The name of the Branch is “The University of Exeter Branch of the University and College Union”, subsequently referred to as the Branch.
The Branch is constituted in accordance with the current rules of the University and College Union (UCU).
3 AIMS AND OBJECTS
The aims and objects of the Branch are the same as those of UCU, set out in national rule 2, except that they exclude the political objects of UCU referred to in national rule 2.6. The Branch may discuss UCU’s political objects and may act to further these provided that no funds of the Branch are spent on those political objects. All actions taken by the Branch shall be consistent with the national Rules of UCU.
4.1 Members of the Branch shall be those assigned to the Branch in accordance with national Rule 12. Normally, this will include all UCU members for whom the University of Exeter is their principal qualifying employment.
4.2 In accordance with national Rule 12.2, members who are employed at the University of Exeter but who have been assigned to a different Branch may attend meetings, and vote on matters concerned with their employment, at this Branch. They are eligible for membership of the committee of this Branch, but may stand for election as a local officer only in their designated Branch. In relation to national office and national elections, they shall be entitled to stand for office and vote in national elections only in their designated Branch/Local Association/central group. National elections includes all elections for General Secretary, Officers, Trustees, NEC representatives and Congress delegates.
4.3 Retired members whose last employment was in the University of Exeter may choose to be members of the Branch or of the regional retired members’ branch.
5.1 Each member of the Branch will pay, in accordance with procedures determined by the NEC, a subscription to the funds of UCU consisting of the current national subscription as determined by the NEC, and any current local subscription agreed by the Branch.
5.2 The local subscription will be approved by a decision of the annual general meeting and published to all members.
6 USE OF FUNDS
6.1 All expenditure by the Branch must further the objects of the Branch. The finances of the Branch shall be conducted in accordance with arrangements determined by the National Executive Committee which shall include an audit and report prepared in accordance with instructions issued by the Honorary Treasurer.
6.2 No funds of the Branch will be used for affiliation to a political party, or for the furtherance of the union’s political objects. Under trade union legislation, any expenditure on political objects must be made from a designated political fund, which is established and continued by a vote of the membership every ten years. This fund, set up in accordance with UCU rules 31 and 38, is one per cent of membership subscriptions and members may opt out of paying it. All expenditure on political objects must be made nationally out of this designated political fund; expenditure on political objects cannot be made out of local funds. Political objects may be broadly described as electoral or other party political activities.
6.3 The funds of the Branch will be used for:
6.3.1 Costs incurred in the proper conduct of the business of the Branch, as agreed by the committee.
6.3.2 Payment of the expenses of any members duly appointed by the Branch to represent it.
6.3.3 Payment of other such expenses as will from time to time be determined by a majority of members present and voting at a quorate general meeting of the Branch, subject to 6.1 and 6.2 above.
6.3.4 Donations to charities or other bodies whose objects are consistent with those of the Branch. Donations greater than £100 must be approved by a general meeting of the Branch; donations below this amount may be approved by the committee.
6.3.5 Payment of the expenses of any members attending UCU training or development
events if not otherwise met.
6.3.6 Payment of other such expenses requires the sanction of the Committee.
6.4 The Auditor has the duty to audit the accounts of the Branch. The Committee shall appoint the auditor from members of the Branch to the office. No member may concurrently hold the posts of Officer or Committee member of the Branch and of Auditor. The Auditor’s appointment shall be confirmed at the Annual General Meeting.
7.1 There will be a committee responsible for conducting the day-to-day business of the Branch. The committee will meet at least once every four months, and usually every alternate week during the periods when undergraduates are in residence. Not less than one third of those who are at that time members of the committee must be present to form a quorum at any meeting. The Committee is responsible for the general administration of the Branch and for the execution of its policy.
7.2 If presented with a written request signed by half of the members of the committee, the president must call a meeting of the committee to take place not later than 5 working days following the day on which that written request is received.
7.3 The committee will consist of:
a) the Officers as specified below,
b) up to 14 ordinary members elected annually from members of the Branch as specified in
rule 26 below,
c) members co-opted by the annual general meeting or by the committee who will serve to the end of the term of office of other committee members.
d) any member of the Branch who is a member of the National Executive Committee of UCU.
7.4 The committee shall elect (from among its own members) a Negotiating Committee to conduct negotiations, using the terms of reference locally agreed for Joint Committee for
Consultation and Negotiation (JCCN) composition. The negotiating committee will normally
comprise the President, Vice-President, Secretary and one other, supplemented and
augmented as necessary.
