awards trust mark advanced
awards trust mark outstanding
awards trust mark accreditation

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 (advanced and outstanding) 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):

awards trust mark accreditation

Awards Trust Mark

“Accredited Award Scheme”

awards trust mark advanced

Trust Mark – Advanced

“Ethical Awards Scheme Accredited”

awards trust mark outstanding

Trust Mark – Outstanding

“Ethical Awards Scheme Accredited”

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 website which explains what that level accreditation means.
  • Will have their awards scheme marked with a correspondingly coloured tick on the and 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.

Latest News

September 2020LexisNexis Legal Awards have successfully demonstrated that their award scheme is both robust and ethical, signing up to a code of conduct that makes them stand out amongst their peers. Launched in 2013 to recognise and celebrate excellence and innovation across the legal sector. They have attracted an increasing number of high calibre entrants each year and aim to shine a light on the vital importance of the law in society.

lexisnexis legal awards

August 2020 – We are very pleased to announce that The Card and Payments Awards have, for the second year running, demonstrated that they are an exemplary award scheme achieving the highest level of accreditation – The Gold Awards Trust Mark. They were the first award scheme in the financial services sector to achieve this accolade and continue to set the standard in their industry for robust and ethical conduct.
Here are just a few words past entrants and judges had to say about them:

“They have the easiest and clearest process of any Award scheme we enter.  Winning the Card and Payment Awards has been one of our biggest accolades”

“This is the most transparent award scheme I am involved in.”

“As an organisation we enter a lot of Awards, but the Card and Payment Awards are particularly well managed.  The online experience was seamless.”

Year on year this award scheme continues to impress and hold itself to the highest of standards.  Further details can be found on their website.

The Family Law Awards have achieved their first Trust Mark Accreditation! Created to reflect on the important work of family lawyers, and celebrate their many successes and outstanding achievements; the Family Law Awards demonstrated that they too should be celebrated. Deploying a robust judging process and providing support to applicants throughout, they are a great example to other award schemes. Well done! Further details can be found on their awards website

family law awards

February 2020 – In a series of firsts, The IASC are pleased to announce that Scottish Hair & Beauty Industry Awards, are not only the first Gold accredited awards scheme in Scotland, but also the first Hair and Beauty awards scheme ever accredited by the Independent Awards Standards Council!  We were impressed by their fair and transparent approach, thorough evaluation of entrants (using a two-stage judging process) and feedback from references on their fantastic awards ceremony. To become accredited, the awards organisers agreed to implement feedback on overall scoring to all entrants as part of the “closure” stage following the awards ceremony, which shows their commitment to being a gold standard award scheme. They have also demonstrated their strives towards continuous improvement introducing a new accreditation system in 2019 to ensure a regulated, systemised and managed process. A great example to others, well done! Further details can be found on their website.  


February 2020 – We are delighted to announce that the ARMA Ace Awards have been awarded the Gold Trust Mark. These awards celebrate the UK’s leading managing agents and their staff, who strive to improve the lives of thousands of leaseholders. We were particularly impressed by the well-organised programme which is both transparent and thorough. The two stage judging process is an excellent way to maintain consistent judging and it’s a nice touch that all finalists are given one free ticket to the awards ceremony (with no obligation to attend); especially as so many awards organisers push selling seats and tables.  Striving to improve on processes year-on-year, they will be providing feedback to all entrants after a number of entrants requested this in 2019.  Judges and entrants alike all reflected on how prestigious they feel the ARMA Ace Awards are and that their conduct is exemplary. Well done ARMA Ace Awards!      


February 2020 – Re-accreditation time! The BOC Global Events and Training Group have successfully re-accredited their BOC Brilliance Awards, achieving Gold Trust Mark status. The awards comprise of 4 separate schemes under the one umbrella:
Business Brilliance AwardsMarketing & PR Brilliance AwardsHR Brilliance AwardsInternal Communications Awards  

We are delighted that organisers are recognising the value of the Awards Trust Mark initiative and the benefits that it brings to not only their schemes, but to the wider awards industry.   

January 2020 – The new decade begins with a second Gold Awards Trust Mark being awarded to SBID, the professional body registered in the UK to regulate and promote the interior design profession. Congratulations to The SBID Product Design Awards for achieving the highest level ethical award scheme accreditation. A fine example of how awards can be organised.        


September 2019 – Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, The Diana Award is a prestigious accolade a young person aged 9-25 years can receive for their social action or humanitarian work. The award is given to individuals and groups through a retrospective nomination process only – young people do not work towards the award, rather they demonstrate their suitability through their actions, without any expectation of reward. It is therefore with great pleasure that we can announce The Diana Award has achieved the highest ethical standards required for a Gold Awards Trust Mark. They are superbly organised and a fine example to be followed.  


September 2019 – It’s been a busy month for the IASC, with the highest level Gold Awards Trust Mark being awarded to The SBID International Design Awards. Chris Robinson, Co-Founder of the IASC commented: “The scheme is an exemplar in how awards should be operated. Their attention to every detail, from the transparency of the scoring system, to the briefings provided to judges, to the quality of websites, the clarity of the entering process, and the quality of customer service throughout is exemplary. I hope more schemes will aspire to this level of service and also earn the Gold Standard Awards Trust Mark.” During the validation process, some of the comments we received from the independent judges were particularly complimentary…”Really professional and well organised. I am very happy to be associated with them.” Congratulations on your well-deserved Gold Awards Trust Mark. 

September 2019 – The long established PFM Partnership Awards has achieved Awards Trust Mark accreditation. Having run for 26 years, these awards are highly respected in the premises and facilities management sector. Members of the council complimented the PFM Awards on the high standards of the judging process, which has long been an essential element of the initiative. We were particularly impressed by the fact that judges are independent, voluntary & have no financial interest in the awards. The organisers tell judges that if there is any perceived conflict of interest they must declare it and allow another judge to take their place. An excellent award scheme, congratulations on your accreditation! 

August 2019The Inside Out Awards, which celebrate the UK’s best in-house creative teams, has successfully applied for an Awards Trust Mark. They operate with a transparent judging process, use independent judges and there is 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 AwardsThe DADI Awards (Drum Awards for Digital Industries)
The Drum B2B AwardsThe Drum Content Awards
The Drum Digital Advertising Awards USAThe 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 AwardsMarketing & PR Brilliance AwardsHR Brilliance AwardsInternal 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 AwardsUS Search AwardsEuropean Search AwardsMENA Search Awards
UK App Awards  – Interactive Marketing AwardsUK Agency AwardsUK Biddable Awards.
UK Public Sector AwardsUK 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 award 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!

Karen Sutton receives the Gold Award Trust Mark live on stage May 2018.

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:  

Don Hales

Don Hales

Founder & Chairman Awards International

Paula Kelsey

Paula Kelsey

Owner Cloud 9 Event Management Limited & Founder ‘Fresh Awards’

Chris Robinson

Chris Robinson

MD & Founder Boost Awards

Louise Turner

Louise Turner

Founder & Chief Wordsmith, Awards Writers

Karen Sutton

Karen Sutton

Founder The Global Good Awards

Victoria Sibley

Victoria Sibley

Marketing Manager, AwardStage

Contact and Support 

Donna Greenyer

Donna Greenyer

Accreditation Manager

Donna can help with any enquiries regarding the scheme and coordinates the accreditation process. Please contact her directly on and she will be happy to help.