As the AGM season ends, many members will have attended and contributed to the debate as to which motions their branch should submit to either the MoJ group or annual delegate conference in Brighton later this year. Any member can put forward a motion to their branch AGM to express their views on the direction of the union. Motions seek to change existing policies or to adopt new ones; they demonstrate what the real issues are that matter to members and directly influence what the union negotiates and campaigns for.
Once the branch AGM season has closed, the motions that have been submitted by branches are reviewed by elected standing-orders-committees who present an order paper in accordance with the union’s rules. Branches arrange for a mandating meeting to take place to which all branch members are invited. These take place outside core time and arrangements should be made for members to dial in if they cannot attend in person.
Mandating meetings are vital for the ongoing democracy of the union. They form the basis of the instructions for those who were elected at the AGM to attend our union’s conferences as to how they should vote on behalf of the branch. Delegates can be mandated to support, reject or abstain from a vote or to hear the debate and make the decision on behalf of the branch.
They are the way that individual members and branches impact on the future direction of their group and the national union. Mandating meetings should be a forum for lively debate and consideration of those motions that members either support unequivocally or reject utterly and every point between the two opposing views. Some motions will engender positive and negative responses from different members for different reasons, and sometimes the outcome of an attitude to a motion from a branch taken to conference by delegates will hinge on a single member’s contribution. By getting involved in a mandating meeting members can directly influence the future policy of our union and it is how members’ voices can be heard and amplified to form our union’s way forward as a result.
When your branch advertises your mandating meeting this year remember that by attending and debating you will be playing a direct role in leading your union. Vote, have your say and make your mandate count.