CUCU Branch meetings – guidance for members

Branch meeting guidelines

Agreed by the CUCU Executive Committee, 27 Feb 2024

These guidelines are based on our branch rules and on the UCU national code of conduct. We have also pasted the relevant section of our branch rules at the end of this document.

  1. How the meeting is run: subject to the branch rules, the Chair is in charge of making all decisions about process during the meeting. In an online meeting, one or two fellow Exec members will monitor the chat and raise any written points of order in the chat with the Chair. These Exec members will also help to ensure that the code of conduct, discussed below, is followed.
  2. According to our rules, the proposers may speak for up to 5 minutes, and all other members, including seconder may speak for 3 minutes. The seconder may speak at any point during the debate. The chair may modify these time limits but will do so equally for those speaking for/against a motion.
  3. Members should raise their hand if they want to speak, and wait until recognised by the chair before doing so.
  4. All remarks must be made to/through the chair, and not directly to another member.
  5. When a vote is called on a motion, members may vote For, Against or Abstain. Motions carry/fall based on a simple majority.
    1. In online meetings, members must display their names in order for their votes to be counted and for quoracy of members to be established.
  6. Conduct: Members should be respectful of others and their views, in line with UCU’s Code of Conduct. Here is the link to the full document. Below we’ve written a slightly adapted code of conduct for our branch:
    1. Members will want to make their points as strongly as they can. However, members are advised:
      1. It is not necessary to shout.
      2. Address the issue, not the individual – avoid personalised remarks, avoid unsubstantiated allegations about others and avoid communicating information about others which they would normally regard as private.
      3. Do not make derogatory, libellous or defamatory, or inflammatory comments.
      4. Do not use ageist, ableist, homophobic, racist, sexist or transphobic language.
      5. Do not interrupt other speakers (except to make a point of order, see point 7 below).
    2. In the event that any of these occur, the Chair may ask the member to withdraw the remarks. The Chair may also ask that the member apologise to the Branch Meeting and the individual(s) concerned. If the member refuses to do this, or persists thereafter, the Chair may ask that member (or members) to leave the Branch Meeting. Such is also the case if the chair rules that a member deliberately or repeatedly has disrupted the meeting proceedings.
  7. Points of order: You can make a point of order to the chair at any time to ask the chair to make a ruling on any aspect of the meeting and how it relates to the rules. The chair may rule that the intervention is out of order.
  8. Amendments: ideally please submit in advance of the meeting, or tell the chair before the meeting begins. If possible submit your proposed amendments to in advance of the meeting. If you haven’t submitted your amendment in advance, if possible please tell the chair before the start of the meeting that you will propose an amendment so they can factor in the time needed to discuss it. You can propose an amendment during the debate and normally the chair will allow that, but the chair can refuse to accept amendments and might do so, especially if they think there is not sufficient time to discuss all the items on the agenda.


Excerpt from Cambridge UCU branch rules, pages 11-14. The branch rules can be downloaded here

Appendix 1


The arrangements for the quorum, calling of meetings and circulation of motions to meetings are as given in the rules of the Branch/LA.

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.

2  Chairing

The chair/president will chair the meeting. In the absence of the chair/president, a vice chair/vice-president will chair the meeting, and in the absence of a vice chair/vice-president, another officer of the Branch/LA. 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.

4  Minutes

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.

5  Voting

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/LA.

6  Motions

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/LA, 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.