1. Name, constitution, membership and finances
1.1 The name of the Branch is Northumbria University Branch of the University and College Union, subsequently referred to as the Branch.
1.2 The Branch is constituted in accordance with the current rules of the University and College Union (UCU). All actions taken by the Branch shall be consistent with the national Rules of UCU.
1.3 The aims and objects of the Branch are as set out in National Rule 2 (reprinted as Appendix 1), excluding clause 2.6 which relates to the political objects of UCU. No funds of the Branch will be used for affiliation to a political party, or for the furtherance of the union’s political objects. Guidance for branches on the law with regard to political objects is contained at Appendix 2.
1.4 Members of the Branch shall be those assigned to the Branch in accordance with national Rule 12 which is reprinted as Appendix 3. This will include all UCU members for whom Northumbria University is their principal qualifying employment.
1.5 Members who are employed at Northumbria University but who have another branch as their designated branch have the right to attend meetings of this Branch, vote on matters relating directly to their employment and in Branch elections, and stand for election as faculty/departmental representative. However, such members will not be entitled to stand in elections for officer, Congress delegate or regional committee delegate posts except in their designated branch.
1.6 Retired members whose last employment was in Northumbria University will be allocated to a regional retired members branch unless they inform UCU of their wish to retain membership of the Branch.
1.7 Each member of the Branch will pay, in accordance with procedures determined by the NEC, a subscription to UCU consisting of the current national subscription, as determined by the NEC, and any current local subscription agreed by the Branch. The local subscription will be approved by a decision of a quorate annual general meeting and published to all members.
1.8 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 National Honorary Treasurer.
1.9 Expenditure by the Branch can only be made in furtherance of the objects of the Branch as set out in rule 1.3. Appendix 4 contains examples of such appropriate spending.
2. Branch Executive and Branch Committee members
2.1 There will be an Executive Committee responsible for conducting the day-to-day business of the Branch. This committee will meet not less than once every month from September to July. 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. In the absence of such a quorum, responsibility for conducting the business is devolved to the Chair, Secretary and Vice-Chairs.
2.2 If presented with a written request signed by half of the members of the Committee, the chair must call a meeting of the Committee to take place no later than 5 working days following the day on which that written request is received.
2.3 The Executive Committee will consist of the Officers as specified below, under rule 2.7.
2.4 Any member of the Branch who is a member of the National Executive Committee of UCU but who is not otherwise an elected member of the Executive Committee shall be eligible to attend the Committee on an ex-officio non-voting basis.
2.5 The Executive Committee is the only body empowered to oversee negotiations with the institution, and may elect negotiators to this end. Negotiators may be supported by the relevant Regional Official, under circumstances determined by the General Secretary in consultation with the branch.
2.6 The Branch will have the following elected officer roles:
The recruitment and membership secretary
The equality officer
2 health and safety officers
6 assistant secretaries
2.7 These positions will be declared elected annually in the order set out above at the annual general meeting from members of the Branch in accordance with Rule 3. A description of the functions of these Officer roles is set out at Appendix 5.
2.8 The responsibilities of the Branch Executive Committee shall be:
- to act on behalf of the Branch between Branch Meetings;
- to represent members’ interests in negotiations and consultations with the Northumbria University Management, including devolved Management;
- to inform members about the national policies and national and regional activities of the union, and about the national, regional and local activities of the wider trade union movement, and to encourage support for such activities;
- to mobilise members’ support for any lawful industrial action;
- to convene Branch Meetings and Branch Committee Meetings in accordance with these Rules, and to convene meetings of members in particular faculties or departments, as appropriate;
- to give effect to any decision of a properly constituted Branch meeting;
- to assist and represent members in any aspect of University staff management procedures;
- to take collective responsibility for all the matters for which individual Branch officers are designated;
- to ensure that the Branch is represented at UCU briefing and consultative national meetings to which the Branch is entitled to send representatives;
- to deal with any matters arising out of an inquorate general meeting of the Branch, subject to endorsement by the next Branch meeting;
- to establish, support, receive reports from and if necessary dissolve any specialist or advisory groups of Branch members;
- to communicate with members about the work of the Branch and its Committees and Officers.
