Standing Orders Committee report

Standing Orders Committee Report No. 2

 

  • Code of conduct for Lefty Unity National Conference

Refer to Standing Orders Committee:

  1. for advice on standing orders including procedural motions and in case of complaints
  2. for questions relating to order of debate

Furthermore, SOC recommends that conference attendees:

  1. should respect authority of the chair during session
  2. should ensure that debate and discussion should be respectful (for further information on this see Standing Order no. 7, Appendix 1 herein)
  3. should refer to Conference Arrangements Committee for logistics and access issues
  4. in the event that due to access and time restrictions motions need to be referred to other bodies SOC will advise.

 

  • Conference Standing Orders

Article 20 (d) of the Party Constitution requires the SOC to maintain a set of Procedures and Standing Orders for conducting the business of National Conference that may be amended from time to time by National Conference. These are attached as Appendix 1.

The SOC is proposing one revision to the Standing Orders which applied at the 2016 Conference. This is to add the sentence, “The SOC shall have the right to reply to any challenges made to its recommendations before Conference votes upon ratification”, at the end of Standing Order 5.3.

In approving this report, Conference is invited to adopt the revised Standing Orders.

  • Report of work of the Standing Orders Committee (SOC)

We considered all standard motions that were received by 23:59 on Friday 31 March, and all amendments that were received by 23:59 on Friday 5 May.

In addition, we will consider all motions relating to the outcome of the UK general electionthat are received by 23:59 on Wednesday 14 June, and all amendments to these motions received by 23:59 on Wednesday 21 June.

SOC Report no. 1, containing a preliminary list of motions and reports received was published on the Party website on 12 April.

An interim list of motions and amendments, covering all items except motions relating to the outcome of the UK general election, has been published, accompanying this SOC Report no. 2, on the Party website on 14 May.

A final motions and amendments booklet will be published on the Party website at http://leftunity.org/motions-for-left-unity-conference/by 23 June. Printed copies of the latter will be available at Conference.

A small number of motions and amendments were disallowed by the SOC. These are listed in the final motions and amendments booklet. This means that the SOC is recommending to Conference that these items not be admitted to the agenda. Brief reasons for disallowance are recorded in the final motions and amendments booklet and are elaborated upon in the disallowed motions and amendments section below. Proposers of disallowed items may want to challenge the SOC’s decisions. If any such challenge is upheld by Conference, the SOC will advise on where in the agenda plan the reinstated items should be placed.

The majority of motions submitted covered distinct topics, and were not suitable for compositing. Motions and amendments were grouped by subject and listed within the final motions and amendments booklet in the order in which the SOC recommends that they should be considered (standing order 5.2.4.2 refers).

All branches were invited to participate in a priorities ballot this year to determine the ordering of motions for Conference. We were however, unable to take guidance from the ballot returns as we received only one response thereto. SOC has therefore used its own judgment in determining priority order of motions within each of the broad subject sections.

The SOC considers that two motions in the preliminary list of motions and reports qualify for grouped debate and sequential voting, in accordance with the criteria set out in Standing Order 17.1, “that separate debates on specified motions and/or amendments dealing with the same subject matter would lead to undue repetition in the debates, or to unfair advantage for a motion over other motions”. Details are given in section 6 of this report ‘Composites and Grouped Debates’.

Conference of course controls its own agenda and may, when it receives the SOC report at the beginning of Conference, amend the ordering that has been devised by the SOC.

SOC has been under-staffed for the second year in a row this year. Only two comrades stood for election to the ten positions on the committee and, although both have been able to work on preparation of the conference agenda, there were some delays in responding to queries from comrades, as well as addressing amendments and composites. This may also have led to a small number of errors and omissions. We apologise for any such issues and encourage anyone who would be willing to contribute to the SOC to stand in the next election.

In approving this report, Conference is invited to approve the work done by the SOC in dealing with the agenda items.

 

  • Disallowed motions and amendments

SOC has disallowed two motions.