7.5 The Negotiating Committee is the only body empowered to conduct negotiations with the institution. The negotiators may include the Regional Official, under circumstances determined by the General Secretary. The Negotiating Committee shall make appropriate arrangements for the appointment of its officers from among its membership.
7.6 The General Meeting or the Committee may delegate powers to execute policy decisions to sub-groups as in rule 28 below or to such ad hoc groups as are deemed necessary by the General Meeting for the efficient running of the Branch. The power to make policy cannot be delegated. Correspondence in the name of the Branch should be signed by the President or authorised deputy.
8 OFFICERS OF THE BRANCH
8.1 Members will be elected to the following officer roles within the Branch:
The communications officer
The membership and recruitment officer
The pensions officer
The Health and Safety officer
The governance and policy officer
The academic-related officer
The equality & diversity officer
The disability officer
The anti-casualisation officer
The PGR officer
The immediate past president*
These positions will be declared elected annually at the annual general meeting from members of the Branch in accordance with Rule 9.
*The immediate past president shall be filled automatically following election of a new
The president will chair all general meetings and all committee meetings of the Branch and perform such other duties as are laid upon the president by any rule or are decided by the committee. In the absence of the president these duties will be performed by the vice-president, failing which another officer as the committee decides. In accordance with normal practice, the president may, between meetings of the committee, take any action on behalf of the committee which is both urgent and necessary. Such Chair’s Action must be reported for approval to the next committee meeting. The President will ensure that a local paid administrator/organiser is appointed (where funds allow).
The President shall be responsible for the remission from work duties and dispersal of funds provided by the university to facilitate time off for trade union duties. The President shall, in consultation with the Officers, and in accordance with financial regulations, insure that human resources arranged for the remission from work duties and the timely disbursement of these funds and such dispersals shall be reported to committee at the first opportunity.
The duties of the secretary are to call general and committee meetings of the Branch; to ensure that minutes of those meetings are kept; to organise membership circulations as the committee deems necessary; to arrange notification of local election and ballot results to all members; and to perform such other duties as are laid on the secretary by any rule or are decided by the committee. The secretary will provide liaison with the University on behalf of the negotiating committee. The secretary will be assisted by the local administrator/organiser in the record keeping. In the absence of the secretary, the secretary’s duties will be performed by another officer as the committee decides.
The treasurer will have custody of the funds of the Branch and authority to make payments from them in accordance with the rules as the need arises. The treasurer’s duties will be to keep the books of the Branch; to present the accounts of the Branch for auditing as necessary; to present these audited accounts to a general meeting of the Branch, to publish them to all members of the Branch, and to submit a copy forthwith to the honorary treasurer of UCU. In the absence of the treasurer, the treasurer’s duties will be performed by another officer as the committee decides.
8.5 Membership and Recruitment Officer
The membership and recruitment officer will be responsible for recruitment and for keeping any membership records that are necessary at local level. The membership secretary will provide membership information promptly to UCU in accordance with instructions from UCU Head Office or Regional Office to enable statutory and rule requirements of membership records to be met. The membership and recruitment officer will be responsible for setting recruitment targets, planning, coordinating and reporting back on recruitment. They will be assisted by the local administrator/organiser in the record keeping. In the absence of the membership secretary, these duties will be performed by another officer as the committee decides.
8.6 Equality officer
The equality officer will:
i) have knowledge of and commitment to relevant issues, and be willing to undertake training according to the needs of UCU, monitor the implementation of equality policies within the institution, and, where appropriate, encourage and support local negotiations on equality matters
ii) monitor the volume and nature of personal casework which involves equality issues to ensure that the Branch has appropriate mechanisms in place for handling such cases
iii) where appropriate, provide information, encouragement and support to members about equality issues
iv) ensure that UCU’s national annual meetings, and any other relevant events and opportunities for women, black members, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members and disabled members are publicised locally, that members from all groups are encouraged to participate, and that the Branch maximises the opportunities for recruitment and organisation amongst all groups
v) where appropriate, provide liaison between the Branch and UCU’s equality structures
In the absence of the equality officer, these duties will be performed by another officer or officers as the committee decides.
8.7 Anti-Casualisation Officer
The role of anti-casualisation officer will be filled by a member whose main employment is casualised, or who has, in the two years prior to their nomination, been in casualised employment as their main employment.