2.9 There shall be a Branch Committee, consisting of the Branch Executive declared elected at the Annual General Meeting together with at least one representative from each faculty, department or groups of departments as determined by the Branch Executive, in order to ensure faculty representation at the ratio of 1 for every 25 members approximately. The Branch Committee shall meet not less than once every two months, and shall have responsibility:
- to receive reports on the work of the Branch Executive Committee;
- to provide a means of communication between members and Branch Officers, in order to ensure that issues of concern are raised and progressed;
- to give advice to the Branch Executive over negotiations and consultations with University management;
- to mobilise members’ support for any lawful industrial action or other campaigns determined by the Union;
- to give effect to any decision of a properly constituted Branch meeting;
- to submit, in line with UCU and Branch policy, motions and nominations to Newcastle upon Tyne TUC and to any other organisation to which the Branch is affiliated, subject to endorsement by the next Branch meeting.
- in line with rule 3.13, to elect acting replacements for branch officers on single-semester sabbaticals.
The Branch Committee shall also have the right to agree motions to be submitted to the next Branch meeting.
Elections and ballots
3.1 Except where otherwise stated, these provisions shall apply to Officer, Congress/Sector Conference delegate and Regional Committee delegate posts.
3.2 The Executive 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. In the event that no returning officer can be found, the Branch should seek support from the Regional Office. The returning officer will send a message to all Branch members giving notice of a call for nominations with a closing date, the notice to be sent at least 14 days before that date.
3.3 All nominations will be received in writing by the returning officer by the closing date, which will be no later than the day that is 28 days before the following respective events:
i. for Branch Officers (Executive Committee), the day of the annual general meeting;
ii. for Congress/Sector Conference delegates, the final deadline for Branch submission of Congress motions;
iii. for Regional Committee delegates, the day of the Regional Committee annual general meeting.
3.4 Nominations must be accompanied by the written consent of the nominee and supported by the identifiable signatures of 2 members of the Branch. Nominees may also submit an election address of no more than 150 words, for distribution.
3.5 Conduct of elections should comply with the election guidance as used in national elections (reprinted in Appendix 6).
3.6 Retiring officers will be eligible for re-election. A member may not normally be declared elected to more than one officer position.
3.7 The term of office of any Branch Officer elected under this rule will be the period following the annual general meeting until the next AGM.
3.8 In each election, should the number of candidates not exceed the number of vacancies then these candidates will be declared elected. If there are more candidates for any officer positions than there are vacancies a ballot of the members of the Branch will be conducted in accordance with these rules.
3.9 Not later than the end of the day that is fourteen days before the date fixed for counting the ballot, ballot forms and any accompanying election addresses will be emailed or posted 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.
3.10 Executive Committee ballots will be counted in the order in which they are set out in Rule 2.6. 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 3.6, after the successful election of that candidate to a position, votes for that candidate will be disregarded in subsequent elections.
3.11 The result will be notified in writing by the Returning Officer to the secretary and candidates, and as soon as practicable by the secretary to the members of the Branch and to the General Secretary of UCU via the Regional Office.
3.12 In between annual elections, if an office is vacant, the Executive Committee is empowered to fill the vacancy temporarily, but giving notice of an election to be held in 28 days’ time, and otherwise following the provisions of rules 3.2-3.11 and 3.17 except that officers so elected will retire at the same time as if they had been duly declared elected at the last Annual General Meeting.
3.13 If, during the course of the year, any Officer is granted sabbatical leave from teaching and related duties for a single semester, then one of the following alternatives must be chosen:
a. The officer shall resign from the Branch Executive, in which case the procedure in 3.12 for filling casual vacancies shall apply; or
b. The Officer shall remain on the Branch Executive, but shall, for the period of the sabbatical, surrender facility time; in which case the Branch Committee shall have the power to elect, for the same period, an acting replacement (and any other acting replacements which this necessitates) from within the Branch Executive or Branch Committee.
3.14 For Regional Committee delegate elections, Branch members have 2 more votes than the number of delegates (N) to which the Branch is entitled according to Regional Committee Standing Orders. The N candidates receiving the highest votes will be declared elected, and the 2 candidates with the next highest votes will be declared reserve delegates who may be called upon to act as substitute if an elected delegate is unable to attend the Regional Committee.
3.15 Where an elected Congress delegate is unable to attend Congress or sector conferences, a substitute may be elected by a quorate general meeting.
