Branch standing orders
The branch's long-standing Standing Orders are a (possibly over-detailed) guide to how we should conduct meetings. Even so, they leave out a number of things that one day we should specify (though briefly), such as where do agendas come from and who should buy the sandwiches
1. The quorum for a branch meeting shall be 5, except for votes on financial motions that benefit non-NUJ organisations, when the quorum is 8. Furthermore, any financial motion that benefits an organisation other than the NUJ needs a two-thirds majority to pass.
2. The agenda shall be read aloud by the chair at the opening of the meeting.
3. The secretary shall read the minutes of the previous meeting but no discussion shall be allowed except on a challenge to their accuracy. When the minutes have been signed questions may be asked for information.
4. The first motion on any subject shall be the original motion and succeeding propositions on that subject taken as amendments. An original motion that has been amended shall become the substantive motion, and shall be open to further amendment. Procedural motions (see S.0.12) shall be treated as amendments, but shall take precedence over other amendments.
5. The mover of an original motion shall have the right of reply to the debate on that motion, or if an amendment is discussed to the debate on the first amendment to his/her motion, unless the debate is terminated by carrying "Next business" (see SO. 12). If he/she replies, the chair shall take the vote immediately after his/her speech without further discussion or question.
Note: Motions for a delegate meeting agenda. When a branch is considering whether to send any notice of motion for a delegate meeting agenda, a proposal by a member of the branch to put down an amendment to a union rule shall be treated as an original motion. Similarly, when the branch is considering the preliminary agenda of a delegate meeting, a proposal to put down an amendment to a notice of motion on that agenda shall be treated as an original motion.
6. The seconder of a motion or an amendment may second formally and reserve his/her speech until later in the debate.
7. The chair shall not accept more than one amendment at a time to any original or substantive motion, but after any amendment has been moved and seconded and before it has been put to the vote, he/she may accept notice of a further amendment. Nevertheless a procedural motion (see SO 12) may be moved during any debate and if it is accepted that debate shall be suspended for consideration of the procedural motion.
8. When an amendment to an original motion has been carried, the resulting substantive motion shall be put to the meeting unless a further amendment, of which notice has been given, is carried; and in every case (except when "Next business" has been carried) the substantive motion in its final form shall be put to the vote before the meeting proceeds to the next business.
9. No original motion or amendment which has been moved and seconded shall be withdrawn, nor shall any words be added to or deleted from it, without the consent of the meeting, and if the meeting consents to any modification the chair shall formally announce the motion in its modified form.
10. The chair shall not accept any motion or amendment that contravenes SO 11. Nor shall he/she accept a motion or amendment that repeats the substance of a proposition previously voted on by the meeting.
11. No motion to rescind a resolution of the branch shall be accepted unless a notice of rescission, stating the terms of the resolution proposed to be rescinded, has been circulated to members with the notice calling the meeting at which the motion to rescind is to be voted upon.
12. A debate may be brought to an end by a motion:
(a) That the vote be now taken (the vote)
(b) That the meeting proceed to next business (the next business);
(c) That the discussion or the meeting be adjourned (the adjournment).
No member who has already spoken on the motion or amendment under debate may move any of these motions. The motion to adjourn must state the period of the adjournment. To end the debate without committing the meeting to a decision for or against the proposition a member must move "Next business". The chair shall not accept any of these motions if in his/her opinion the effect of carrying it would be unfair. If the chair accepts "The vote" and it is seconded, he/she shall put it to the meeting without debate. If it is carried, he/she shall put the motion under discussion to the vote without further debate unless the mover of the original motion is still entitled to reply. If the chair accepts "The next business" and it is seconded, he/she shall put it to the meeting without debate. If it is carried, the original motion, together with any amendments that have been carried, shall be of no effect, and the meeting shall proceed to the next item on the agenda. If the chair accepts "The adjournment", and it is formally seconded, he/she may allow one speech for and one against. If it is carried, the debate shall be resumed as it stood at the adjournment, and the chair or the secretary shall then remind the meeting of the terms of the original motion and of any amendments that have been discussed. The motion known as "The previous question" shall not be accepted at any branch meeting.
13. Speakers shall address the chair. Any member called to order by the chair shall resume his/her seat.
14. Any member wishing to raise a point of order shall rise and address the chair. If another member is speaking he/she shall immediately give way and await the chair's ruling. No member shall raise a point of order for the purpose of controverting any speaker or making a speech himself/herself. A point of explanation is not a point of order, but if the chair believes that a brief examination will help the conduct of business, he/she may permit it.
15. The chair's ruling on a question of order or procedure shall be final unless challenged by three members. In that case the secretary shall immediately put the motion: "That the chair's ruling be upheld." He/she shall declare this motion carried unless the number of those who vote against it is at least double the number of those who vote for it.
16. Except as specified in the rules, voting shall be by a show of hands unless a motion to take a ballot on a motion or election is moved and carried before the vote on that motion or election is taken. Only persons entitled under the rules shall vote.
17. Any standing order may be suspended upon the motion of a member duly seconded if the number of those voting for is at least twice the number of those voting against. Standing orders shall come into force again automatically after the vote has been taken on the business for the conduct of which they were suspended.
18. These standing orders shall be amended only at the annual meeting of the branch and after the terms of any proposed amendment have been duly circulated by the branch secretary with the notice of the meeting.
19. Lists the posts on the branch committee. It is a quite lengthy document in its own right.
20. The branch committee of branch officers has authority to act for the branch in an emergency, provided it does not amend or rescind a previous decision of the branch.
21. The branch committee of branch officers shall meet as often as required, but should aim to meet monthly at a regular time and place. The quorum is three elected officers of the branch. The committee's meetings will generally be open to any interested member, and the committee may co-opt members of the branch as it decides, but these members will not count towards the quorum.