Congress and the Democracy Comission

Last spring, Sheffield UCU passed a motion calling for a review of UCU’s democratic structures that we then submitted to Congress, UCU’s annual policy meeting. You can read more about the history of the motion here and in the delegates’ report from Congress 2018 here.

Since the motion was passed at Congress last May, the Democracy Commission has been at work, organising itself around five working groups covering a wide range of UCU’s activities. The initial report of the Democracy Commission will be presented at this year’s Congress (25th-27th May).

You can read the full interim report here, but in short, the recommendations are focused on accountability and transparency in UCU’s structures and senior roles. There are recommendations relating to the following:

    1. recall of the General Secretary
    2. delegation of some of the General Secretary’s duties to elected officers in the event of their absence
    3. changes to how members can view policy
    4. changes to how NEC members can submit papers to NEC meetings
    5. the possibility of elected deputy General Secretary roles
    6. dispute committees made up of branch delegates should be convened for all multi-institution disputes.

All of the recommendations represent changes that increase the ability of members to influence the direction and work of the union.

The interim report of the Democracy Commission will be voted on at Congress by the delegates present and we urge all members to ask their branch delegates to vote in favour of the report and the ongoing work of the Commission. Should this be accepted by Congress, there will be a further Special Congress in the autumn of 2019 to consider the final report of the Commission and we hope that branches will send representatives to that meeting.

Here at Sheffield, we held an action group to discuss this and other motions that are on the agenda for Congress, as well as the ongoing General Secretary election. We continue to do all we can to try to make UCU’s sometimes non-transparent processes clearer to members. If you have any questions about anything to do with the Democracy Commission, Congress, or the national elections held within UCU, please do get in touch.

We will be updating after Congress at our AGM on Thursday June 6th at 1pm in the Council Room at Firth Court – we look forward to seeing you there, and at our end of year party at the Showroom on Friday 14th June (book your ticket here).

SUCU Committee