3.16 Any Officer or other persons elected to represent the Branch may be removed from office by resolution at a quorate general meeting (including a quorate 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 end of the day that is fourteen days before the day of the general meeting and (b) not less than 20% of the membership are in attendance at the meeting, or, failing that, the resolution so carried is subsequently endorsed in a branch ballot to be held within 7 days after the meeting. Upon receipt of such a proposal the secretary will take all reasonable steps to ensure that the 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 and that the general secretary also be advised. Any representative so removed will be replaced by election as under rule 3.12.
3.17 Ballots conducted under these rules may be by post or by secure electronic means unless otherwise stated. Officers of the branch should hold an up to date register of members’ physical and electronic contact details for these and other communications purposes.
3.18 Trades Union Council Delegates: nominations for Newcastle Trades Union Council delegates will be received in writing by the returning officer no later than the day before the Annual General Meeting. Nominations must be accompanied by the written consent of the nominee and supported by the identifiable signatures of 2 members of the Branch. If the number of candidates to be a Trades Council delegate does not exceed the number of vacancies those candidates will be declared elected. If not, election will be by a show of hands or (as necessary) a ballot at the AGM. If Trades Council delegate vacancies remain at the AGM then the Chair may take further nominations from the floor.
3.19 Faculty or department representatives: the Branch Executive Committee shall designate Departments or groups of Departments within Faculties, in each of which there shall be one or more elected representatives on the approximate basis of 1 per 25 members. A single representative role may be shared between 2 members if they so agree. Elections should take place annually, in time to report to the AGM. Nominations will be received in writing by the secretary no later than two weeks before the Annual General Meeting. Nominations must be accompanied by the written consent of the nominee and supported by the identifiable signatures of 2 members of the Branch within the designated Department or group of Departments. Where there are more nominations than the number of representatives designated (excluding job-shares), the secretary will organise an election in time to report to the AGM.
The Branch Executive Committee shall be obliged to hold an election for Faculty/Departmental representative, upon the written request of one third of the members in the Department/group of Departments.
Conduct and calling of meetings
4.1 There will be at least three general meetings of the Branch each year, of which one will be designated as the annual general meeting and one will be designated to discuss Congress and Sector Conference business. The Regional Official shall receive notice and minutes of all Branch meetings. The General Secretary or nominee may attend all Branch meetings.
4.2 The Annual General Meeting will normally be held, by decision of the Branch Executive, between 1 pm and 3 pm on a designated Wednesday in June or early July of 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 42 working 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 14 working days before the day on which the meeting is to be held, and that the Annual Report is circulated at least 2 days in advance of the meeting. The annual general meeting will normally receive the results of elections of the officers and Branch committee members (faculty and departmental representatives). It will appoint an auditor or auditors.
The agenda of the Annual General Meeting shall be as follows:
Apologies for Absence
Minutes of the previous AGM
Membership & Recruitment Secretary
Health & Safety Officers
Regional Committee Delegates
Trades Union Council Delegates
Declaration of Results of Branch Officer Elections
Declaration of the Composition of the new Branch Committee
Election of Delegates to Newcastle upon Tyne Trades Union Council
Appointment of Auditor(s)
Any Other Business pertinent to the AGM (eg Report on Annual Congress, guest speaker - by decision of the Branch Executive Committee)
4.3 The secretary will take all reasonable steps to ensure that notice of other general meetings is received by members not later than 14 working days before the day on which the meeting is to be held. In the case of the general meeting for Congress business, the Secretary will at the same time give notice of the date and time of any repeat meeting which will be necessary if the first proves to be inquorate; confirmation of such a repeat meeting will be circulated to all members not less than 3 days before the date of the meeting.
4.4 An extraordinary general meeting of the Branch will be held either at the request of the Branch 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.
4.5 Where an issue is urgent and an emergency meeting is called by the Branch Executive, the secretary will take all reasonable steps to ensure that notice of the emergency general meeting is received by members normally not less than 3 working days before the day on which the meeting is to be held.
4.6 At all general meetings, including extraordinary general meetings, of the Branch a quorum will be one twentieth of the membership but subject to a maximum of 50 members. In any case, the quorum must be greater than the total size of the Executive Committee.
4.7 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 15 members are in attendance, except that in respect of the local finances of the branch, these 15 will not for purposes of the quorum include the Branch Treasurer or its local auditors.
4.8 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, subject to 4.9-4.13 in these rules. Motions for Branch meetings shall be received in good time(normally not less than 3 working days ahead of the meeting) to be circulated to all members before the meeting.
