What is Policy?
Policy is all about what NUS believes. It sets out the way NUS UK thinks about issues facing students and the changes we want to see to tackle these issues, be they changes in legislation, different approaches to issues or changes in society.
At NUS we believe in the power of students. We believe that students coming together to deliberate and make change builds that power. Making policy is more than simply creating a set of words in a document. Our policy making spaces should be genuinely participatory and lead to action.
Students lead the work of NUS UK and through participation in democracy set our priorities. Once we have these priorities our elected student officers use this to create a Plan for Action. The Plan for Action is what details what NUS UK does and how we win for students.
The Policy Process
In 2019 students at National Conference passed the biggest set of reforms that NUS has ever seen. As a result the Democratic Procedures Committee has set a new process for submitting policy. The purpose of this is to ensure more collaboration in building policy, give more students the opportunity to contribute and to give NUS UK focus in the work it does.
Students’ Unions should be aware that this means we will be discussing less topics but the ones we do discuss we will do so in more detail. In previous years Conference has discussed over 100 policies. This year it will only be 8. Although there will be less topics there are much more opportunities for students to make amendments, comment and inform the work of NUS through discussion.
This year policy submission will be run online with the ability for members to view and comment on proposals in real time as well as voting up and down to prioritise policies. We also aim to make the process of selecting policies, grouping and arranging amendments more transparent. Our DPC will do this live on the policy submission site. Policy can be submitted by member Student Unions of NUS UK. Members and conference delegates can also submit amendments to existing policy proposals as well as voting proposals up and down.
- Submitting topics to conference
Students’ Unions are encouraged to submit topics for discussion at conference online. These should be initially discussed within your student union, this could be amongst your officer team or a wider group of students. Once you have agreed what you want to submit you can do this online using the login details sent to your President (see below for more details).
The site to submit policy on is conference.unioncloud.org
This is a live platform. That means students’ unions to can view and comment in real time.
Policies should be written in clear, plain English and be no longer than 700 words. The submission should be in two parts, identifying the issue and identifying how we think the issues should be solved. You can use themodel policy proposal as an example.
Each member can submit one proposal. In addition the FTO Executive of NUS will also submit one proposal. You should check and review the policy submission site before submitting policy. Any policy which duplicates an existing submission will be rejected by the Democratic Procedures Committee, however you will be able to submit your text as an amendment to existing policy proposals.
As policies are submitted Students’ unions are encouraged to add to policy topics via the comments sections. Comment is vital; it will be used to determine discussions in conference workshops and form the basis of amendments to the main policy proposals.
The deadline to submit policy proposals is 25 February 2020, 12pm
How to submit: When the policy submission process is opened, each SU President will receive a login to the site. This allows the President to submit policies on behalf of the Union. The username will be your President’s email address and the password will be your NUS Secure Code.
- Building policies for discussion and prioritising
Once proposals have been submitted, conference delegates will be able to select and prioritise topics for debate. Delegates can also comment on each of the motions. This will continue to form the basis of amendments to the main policy proposals and continue the dialogue on policy formation. The DPC during this time will make suggestions in the comments section for how they propose to merge amendments or how they could order debates.
During this period, delegates can vote policies up and down and this will act as a guide for the selection of topics to be discussed at conference.
The deadline for voting up/down and commenting is 11 March 2020, 12 noon
How to take part: All delegates will be able to login to the site using the preferred email address provided at registration. They will be emailed their account details after the registration deadline and before we open voting on 3 March.
- Finalised policy for discussion sent to delegates
Once this date has passed the Democratic Procedures Committee will select eight policy proposals to take forward for discussion at National Conference, based on the votes and including the priority policy from the FTO Executive. The DPC will review the comments, group amendments and ensure the flow of debate.
Once this is done the proposals will be published so that discussions can take place before conference, between delegates, within students’ unions and online. This is policy which informs the next two years’ work of NUS so we want there to be plenty of discussion and debate amongst students – not just at the conference itself.