happy to communicate with entrants throughout the entire awards process. Congratulations!
Award Schemes achieving Award Trust Mark status are:
UK Search Awards – US Search Awards – European Search Awards – MENA Search Awards.
UK App Awards – Interactive Marketing Awards – UK Agency Awards – UK Biddable Awards.
UK Public Sector Awards – UK Content Awards.
August 2018 – We are pleased to announce that The Property Management Awards have successfully applied for a Silver Award Trust Mark. Members of the Council were very impressed by their scheme, particularly the fact they are free to enter, exceptionally popular, show great integrity in the judging process and hold a superb launch event. Assessment included phone interviews with a randomly selected judge and entrant, and Chris Robinson personally met with the organisers who were more than happy to show transparency in all their processes. With the addition of feedback to all applicants, they hope to earn a Gold Trust Mark next year. Well done!
July 2018 – The Awards Standards Council is very pleased to welcome our newest member Louise Turner, Founder and Chief Wordsmith at Awards Writers. With many year’s experience writing award entries and a wide knowledge of the award industry itself, Louise is keen to contribute ideas and develop the Trust Mark scheme further, so we are very grateful to have her join us.
May 2018 – We are excited to announce that The Global Good Awards has become the very first awards scheme to earn the coveted Gold Standard Ethical Awards Trust Mark. Many congratulations! Full details can be read about their success on The Global Good Awards website.
“The Global Good Awards scheme certainly sets the standard for how awards schemes should be run. Their every detail, from the transparency of the scoring system, to the briefings provided to judges, to the sustainability of the awards dinner, to the clarity of the entering process, is exemplary. I couldn’t have hoped for a more appropriate award scheme to be the first to earn the Gold Standard Awards Trust Mark.”
Chris Robinson, Founding Member of The Independent Awards Standards Council
Following their successful accreditation, Karen Sutton accepted an invitation to join the IASC and share her best practice with other award schemes. Welcome Karen!
What is the Independent Awards Standards Council?
The Independent Awards Standards Council (IASC) and the Awards Trust Mark are a non-profit making exercise with the sole aim of promoting trust in the award industry as a whole for the benefit of all stakeholders. By applying for an Awards Trust Mark we hope that you will be contributing to this aim and keep within the spirit of its intentions. Please contact the Independent Awards Standards Council directly should you wish to become a member. Current members are as follows:
Founder & Chairman Awards International
Sarah Garrett MBE
Founder SPM Group
MD & Founder Boost Marketing
Founder The Global Good Awards
Owner Cloud 9 Event Management Limited
Founder & Chief Wordsmith, Awards Writers
Contact and Support
Donna can help with any enquiries regarding the scheme and coordinates the accreditation process. Please contact her directly on firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to help.