4.9 When a motion or amendment is moved which seeks to call for, escalate or call off industrial action a vote shall not be taken unless by the Chair’s calculation, 20% or more of the branch’s eligible membership (i.e. those employed at the institution) is present. In these circumstances the Chair shall call an e-ballot of all eligible branch members to take place as soon as practicably possible. Where required, branches should seek assistance from their Regional Office to administer the ballot. Meetings which are quorate but do not meet the 20% threshold may choose to make a recommendation to members with regard to the industrial action motion which will be circulated with any e-voting instructions, and if relevant, may approve the motion or amendment for the purpose of submission to Congress or sector conference. The outcome of this ballot shall determine the branch’s policy.
4.10 When a motion or amendment is proposed to or has been passed by a quorate general meeting, if 20% or more of the branch’s members petition for a ballot on that policy, an e-ballot of all branch members shall take place in accordance with 4.9 above, and the outcome of this ballot shall determine the Branch’s policy.
4.11 Any motion or amendment submitted by the Branch to the Congress or sector conferences of UCU or any other representative body of UCU will be circulated to all members of the Branch. Motions and amendments to Congress and the sector conferences must be approved and submitted in accordance with the Standing Orders of Congress.
4.12 Motions to Congress and the sector conferences which seek to call for, escalate or call off industrial action, or on which a ballot is petitioned for under rule 4.10, may be submitted to the relevant conference with the approval of a quorate branch meeting, or when a branch meeting called for the purpose of approving such motions is inquorate, with the approval of the Branch Executive Committee. Such motions will be subject to a ballot as described under 4.9 (unless passed at a quorate branch meeting by more than 20% of the branch membership) or 4.10 (if relevant) and should that ballot not uphold the motion, it will be withdrawn from the conference agenda by the Branch.
4.13 Amendments to Congress and the sector conferences which seek to call for, escalate or call off industrial action, or on which a ballot is petitioned for under rule 4.10, may be submitted to the relevant conference with the approval of a quorate Branch meeting or quorate Branch Executive Committee meeting. Such amendments, including those approved by a quorate Branch Executive Committee meeting, will be subject to a ballot as described under 4.9 (unless passed at a quorate Branch meeting by more than 20% of the Branch membership) or 4.10 (if relevant) and should that ballot not uphold the amendment, it will be withdrawn from the conference agenda by the Branch.
4.14 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 quorate branch meeting.
Ratification of agreements, validation and amendment of rules
5.1 Any draft agreements with the employer must be ratified in accordance with regional or national ratification procedures where these exist before being put to a general meeting and/or a branch ballot for approval and before the employer is notified of the union’s acceptance.
5.2 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.
5.3 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.
5.4 These rules of the Branch may be amended by resolution of any quorate general meeting of the Branch.
5.5 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 ten 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.
5.6 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 Executive Committee or a quorate general meeting may decide to hold such a membership ballot
5.7 All rules of the Branch and amendments to these rules will be subject to approval by the National Executive Committee of the UCU before they can be considered to be in operation.
Date these local rules approved: 12 March 2014.
Appendices: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 are UCU national documents and cannot be amended.
Appendix 1 – UCU national rule 2
2. Aims and objects
2.1 To protect and promote the professional interests of members individually and collectively, to regulate the conditions of their employment and the relations between them and their employers, and to safeguard their interests;
2.2 To promote Adult, Further and Higher Education and research;
2.3 To provide and maintain such services to members as may be approved by National Congress or the National Executive Committee from time to time;
2.4 To promote equality for all including through:
i. collective bargaining, publicity material and campaigning, representation, Union organisation and structures, education and training, organising and recruitment, the provision of all other services and benefits and all other activities;
ii. the Union's own employment practices;
2.5 To oppose actively all forms of harassment, prejudice and unfair discrimination whether on the grounds of sex, race, ethnic or national origin, religion, colour, class, caring responsibilities, marital status, sexuality, disability, age, or other status or personal characteristic;
2.6 To pursue political objects including those under the provisions of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 as set out in these Rules;
2.7 To affiliate to the Trades Union Congress and to cooperate, where appropriate, with it or any of its affiliated unions;
2.8 To affiliate to, cooperate with, make donations to or otherwise expend money on or in support of such other trade union or labour organisations, organisations for the advancement of education or other organisations in the UK or abroad which in the opinion of the National Executive Committee or Congress have the same or similar aims, objects or policies as the union.
