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NUS-USI Policy Explainer

What is policy?

Put simply, policy is what NUS-USI believes. Our policy is the way that students in Northern Ireland tell us what is important to them and what they want NUS-USI to take action on. Policy tells us the campaigns that we should be working on and directs the work of the NUS-USI President.

Policy creation

Creating policy is one of NUS-USI Conference’s core purposes. Students tell NUS-USI what to do, not the other way around. Policy sets out what NUS-USI thinks about the issues affecting students. Once policy has been set, the NUS-USI President uses it to create a Plan for Action with the help of staff. The Plan for Action details what NUS-USI does and how we win for students. We do all this through our democratic process. This year, that process is changing.   

The Policy Process

Developing policy should be a process in which any student can participate. Last year, NUS changed its rules, which allow us try new ways of making this a more collaborative and better-informed forum. 

1.    Submitting policy proposals (from member students’ unions)
11 February 2020 – Friday 28 February 5pm

Students’ unions are encouraged to submit policy proposals online. These should be short and written in plain language.
. Submission should be in two parts: 
•    Identifying the issue.
•    Explain the position NUS-USI should take on it and why. 

Each submission may not exceed 300 words. Policy proposals should not address what NUS-USI should do. That is a job for the newly elected NUS-USI President to develop within their Plan for Action.
Each Students’ Union can submit four policy proposals
Policies must be submitted on the NUS-USI Conference Democracy Hub, https://nususi.unioncloud.org/ - a live platform that member students’ unions can view and comment in real time.
Presidents or nominated student leaders are issued the login details to access the platform. NUS-USI encourages students’ unions and their officer teams to collaborate in this process.
The deadline to submit policy proposals is Friday 28 February 5pm

How to submit: Every students’ union president or nominated student leader will receive a login to the site. The username will be this person’s preferred email address and the password will be the students’ union’s NUS Secure Code.


2.    Commenting and preferencing policy proposals (from member students’ unions)
11 February 2020 – Friday 28 February 5pm
•    Commenting on all the policies is vital. As policies are submitted, students’ unions are encouraged to comment on each one. Comment will be used to form roundtable discussions at the conference. 
•    Students’ unions will not be able to submit a policy that is similar to a proposal that’s already been submitted. This will be moderated and determined by the NUS-USI Steering Committee. That is the purpose of comments. 
•    Students’ unions should preference the importance of policies using indicative voting. In other words, rank the policies in order of importance. This is to assist in demonstrating the level of importance from membership.

3.    Commenting and preferencing policy proposals (from Conference delegates)
Monday 2 March 12:00 to Friday 13 March 17:00

•    Commenting on all the policies is vital. All Conference delegates are encouraged to comment on each policy. Comment will be used to form roundtable discussions at the conference.  
•    Conference delegates should preference the importance of policies using indicative voting. In other words, rank the policies in order of importance. This is to assist in demonstrating the level of importance from all delegates.
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 prior to voting opening on Monday 20 January. Voting closes on Friday 31 January at 17:00.

4.    Selection of three policy areas (by Steering Committee)
Monday 16 March – Friday 20 March

Based on the preferences and comments, Steering Committee – made up of elected members of NUS-USI and NUS UK 2019/20 committees – will put forward three policy areas for discussion, debate and decision. These will be circulated to all members and Conference delegates in advance of NUS-USI Conference.

5.    Discussing and building policies
Tuesday 21 April at NUS-USI Conference
On day one of Conference, we will run a series of roundtable workshops on each of the three policy topics. The purpose of these sessions will be to deepen our collective understanding of the issues, create space to add further detail and build policies by consensus. 
NUS-USI will look to invite experts to listen and offer their expertise – not opinions – during the roundtable discussions. These experts will be selected by the Steering Committee, working with proposers, to ensure fairness and balance. A mediator will guide the discussions to be inclusive spaces for all delegates. A minute taker will record the discussions without attribution to individuals.
At the end of day one, the Steering Committee will meet to refine policies and add amendments based on the minutes recorded. Those policies will be prepared for voting on the next day.

6.    Debating and voting
Wednesday 22 April at NUS-USI Conference
On day two of Conference, delegates will come together to formally debate the policy proposals and vote on them. Delegates will hear feedback from each of the workshops, hear speeches for and against each amendment, and vote on the policies. The Steering Committee will guide delegates through the process. The passed policies will form the basis of the officer’s Plan for Action.