The Vice-President will assist the President in the day to day running of the Branch and perform such other duties as are laid upon the Vice-President by any rule or are decided by the Committee.
8.9 Communications Officer
The Communications officer is primarily responsible for co-ordinating communications to members with the support of the rest of the committee. They will assist the President and Branch in the day to day running of campaigns, public website and social media accounts.
8.10 Pensions Officer
The Pensions Officer will be offering support to members with pensions enquiries. They will be able to give a specialist level of advice on pension developments and communications in the branch.
8.11 Health and Safety Officer
The Health & Safety Officer will:
8.11.1 Act as a recognised Safety Representative of the Branch and will attend the formal University Health and Safety Committee.
8.11.2 Appoint, from membership of the Branch, a number of University level safety reps as may be agreed from time to time with the University.
8.11.3 Where appropriate, provide liaison between the Branch and UCU’s health & safety structures and to foster fraternal links with the other campus unions on health & safety matters.
In the absence of the Health and Safety Officer, these and other duties will be performed by another officer or officers as the committee decides.
8.12 The Governance and Policy Officer
The Governance and Policy Officer is primarily responsible for reviewing and advocating for greater transparency and more democratic decision-making across the University.
8.13 The Academic-Related Officer, Disability Officer and PGR Officer
They are representatives for significant groups of employees who may not otherwise be
represented on the committee. The PGR Officer is the primary contact point with the
Students’ Guild, using the terms of reference locally agreed in the Memorandum of
Understanding between the Branch and the Guild.
8.14 Casual vacancies
If an office is vacant and no ballot is being held for that office, the committee is empowered to fill the vacancy, either from members of the committee itself or from the general membership of the Branch. Officers so appointed will retire at the same time as if they had been duly declared elected at the last Annual General Meeting.
9 ELECTIONS OF ORDINARY MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE AND OFFICERS
9.1 Returning Officer
The local committee will appoint a returning officer for elections who is neither a candidate for any office in the Branch nor a member of the committee.
All nominations will be received in writing by the returning officer no later than the day that is 28 days before the day of the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Nominations must be accompanied by the written consent of the nominee and supported by the identifiable signatures of 2 members of the Branch.
If there have been insufficient nominations to fill all committee places before the meeting further nominations to fill remaining vacancies may be received up to 24 hours before the day of the AGM or may be proposed from the floor of the AGM.
9.3 Eligibility to stand for election
Retiring officers will be eligible for re‑election, except that the president and vice‑president may normally hold office for not more than 5 successive years in any one capacity, unless in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of a quorate general meeting.
The Committee and Officers are elected annually, and all members of the retiring Committee are eligible for re-election. The committee and officers shall hold office with effect from the 1st August of the year of the AGM to the following 31st of July.
A member may not normally be declared elected to more than one officer or ordinary position of committee membership.
Subject to rule 10.4, if there is only one eligible candidate for any officer vacancy that candidate will be declared elected.
If the number of candidates to be ordinary members of the committee does not exceed the number of vacancies those candidates will be declared elected.
If there is either more than one eligible candidate for any officer vacancy or more candidates than there are vacancies of ordinary members of the committee a ballot of the members of the Branch will be conducted in accordance with rule 10.
9.5 Term of Office
The term of office of an officer or ordinary member of the committee elected under this rule 9 will be the academic year following the annual general meeting, or such other period of approximately one year as the AGM determines.
10 CONDUCT OF BALLOTS
10.1 All ballots will be conducted in accordance with this rule, other than industrial action ballots which will be conducted in accordance with national rules.
10.2 If required, a ballot for officer posts will be held in accordance with 10.3. A ballot for ordinary committee members will be held by a vote at the AGM. Candidates in a contested election are invited to submit a statement of not more than 250 words plus short biographical information to be sent to all members with the ballot papers.
10.3 Not later than the end of the day that is fourteen days before the date fixed for counting the ballot, the ballot forms will be sent to each member of the Branch. The Returning Officer will supervise the conduct of the ballot including the distribution of ballot forms and will fix the date and time for starting the count of the ballot. The ballot will be secret. Ballots will be counted in accordance with the method determined by the returning officer. Where appropriate and practicable, the single transferable vote system will be used.