2.9 To pursue by appropriate means approved by the National Executive Committee or Congress lawful acts of solidarity with other trade union or labour organisations, organisations for the advancement of education or other organisations in the UK or abroad which in the opinion of the National Executive Committee or Congress have the same or similar aims, objects or policies as the union.
2.10 Notwithstanding any other provision of these Rules no part of any fund of the union, or of any branch/local association, shall be used for, or with a view to, affiliation to any political party.
2.11 To do all such other things as may in the opinion of the National Executive Committee or Congress be incidental or conducive to the attainment of these objects.
Appendix 2 – use of branch funds for political objects
UCU has a political fund voted for by members every ten years. By law expenditure by the union on what are called ‘political objects’ can only be made through this political fund. Political objects – in the words of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills – “cover what can broadly be described as electoral or other party political activities.”
Branches and local associations are therefore NOT permitted to make expenditure on the following:
• on any contribution to the funds of, or on the payment of any expenses incurred directly or indirectly by, a political party;
• on the provision of any service or property for use by or on behalf of any political party;
• in connection with the registration of electors, the candidature of any person, the selection of any candidate or the holding of any ballot by a union in connection with any election to a political office (that is the office of Member of Parliament, Member of the Scottish Parliament, Member of the Welsh Assembly, Member of the European Parliament, or member of a local authority, or any position within a political party);
• on the maintenance of any holder of a political office (as defined above);
• on the holding of any conference or meeting by or on behalf of a political party or of any other meeting the main purpose of which is the transaction of business in connection with a political party (including any expenditure incurred in connection with the attendance of delegates or other participants); or
• on the production, publication or distribution of any literature, document, film, sound recording or advertisement the main purpose of which is to persuade people to vote or not to vote for a political party or candidate.
Branches and local associations should consult UCU Head Office for further information.
Appendix 3 – UCU national rule 12
12. Organisation of members
12.1 Every member shall be assigned by the General Secretary to a branch/local association or, as appropriate, to a central group, where possible on the basis of principal current qualifying employment, but otherwise on the basis of Standing Orders or individual decisions of the National Executive Committee that take account of the Sector and location of the actual employment (if any) and/or past or prospective employment of the member in question.
12.2 Members working in more than one institution may belong to and attend meetings of more than one branch/local association and vote on matters concerned with their employment but shall be entitled to stand for office and vote in national elections only in their designated branch/local association/central group.
12.2.1 Members belonging to an agency workers branch set up under rule 12.5.1 may belong to and attend meetings of more than one branch/local association and vote on matters concerned with their employment but shall be entitled to stand for office and vote in national elections only in their designated branch/local association/central group.
12.3 Members who have left qualifying employment before retirement and who remain in membership shall belong to a central group, unless the member chooses to belong to their former branch/local association instead.
12.4 Members who are retired shall belong to a regional retired members’ branch or to a branch/local association local to them, unless the member chooses to belong to their former branch/local association instead. On retirement all members will be contacted by HQ to ascertain their chosen branch/local association.
12.5 Retired members assigned to a retired members’ branch may attend meetings of their former local association/branch, and retired members assigned to a workplace local association/branch may attend meetings of a regional retired members’ branch, but in either case they may hold office and vote in national elections only in their assigned branch/local association.
12.6 The National Executive Committee may establish a branch/local association at its own volition or in response to a written request to the General Secretary by not less than 20 members working for the same employer. Retired members’ branches shall be established to reflect the regional committee structure, and organisation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, that is current within the union. Branches/local associations shall adopt their own Rules which shall be consistent with the Rules of the Union and with any guidance issued by the National Executive Committee.
12.6.1 The National Executive Committee may establish a branch/local association at its own volition or in response to a written request to the General Secretary by not less than 20 members working through an agency contract. Members in such a branch may designate the agency workers branch as their designated branch or may choose a branch of one of the institutions in which they work as their designated branch.
12.6.2 Branches and local associations shall have the right and responsibility:
i. to submit motions and amendments to Annual Congress and the appropriate Sector Conference, in line with rules 16.6.1-16.6.3;
ii. to elect delegates to Annual Congress and the appropriate Sector Conference, in line with Rule 17.2;
iii. to make representation on any matter of UCU business to the NEC or the appropriate Sector Committee and to receive a timely reply;
iv. to elect representatives, and submit motions, to the UCU Regional Committee, to UCU Scotland or to the Wales or Northern Ireland Councils of UCU, as appropriate;
v. to affiliate to local trade union councils within the area where the members of the branch/local association live or work.
