This section outlines how members can get involved in shaping the priorities and activities of NUS each year at National Conference.
Inside NUS, there are five policy zones covering five main broad areas of issues affecting students: Welfare; Further Education (FE); Higher Education (HE); Union Development; and Society and Citizenship.
Zone Conferences are held in late October and feature a mixture of educational sessions, panel debates and workshops for elected Students’ Union officers and representatives to participate in. The informal outcomes of Zone Conferences are deliberated further at Policy Development Convention made up of the Zone committees and NEC members. The recommendations are then compiled and to be presented to National Conference as policy proposals for approval.
The policy recommendations will be circulated to each union in January 2016 in good time before National Conference.
At that stage Unions may suggest amendments to the Policy proposals presented in each Zone Report by sending them into NUS. These will be compiled by the DPC and debated at the National Conference. If unions want to submit text that is not an amendment or addition to a Zone recommendation this is an motion.
Unions are able to propose motions on issues that are not covered in the Zone Report Policy proposals. Before submitting policy to National Conference, it is recommended that you find out if NUS already has policy in this area.
Unions have a word limit of 1400 for all their motions and amendments. Once the submission deadline has passed the Democratic Procedures Committee will take each submission of text and first determine if the text or sections of it represent an amendment to the Policy proposals of any of the Zone reports. In this event it will bring them together or “composite” them where appropriate and list these as proposed amendments to the Policy Recommendations to be debated separately. All other text will become composite motions under the appropriate Zone.
Once composited, Democratic Procedures Committee will circulate the Zone Policy Recommendation Reports and motions documents to all unions in good time before National Conference.
For example: Your Union wants some text on apprentices and a second piece of text on provision of IT for postgraduates. The FE zone committee has recommended policy on apprentices, but there are no submissions from zones on IT. Your EMA text becomes an amendment and the IT text is an ordinary motion.
Each zone will have a set amount of time to debate the policy recommendations, amendments and ordinary motions submitted within it. Times can be extended for a specific area, but this will cut time to debate other zones. The order that both zones and the order in which ordinary motions are discussed within that zone is decided by a ballot of registered delegates before conference. Note that it is usual for more policy to be submitted than conference has time to discuss, so the priority ballot is an important process to be part of.
Each Liberation Campaign, Student Section Campaign and Nation has its own conference, where policy relating to the students in those campaigns is debated and agreed. The process of passing policy at each conference differs between campaigns.
Every year the policy of each liberation, student section and nation is presented to National Conference for adoption. Delegates to National Conference are not permitted to propose amendments. Once adopted, the policy of each of these campaigns becomes the policy of National Union of Students.