10.4 When officer and committee ballots are conducted over the same time period, they will be counted in the following order: officer and other positions set out in rule 8.1, in the order in which they are set out in that rule, followed by ordinary committee members. If a person is a candidate in two or more elections over the same time period for positions that cannot be held concurrently under rule, after the successful election of that candidate to a position, votes for that candidate will be disregarded in subsequent elections.
10.5 The result will be notified in writing by the Returning Officer to the secretary and as soon as practicable by the secretary to the members of the Branch and to the General Secretary of UCU.
11 ELECTION OF CONGRESS AND REGIONAL COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVES
11.1 Election of Congress Representatives
Congress representatives will be elected annually from members of the Branch. Any ballot that is necessary will be conducted in accordance with Rule 10. Where an elected representative is unable to attend a particular Congress, a substitute may be elected by a General Meeting. If this is not possible, a substitute may be elected by the Committee. Names of the representatives will be notified to the General Secretary in accordance with published procedures.
11.2 Election of Regional Committee representatives
Regional Committee representatives shall be elected by and from the membership of the Committee. The President, Vice-President, Secretary and any member who is a member of the National Executive Committee shall automatically be representatives of the Branch at the Regional Committee.
12 REMOVAL FROM OFFICE
Any member of the committee (including the officers and other persons elected to represent the Branch) may be removed from office by resolution at a general meeting (including an extraordinary general meeting) of the Branch provided that (a) the terms of any such proposed resolution are received by the secretary not later than the day that is fourteen days before the day of the general meeting and (b) the proposal for such a resolution is supported in writing by not less than twenty‑five members or 25% of the membership, whichever is less. Upon receipt of such a proposal the secretary will take all reasonable steps to ensure that that proposal is received by each member of the Branch not later than the day that is seven days before the general meeting at which it is to be considered. Any general meeting which will have removed a member or members of the committee in accordance with the above will have power to replace any such member or members until such time as normal election of officers and other members of the committee next occurs.
13 MEETINGS OF THE BRANCH
There will be at least three general meetings of the Branch each year, of which one will be designated as the annual general meeting. The Regional Official shall receive notice and minutes of all Branch meetings. The General Secretary or nominee may attend all Branch meetings.
13.1 Annual General Meeting
13.1.1 The annual general meeting will be held in the Summer term each year. The secretary will take all reasonable steps to ensure that notice of the annual general meeting is received by members not later than the day that is 42 days before the day on which the meeting is to be held. The secretary will take all reasonable steps to ensure that the agenda for the meeting is received by members not later than the day that is 14 days before the day on which the meeting is to be held.
13.1.2 The annual general meeting will normally receive the results of elections of the officers and committee members. It will appoint an auditor or auditors.
13.1.3 The required business of the AGM is to deal with the election of the Officers and Committee, to receive a financial report, to fix the amount of the Branch subscription for the following year, and to consider constitutional and other matters.
13.1.4 The conduct of the meeting shall otherwise be in accordance with the standing orders for Ordinary General Meetings.
13.2 Ordinary General Meetings
13.2.1 The secretary will take all reasonable steps to ensure that notice of ordinary general meetings is received by members not later than the day that is 14 days before the day on which the meeting is to be held. One General Meeting will be held in the Autumn term and one in the Spring term, to consider matters of interest to members.
13.2.2 The General Meeting is the policy making body of the Branch subject to the obligation not to depart from national UCU policy. Between General Meetings it delegates this power, subject to the same obligation, to the Committee.
13.2.3 General Meetings may offer advice to the representatives of the association attending National Congress.
13.2.4 Dates of these General Meetings shall normally be notified to the membership before the beginning of each semester.
13.2.5 (i) An ordinary General Meeting shall if at all possible be called before UCU Congress to consider possible resolutions, to prioritise adopted resolutions and to consider other matters on the agenda, (ii) if agreed by the Committee, a further ordinary General Meeting shall be called to consider the business of Congress, and to prioritise possible amendments to Congress motions and/or to consider any emergency motions to Congress.
13.2.6 All members and sub-groups have the right to place items or motions on the Agenda of General Meetings, including draft motions for consideration at national UCU Congress. They shall inform the Secretary or the local administrator by e-mail. Members shall be given at least 14 days notice to submit motions.
13.2.7 The Agenda for all General Meetings shall be agreed by the Committee and distributed to the membership at least seven days before the general meeting with the wording of motions.