12.7 National Congress shall, from time to time, by resolution, determine Sectors, which shall include Further Education and Higher Education Sectors. Each branch/local association (and thereby its members) shall be assigned to one of the Sectors of the Association by the National Executive Committee according to criteria determined by National Congress, except for retired members’ branches, which are not sectoral.
12.8 In these Rules, the terms “branch” or “local association” carry equal weight and any branch or local association may opt to use the title of their choice on notification to the General Secretary in writing.
12.9 The National Executive Committee may make provision by Standing Order for liaison between branches/local associations in the same institution.
Appendix 4 – appropriate spending by branches and local associations
The local rules state that “expenditure by the Branch/LA can only be made in furtherance of the objects of the Branch/LA as set out in Model Local Rule 1.”
Local rule 1 states that the “objects of the Branch/LA are as set out in National Rule 2 excluding clause 2.6 which relates to the political objects of UCU. No funds of the Branch/LA will be used for affiliation to a political party, or for the furtherance of the union’s political objects.”
National rule 2 is reprinted in full as Appendix 1.
With these caveats, it is for members to determine what appropriate expenditure by their branch and local association is. However, it is helpful to consider types of spending which are appropriate under the local rules. For example:
• Spending on such areas as meeting room hire, refreshments, internal elections, authorised expenses of elected officers or others would ordinarily be considered to be appropriate
• Spending on affiliations would ordinarily be considered appropriate subject to two caveats – first that such spending is not on ‘political objects’ (see Appendix 4), and second that such spending is consistent with the aims and objectives of national UCU (see Appendix 1).
This means, for example, that a branch could not use funds to hold a rally encouraging support or non-support for a candidate for political office or a political party.
It also means, for example, that a branch affiliation to the local League for the Protection for Cats is unlikely to fall within the union’s aims and objects, whereas an affiliation to a local education campaign would do so.
Within these parameters it is for quorate branch and local associations or for the elected Committee where delegated to make decisions on what available money should be spent on. In all cases branch and local association officers should keep transparent records of expenditure and be prepared to account for such spending to members.
Appendix 5 – description of officer and faculty/department representative roles:
All Branch Officers shall have a general duty to attend Branch Executive Committee and Branch Committee meetings and to take responsibility for some individual case work. They should be available to attend meetings with devolved management in their own faculty. In accordance with normal practice, the Chair, Secretary and Vice-Chairs shall consult (including with other Executive Committee members) in order to take any action on behalf of the Branch which is both urgent and necessary. Such action must be reported for approval to the next Executive Committee/Branch meeting, whichever is earliest.
The chair will chair all general meetings and all committee meetings of the Branch and perform such other duties as are laid upon the chair by any rule or are decided by the committee. In the absence of the chair these duties will be performed by one of the vice-chairs, failing which another officer as the committee decides. The Chair shall preside at all Executive Committee, Branch Committee and Branch meetings, shall play a lead role in negotiation and consultation with the University Management, and shall have the responsibility to report on such discussions to Executive Committee, Committee and Branch Meetings.
The duties of the Vice-chairs are to deputise for the Chair as necessary, to represent the Branch in negotiation and consultation with the University Management; and to perform such other duties as are decided by the Executive Committee. In the absence of both Vice-chairs, their duties shall be performed by other officers as the Executive Committee decides.
The duties of the Secretary are to call Executive Committee, Branch Committee and Branch meetings; to draw up, in consultation with the Chair and Vice-chairs, the agenda for such meetings; to ensure that minutes of those meetings are kept; to organise membership circulations as the Executive Committee, Branch Committee or Branch deems necessary; to arrange notification of local election and ballot results to all members; to represent the Branch in negotiations with the University Management; and to perform such other duties as are laid on the Secretary by any rule or are decided by the Executive Committee. In the absence of the Secretary, the Secretary's duties shall be performed by another officer as the Executive 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.
