London Freelance Branch Standing Orders
Standing Orders are the rules by which we conduct our meetings and business.
The London Freelance Branch of the NUJ shall meet at least once a month except in August of each year when the Committee shall be empowered to transact all Branch business. Meetings shall be held wherever possible on the second Monday of each month, but alternative arrangements may be made by Branch Officers. The January meeting shall be preceded by the Annual General Meeting.
The Secretary shall present minutes of the Annual General Meeting to the next Branch meeting held in a following month in the normal venue forits determination that they are as full and true record of decisions.
Branch meetings shall not exceed two hours unless a motion extending the meeting is passed. No meeting shall be extended to last more than two and half hours. The meeting shall agree on the order of the agenda.
Meetings shall be conducted in accordance with Rule 7 of the Union's Rules.
The provisions of Rule 7, "Branch organisation", include:
h) Not fewer than seven days' notice shall be given to members in the case of ordinary meetings, and in the case of special meetings reasonable notice shall be given, including notice of the matter to be discussed.
n) A branch shall use its management fund for union purposes and to make contributions in memory of a deceased member. Any balance remaining may be used for purposes connected with journalism or trade unionism or, with the NEC's permission, for local charitable purposes. Notice of such proposal shall be given on the summons convening the meeting.
No business shall be conducted at a meeting unless a quorum of 15 members are present.
Special meetings may be called by the Branch Committee, or in an emergency by the Chairperson, or at the written request of at least 25 members that are entitled to vote.
The Branch shall elect each year at the AGM the following: Chairperson, Vice Chair, Secretary, Membership Secretary, Treasurer, Welfare Officer, Equality Officer, Negotiations Officer and Editor, hereinafter known as Branch Officers. Also the AGM shall elect seven further Committee members, who with Branch Officers shall form the Branch Committee. Seats that become vacant during the year shall be filled by advertising the vacancy in the "Freelance".
(a) The Branch delegation to the Annual Delegate Meeting shall be elected at the AGM, and to the Special Delegate Meeting at the earliest appropriate Branch meeting. The Chairperson shall be an ex-officio member of the delegation. Remaining delegates shall be elected on a simple total of votes cast by members at the AGM.
(b) Any vacancies arising in the delegation after the Branch meeting immediately proceeding the delegate meeting shall be filled in order, by the unsuccessful candidates in the delegation election.
(c) The branch delegation shall meet prior to a delegate meeting to elect a delegation secretary.
(d) The Branch Chair shall also chair the delegation, and shall convene such meetings of delegates as are required to give full consideration to the ADM agenda. Voting on all questions shall be by a simple majority.
(e) The delegation secretary shall take a minute of all meetings and prepare a full report on the work of the delegation for presentation to the Branch meeting immediately following ADM and for publication in the Freelance.
(f) The delegation shall vote, and may speak on the motions at ADM according to the mandate given by the Branch and shall vote for all candidates nominated for office by the Branch.
(g) Where the Branch has not taken a position on any motion or has not nominated for office in any particular election, the delegation shall itself decide how to vote and speak. This will, as far as possible, be in line with settled Branch policy.
(h) Where the delegation agrees, by a majority vote if necessary, to support a certain position or a certain candidate for office, delegates may speak and all the branch's votes shall be cast according to the majority view.
(i) Where the delegation is faced with any question upon which it has not agreed a policy, or where it is not working to a branch mandate, the delegates shall be free to vote according to individual preference. When a free vote applies delegates shall be free to speak with the consent of a majority of the delegation.
(j) [There is no Rule 7(j)]
(k) The Officers of the delegation shall call an immediate meeting of the delegation upon receipt of a request to do so by half the delegates.
The Chairperson shall preside at all meetings and the Vice-Chairperson shall preside in his/her absence. Should neither be present a Chairperson shall be specially elected for the meeting. The Chairperson shall be entitled to vote as an individual member and may also, as Chairperson, give a casting vote if the number of votes for and against a motion is equal.
Annual reports by the Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer shall be circulated prior to the AGM.
Reports for the Journalist shall be submitted by the editor.
Official statements on behalf of the Branch for media generally shall be issued only by the Chairperson or Secretary or as authorised by the Branch Committee. There shall otherwise be no restriction on members' rights to comment on Branch business. Members should however bear in mind the provision of the Union's Rule on Discipline [currently Rule 24(f)iii concerning unauthorised disclosure of confidential Union or Branch Business, but no business shall be deemed confidential unless the Chairperson so rules. In anything members may publish on Branch or Union affairs they shall not imply that they are giving anything but their own individual views.
The Committee shall meet at least monthly (though it may vote not to meet in August or in December). Five members shall form a quorum.
Committee members absenting themselves without apology from three consecutive Committee meetings, for whatever reason, shall be deemed to have resigned.
No motion shall be moved at any Branch meeting unless it has been submitted in writing and received by the Branch before the start of the Branch meeting.
Money motions shall not be considered unless published at www.londonfreelance.org/lfb/meetings.html#motions not less than one week before the meeting at which they are to be debated. All those members for whom the Branch holds a working email address shall be re-notified of the meeting and reminded of any such motions by email not less than one week before the meeting.
Proposed amendments to Standing Orders shall be made only at the Branch's AGM.
Standing Orders relating the conduct of meetings may be suspended by a vote of two-thirds of those present and entitled to vote, except for standing orders 4 and 14, which shall not be suspended in any circumstances. Standing Orders shall come into force again after the vote has been taken on the business for which they were suspended.
Notices of Branch meeting dates shall be published in the Freelance.
After three consecutive years in office the Chairperson shall not be eligible for re-election for the following two years.
At any Branch meeting if not less than five members request a break of 15 minutes, it shall be put to the vote. If the meeting votes in favour of a break, the chairperson shall announce this interval at the first opportunity.
Candidates standing as branch officers or for the Branch Committee shall be allowed to address the Branch meeting prior to the election for a maximum of two minutes, and questions may then be asked of the candidate.
All correspondence should be addressed to:
c/o Headland House,
72 Acton Street,
London WC1X 9NB .
These are the Standing Orders as amended at the Annual General Meeting in January 2017.