14 EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING
An extraordinary general meeting of the Branch will be held either at the request of the Committee, or following receipt by the secretary of a requisition signed by at least the number of members equivalent to a quorum. Such a requisition will specify the topic or topics to be discussed. Requisitioned meetings will be arranged to take place not later than 10 working days after the day on which that requisition was received. The secretary will take all reasonable steps to ensure that notice of the extraordinary general meeting is received by members not later than the day that is 5 working days before the day on which the meeting is to be held.
15 EMERGENCY GENERAL MEETINGS
Where an issue is urgent and an emergency meeting is called by the Officers, the secretary will take all reasonable steps to ensure that notice of the emergency general meeting is received by members not less than 3 working days before the day on which the meeting is to be held.
At all general meetings, including extraordinary and emergency general meetings, of the Branch a quorum will be one twentieth of the membership or 25 members, whichever is least. In any case, the quorum must be greater than the total size of the committee.
17 QUORUM ARRANGEMENTS FOR FORMAL BUSINESS
Where an annual general meeting, extraordinary general meeting or general meeting is unable to complete items of formal business required by national or local Rules, or resulting from trade union legislation, or from membership of the TUC, or in relation to the local finances of the Branch, because the meeting was not quorate, notice of a further meeting will be circulated to members to take place no later than 14 days after the date of the inquorate meeting. The agenda of the further meeting will be restricted to this incomplete, formal business. It will be quorate if three members are in attendance, except that in respect of the local finances of the Branch, these three will not for purposes of the quorum include the Branch treasurer or its local auditors.
For this purpose, formal business is defined as (i) the adoption of audited Branch accounts; (ii) the determination of the Branch budget including the setting of the local subscription; (iii) confirmation of any financial or membership data required by the Association in order to comply with its Rules, or to make returns to the Certification Officer or any other body designated by legislation, or to the Trade Union Congress; (iv) determination in local rules of the manner in which the Branch’s funds will be held; (v) the formal confirmation of the election of Branch officers and ordinary members of the Committee and appointment of auditors.
A resolution of a general meeting is a motion that has been approved while that meeting was quorate by a simple majority of members present and voting except as provided elsewhere in these rules.
Any motion (other than an emergency motion) submitted by the Branch to the Congress of the UCU, or to the national HE Committee or to the Regional Committee, will be circulated to all members of the Branch and approved by a quorate general meeting of the Branch. Amendments, which may not introduce new subject matters to motions, may be taken at the discretion of the Chair.
Where a general meeting is called, and part of the business of this meeting is to approve motions for submission to the Congress of the UCU, and this meeting is inquorate, motions for submission to Congress may be subsequently approved in a manner determined by the Committee and consistent with the Standing Orders of Congress.
Emergency motions to Congress must be submitted in accordance with the Standing Orders of Congress.
Other emergency motions and AOB will be accepted by the chair if he/she determines that the proposed items are urgent, could not have been submitted in accordance with standing orders and can fairly be considered without any detriment to the membership at large.
19 MOTIONS TO NATIONAL MEETINGS AND COMMITTEES
All motions to national Equality bodies, and national meetings and specialist committees of the Special Employment Interest Groups shall be submitted in accordance with national Rules and Standing Orders and should be approved by a properly convened meeting of members of the relevant special interest group, for which the quorum will be five, or a quorate general meeting or by the committee.
Note: Wherever possible and appropriate to their members the Branch should establish specialist groups paralleling the national specialist groups defined in national Rules 23 and 25 (Currently these will in most institutions include academic-related staff; fixed-term and hourly-paid staff, disabled members, black members, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members, and women members.) Such groups should meet as required and prior to the relevant national meetings and an officer of the local committee should attend all group meetings.
20 RATIFICATION OF AGREEMENTS
Any draft agreements must be ratified in accordance with regional or national ratification procedures where these exist.
No act done in good faith under these rules by the committee, an officer or any other person or body will be invalidated only by reason of the subsequent discovery of a defect in, or the expiry of, their appointment.
No rule or rules of the Branch will at any time be in conflict with a rule or rules of the UCU currently in force. Changes in the rules of the UCU will, where applicable, automatically constitute changes in these rules of the Branch.
23 AMENDMENT OF RULES
These rules of the Branch may be amended by resolution of any quorate general meeting of the Branch. Proposed amendments to these rules must be handed in writing to the secretary by the end of the day that is fourteen days before the day of the general meeting at which they are to be considered. The secretary will take all reasonable steps to ensure that these proposed amendments are received by members not later than the day that is 10 days before the day on which the meeting is to be held at which they are to be considered. Amendments to these rules require the support of at least two‑thirds of the members present and voting at the general meeting at which they are considered, an abstention not being regarded as a vote for this purpose.