Membership and Recruitment Secretary
The Membership/Recruitment Secretary will be responsible for the development and implementation, along with a recruitment team, of an annual recruitment plan, and for keeping any membership records that are necessary at local level. He/she will ensure that all members are covered by a Faculty or Departmental Representative and liaise with those Representatives to ensure that all records are up to date. 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. In the absence of the Membership Secretary, these duties will be performed by another officer as the committee decides.
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/LA 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.
Health and Safety Officers
The Health & Safety Officers shall:
a) represent members in discussions with the University management on health, safety or welfare issues and in discussions with HSE or other enforcing authorities;
b) ensure that they are consulted ‘in good time’ over a large range of health and safety issues;
c) be involved with risk assessment procedures;
d) attend University Safety Committee meetings;
e) ensure that they have access to relevant health and safety information in the University;
f) inspect the workplace, as required;
g) investigate potential hazards;
h) investigate notifiable accidents, cases of diseases or ill health, and dangerous occurrences;
i) investigate members' health and safety complaints;
j) receive information from health and safety inspectors.
In the absence of the Health & Safety Officers, these duties will be performed by another officer or officers as the Executive Committee decides.
Assistant Secretary responsibilities are set out under the general duties of Executive Committee members above.
The responsibilities of the Faculty/Departmental Representative are:
a) to circulate, to members, information from the Branch Executive Committee, including forwarded national and regional UCU notices and information from the wider trade union movement;
b) to pass on members’ concerns to the Branch Executive Committee;
c) to act as a first point of advice for members over any aspect of University staff management procedures;
d) to assist the Branch Membership Secretary with recruitment;
e) to attend Branch Committee meetings on behalf of the members in the Faculty/Department (where the role is shared, only one of the sharers is allowed to vote).
f) to take part in scheduled meetings between UCU and Faculty management.
Appendix 6: NEC elections – guidance (local rule 3.5)
Note: this guidance may change from time to time by decision of the NEC. To check the up-to-date guidance, go to www.ucu.org.uk/elections, or contact a member of the Constitution and Committees team at UCU head office.
Officer and NEC Elections 2016:Guidance Notes
1 Candidates are asked to take note of the Union's wish that their campaign materials and comments, although vigorous and critical, will not be gratuitously offensive, abusive or defamatory, nor refer in a derogatory way to the race, religion, sexual orientation, age or other personal characteristic of candidates.
2 It is expected that particular care will be taken not to make any such remarks about members of UCU staff who may not be in a position to reply.
3 Candidates are encouraged to campaign through the positive promotion of their candidacy, rather than through negative campaigning about other candidates.
4 Points 1, 2 and 3 do not in any way infringe the right of a candidate to write an election address with the content they wish, recognising that all liability for ALL remarks in a candidate's election address rests with the candidate and not the Union.
5 The Union will distribute election addresses of candidates as part of the ballot material for any ballots held. The Union will make available on its website the election addresses of candidates.
6 Other than the specific provision made in paragraph 5 above, candidates are not permitted the use of UCU funds or resources for the purposes of campaigning. Except as permitted by UCU, use by candidates of sensitive personal data held by UCU or any of its officials and/or officers (elected or paid) is not permitted under any circumstances. Breach of either of these clauses by a candidate may result in exclusion from the ballot.
7 Email lists which are held by UCU's head offices and regional offices are a resource of the union and cannot be used for campaigning by NEC candidates. Candidates must not approach UCU staff in relation to campaigning in NEC elections. Candidates should not use member email discussion lists administered by UCU (such as the activists' list) for NEC election campaigning. Candidates may have in their possession email lists based on their personal contacts. Such email lists are a matter for the individual.
8 The use of email lists held by branches, for contacting all branch members, is a matter for branches. Use of them (or not) for election campaigning must be a decision of the branch, not of an individual who has access to such a list because of their role within the branch.
A branch may wish to promote a particular candidate, and it can do so. However, the NEC recommends and encourages branches to circulate information about all candidates standing in any one election. This allows members, as voters, to make better informed decisions, and reduces the likelihood of complaints (whether justified or unjustified) or accusations of unfairness.
The language of any communication should be measured. Any opinions expressed about candidates and their suitability for election should be fair and grounded in fact.
Branches should note that they are liable for any defamatory statements made about candidates in their communications. Branches should deal with any emails relating to NEC elections in the usual way that they administer emails to members, and must not release contact details of members, including email lists, directly to candidates.
9 The principles of 7 and 8 apply equally to any circulations made in hard copy by the branch, such as local newsletters.