Alternatively these rules of the Branch may be amended by membership ballot and, in that case, the support of at least two-thirds of those members casting a valid vote in that ballot would be required. Either the committee or a quorate general meeting may decide to hold such a membership ballot.
All rules of the Branch and amendments to these rules will be subject to approval by the national executive committee of the UCU.
24 SITE ORGANISATION
Where members of a Branch are employed on more than one site, the Branch may, for the purposes of enhancing local organisation, make arrangements for the members on any site to elect appropriate site officers to perform functions agreed by resolution of the Branch. Any such arrangements and functions must be consistent with the overriding responsibilities of the Branch and its officers as set out in these rules.
Ballots conducted under these rules may be by post or in the case of electoral ballots by secure electronic means. UCU head office is able with reasonable notice to organise secure online voting for branch electoral ballots. Officers of the Branch should hold an up to date register of members’ physical and electronic contact details for these and other communication purposes. Unless specifically determined by the Branch, all other communications may be by email.
26 ORDINARY MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE
The ordinary members of the Committee shall assume specified roles or representations:
26.1 Drop-ins Coordinator
The role of the Drop-ins Coordinator is an important form of support and interaction with members. They coordinate the rota of drop-ins volunteers on a monthly basis, invite members to drop-in sessions, encourage drop-in schemes on all campuses, offer support at drop-ins on the same basis as other drop-in volunteers, and support and organise drop in volunteers.
26.2 Exeter and District Trades Union Council Rep
The Exeter and District Trades Union Council Representative is primarily tasked with
attending and reporting on Regional TUC meetings.
26.3 Heath & Safety Workload Rep
The Health & Safety Workload Representative acts as a recognised Safety Representative of the Branch and is tasked to campaign against workloads using the Health and Safety legislation and associated powers that Health and Safety Reps have.
26.4 Union Learning Rep
The Union Learning Representative offers assistance and expertise on including training and development in local collective bargaining agreements and can offer members individual advice and guidance on development issues.
26.5 Workplace Environmental Rep
The Workplace Environmental Representative campaigns to ensure wherever possible that the institution is working towards green objectives.
26.6 Colleges, Schools and Campus Reps
Up to 9 ordinary members shall be representatives on each major College/School or, if based on smaller campuses, points of contact working with relevant College/School reps, to bring issues arising to the Committee’s attention.
27 DEPARTMENTAL REPS
Each Department/Discipline/Unit/Service is requested to elect a departmental representative.
28 SUB GROUPS OF THE BRANCH
28.1 The Committee may recommend to a General Meeting the establishment of sub-groups of members. There shall normally be Sub Groups that mirror the national UCU Standing Committee equality structures and any employment specialist interest groups as it deems necessary for the effective representation of particular special interests. (For example these will include academic-related staff; staff on casualised contracts, hourly-paid and part-time staff, disabled members, black members, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members, and women members.) Such groups should meet as required and prior to the relevant national meetings.
28.2 Members in these groups may meet as they deem necessary. Notice for such meetings must be communicated in writing or by e-mail to all appropriate members at least one week in advance.
28.3 Groups may organise using such electronic means as are approved by the Committee.
28.4 A report of each meeting of a sub-group should be made to the local Committee and each group shall also make a report on its activities to the AGM. The Committee may refer matters of general interest to any General Meeting.
28.5 Sub-groups may submit motions and matters for consideration to General Meetings in accordance with procedures in 13.2.6 above. They do not have the power to determine matters of policy.
28.6 Meetings of groups shall normally be confined to members of that group with the exception of the President, the Vice-President or their alternate who shall be entitled to attend.
28.7 The General Meeting shall have the power to propose the establishment of new Sub-Groups independently of Committee or to dissolve sub-groups by virtue of a motion supported by two thirds of those members present and voting, hereafter termed a two thirds majority, at a quorate general meeting. The latter shall not apply to the Equality groups unless determined by rule changes at national level.
Date these local rules approved: 21 October 2020.
STANDING ORDERS FOR THE CONDUCT OF BUSINESS AT LOCAL GENERAL MEETINGS
The arrangements for the quorum, calling of meetings and circulation of motions to meetings are as given in the rules of the Branch.
1 Business of the meeting
In advance of the general meeting, the committee will determine the agenda and prepare recommendations as to the order in which the business is to be conducted. The committee will also decide on the duration of the meeting. The competent business of the general meeting will be the matters stated in the agenda circulated to members in accordance with the local rules.
The president will chair the meeting. In the absence of the president, the vice-president will chair the meeting, and in the absence of the vice-president, another officer of the Branch. If there are no officers present, the meeting will elect a chair.
3 Conduct of meetings
The conduct of meetings will be the responsibility of the chair. The chair will have power to lay down time limits for the discussion of items on the agenda. The chair will rule on any question under the standing orders, or on points of order or information. A challenge to a ruling by the Chair must be moved, formally seconded, there should be one speech in favour of the ruling, and then the challenge should be put to the vote without further debate. In a vote, such a challenge will require the support of two-thirds of the members present and voting at the meeting, an abstention not being regarded as a vote for this purpose.
Minutes will be kept of all general meetings. The minutes of the previous meeting having already been circulated, the chair will call for any questions regarding their accuracy. When there are no further questions the chair will declare them (as amended, if necessary) confirmed. Members will then be at liberty to raise points arising out of the minutes, except on matters appearing elsewhere on the agenda.
Voting will be by show of hands, unless the chair directs otherwise. Tellers will be appointed at the beginning of the meeting. Decisions will be taken by a simple majority of those present and voting, unless otherwise directed by these standing orders or the rules of the Branch.
All motions must be moved and seconded. Movers of motions may speak for five minutes. All other speakers may speak for a maximum of three minutes. Except at the discretion of the chair, no member will speak more than once on any motion, except that the mover of the motion will have a right to reply. Any member may formally second any proposition and reserve his or her speech until a later period in the debate.
Amendments from the floor of the meeting will be taken at the chair’s discretion. All amendments must be moved and seconded.
7 Motions to close debate
Any member of the meeting may seek to end the debate on a motion or amendment by moving THAT THE MEETING PROCEED TO NEXT BUSINESS or THAT THE QUESTION BE NOW PUT provided that there has been at least one speech each for and against the motion or amendment under discussion.
Such motions must be seconded and no speeches will be allowed on them but the vote on them must be taken straightaway. If either motion be lost, the same motion will not be moved until at least ten minutes have elapsed.
8 Effect of motions to close debate
If the motion TO PROCEED TO NEXT BUSINESS is carried, the debate will cease and no vote may be taken on the main question nor on any amendment; if it is lost, the debate will continue as if NEXT BUSINESS had not been moved.
If the motion THAT THE QUESTION BE NOW PUT is carried, the meeting will vote immediately on the proposition before it.
9 Points of order
Any member may, at any time, raise a point of order.
10 Points of information
Any member may, with the leave of the chair, raise a point of information.
11 Withdrawal of propositions
Permission to withdraw any proposition that is before the meeting may be granted by a simple majority of those present and voting at the meeting, an abstention not being regarded as a vote for this purpose.
12 Reference of motions
Any motion to refer a motion to the committee either for examination or for re‑drafting will, if seconded, rank as an amendment with precedence over any other amendment.
Any motion which is left on the agenda at the end of a meeting will be considered by the committee at their next meeting.
13 Suspension of standing orders
Any of the above standing orders will be suspended by the meeting for a specified purpose if a motion to that effect is moved, seconded and supported by two‑thirds of those present and voting, an abstention not being regarded as a vote for this purpose. Standing orders will again apply as soon as the specified issue has been concluded.
14 Alteration of standing orders
These standing orders may be altered by a resolution of a general meeting of the Branch, provided that notice of any proposed amendment is received by members not later than the day that is 14 days before the day on which that general meeting takes place. Such a resolution requires the support of two thirds of the members present and voting, an abstention not being regarded as a vote for this purpose.
15 Refer to separate guidance for online meetings
Date this Appendix approved: 21 October 2020.
GUIDANCE FOR EFFECTIVE CONDUCT OF ONLINE MEETINGS
1 Holding Online meetings
Any online meetings should only take place where the organisers can be confident that:
- the meetings will be reasonably accessible to all those entitled by rule to attend
- they can be conducted in a manner which ensures participation by all those attending
- the conferencing technology is reliable and secure and that those acting as ‘hosts’ have sufficient technical knowledge and experience to use it effectively.
2 Standing orders
In so far as possible, online meetings must be conducted in line with the union’s rules and standing orders.
As a minimum, meetings must be:
i) properly constituted: required notice periods to members of the date and time of the online meeting (with of course details of how to join the meeting) and pre-circulation of agendas and papers must be followed. Meetings should be minuted in the normal way.
ii) attendance: care should be taken to check that all participants are members entitled to attend;
iii) quorate: this means quorate at the start and throughout the meeting. The meeting administrator (see below) should keep an eye on the number of participants and alert the chair if the meeting becomes inquorate. An inquorate meeting cannot conduct any business.
Procedural motions (points of order/information, suspensions of standing orders, challenges to the chair etc.) can be extremely difficult to handle in an online meeting; they are discouraged but not entirely proscribed.
In practice, and without calling a suspension of the standing orders, the Chair can adopt times for movers of motions to speak for a maximum of three minutes and all other speakers for a maximum of two minutes.
3 Ground rules
i) The software platform and its settings should ensure accessibility and security. If members have any personal accessibility issues, meeting organisers should take reasonable steps to accommodate them, including trialling access to the platform with them in advance of the meeting.
ii) The meeting will be conducted on the assumption that all participants have read the pre-circulated material thoroughly.
iii) Members are encouraged to give notice of questions/comments in writing in advance of the meeting and by a deadline; it may be possible to deal with some of these by email before the meeting.
iv) Any corrections/amendments to previous minutes must be notified in writing in advance and will not be taken at the meeting itself; items of AOB should only be taken if similarly notified in advance and only if they are genuinely urgent and requiring a decision at a meeting (i.e. they cannot be referred to the committee or officers to deal with).
v) The chair should be free to concentrate on chairing and will need at least one person to act as ‘meeting administrator’. The meeting administrator(s) have responsibility for keeping an eye on the chat window and dealing with, for example, the order of speakers and any procedural questions posted; and for dealing with any technical problems. The meeting administrator(s) should be able to communicate directly with the chair if necessary.
vi) If possible, everyone should be given the means to join by phone as a backup measure. It may be necessary to pause meetings to give participants time to re-connect.
vii) The chair should take time at the beginning of the meeting to:
- explain the purpose and scope of each agenda item and indicate which pre-circulated papers are relevant to each item (links to the papers can be posted on the chat window in advance of the meeting);
- give timings for each item and emphasise that the meeting will end promptly at the time notified;
- describe how participants should indicate a wish to speak (e.g. by posting their name in the chat window; or by saying their name or by emailing/texting a meeting administrator if they are using an audio only link or joining the meeting by telephone);
- list those participating by audio link or telephone so that all participants are aware of them;
- emphasise the importance of one speaker at a time and explain how ‘muting’ will work;
- if votes are unavoidable, explain the method.
viii) During the meeting:
- The chair needs to remind the meeting what the current business is and what the process is for indicating a wish to speak;
- Listing the speakers’ queue regularly is helpful—it means those online are confident that they will be heard even if they have to wait a while. This will help to reduce spontaneous interventions, which are very disruptive in online meetings.
- Special care needs to be taken to ensure that audio-only and dial-in participants are not overlooked. The chair should specifically invite them to add their names to the list of speakers or to ask questions at the appropriate points in the meeting.
- Any key questions or points from the chat window should be repeated by the chair. The meeting should be assured that questions or points not taken by the chair will be looked at after the meeting and responses circulated (most software will save the contents of the chat window or it can be copied and pasted).
- Participants should be discouraged from using the chat window to start their own debates and exchanges with each other. This can make it very difficult to keep track of speaker lists and questions and can stimulate disruptive interventions by participants and distract from the agenda. Chairs may need to remind participants that at a normal meeting background chatting would not be allowed.
- Clear summing-up by the chair after each agenda item is always important but particularly so in an online meeting. Agreements on issues, endorsements of reports and so on should be clearly stated for the minutes.
ix) After the meeting:
- Minutes of online meetings should be produced and circulated to all members in the usual way;
- If the meeting has agreed to an e-ballot on an issue, this needs to be done as quickly as possible while the issues and debate are fresh in the minds of participants. Care must be taken to ensure that only those present at the meeting take part in any post-meeting votes.
- Respond to questions that could not be dealt with in the meeting by email circulation to participants (again, this needs to be done as quickly as possible);
- Review the experience of the meeting and look at ways of overcoming any problems encountered.
Date this Appendix approved: 21 October 2020.