A motion from Steve Freeman and Julie Morrow on an alliance between RISE and Left Unity was disallowed because the wording of the motion contained no proposals to put to Conference and also implied that policies would be defined for another organisation in addition to Left Unity. A Left Unity Conference cannot determine policy for another organisation.

A second motion from Steve Freeman was ruled out of order because it was not a motion but a proposal to amend a motion referred from 2016 Conference. As such it had been submitted prematurely.

 

  • Composites and Grouped Debates

SOC recommends grouped debate, utilising the procedure set out in Standing Order 17.2, for two motions which were numbered 1, ‘Left Unity after Brexit’ and 20, ‘Party name’ respectively, in the preliminary list of motions and reports received (numbers A1 and A2 respectively in the interim list of motions and amendmentsand the amendments to those two motions, A1a, A1b and A2a respectively).

SOC’s recommendationis that, at the conclusion of the grouped debate:

  1. a) The proposer of motion A1 has the right to reply to amendment A1a following which that amendment shall be voted on. Then likewise for amendment A1b.If amendment A1a passes then points b), c), d) and e)of this report, below,are no longer applicable. If amendment A1a falls, then Conference proceeds as below. Amendment A1b will have no effect on SOC’s recommendation for a grouped debate, whether it passes or falls.
  2. b) The proposer of motion A1 then has their final right of reply to the debate, following which voting shall take place on motion A1, with the exception of the clause ‘We propose: (2)’.
  3. c) The proposer of motion A2 has the right to reply to amendment A2a following which that amendment shall be voted on. Amendment A2a will have no effect on SOC’s recommendation for a grouped debate, whether it passes or falls.
  4. d) The proposer of motion A2 then has their final right of reply to the debate.
  5. e) Single exclusive voting, under Standing Order 17.2.2, will then take place on clause ‘We propose: (2)’of motion A1, and motion A2.

 

  • Withdrawals
  1. Motions referred from 2016 Conference

A motion from South London branch entitled “Rebuilding LU”, which was referred from 2016 Conference, has been withdrawnat the request of the branch. This was replaced with a newly submitted motion (No. A3, “The Future of Left Unity” in the interim list of motions and amendments) which includes amendments proposed by Wigan branch at 2016 Conference.

 

A second motion from South London branch, which was referred from 2016 Conference, entitled ‘Sex Workers’, has been withdrawn at the request of the branch.

 

These motions are set out in Part 4 of the interim list of motions and amendments.

 

  1. Motions which appeared in the preliminary list of motions

A motion which was contained in Part 1 ‘The EU and Brexit’, of the preliminary list of motions and reports received, which was published on 12 April, has been withdrawn at the request of the proposers. This was motion no. 2 therein, entitled ‘Europe and the UK’.It is set out in Part 5 of the interim list of motions and amendments.

 

  • Emergency motions

SOC has received an emergency motion from Stockport branch entitled ‘Internal Election Results’.

We are happy that the motion relates to matters which developed after the 31 March 2017 deadline for standard motions and that it be admitted to the agenda, subject to Conference’s approval (Standing Order 11.1 refers).

This motion is listed at Section G of the Interim List of Motions and Amendments.

 

  • Procedural motions

SOC have been given notice of intention to move a procedural motion under Standing Order 12.2,from Stockport branch, proposing that motion no. C4, in Section C, Employment, Trade Unions & Housing section, ‘Land Value Tax’ be remitted to the National Council for further investigation and production of a report to the next National Conference.

 

  • Erratum

The Constitution Committee has informed the SOC of an error in its report to Conference, which was published on the Party website, alongside the SOC’s Report no. 1, on 12 April.

A motion that was referred to the Constitution Committee by the 2016 Party Conference has not been referenced in the report.

The motion, from Left Unity Wales Committee was numbered C2 in the final motions and amendments booklet for that Conference and entitled, “Proposed rule change to writing motions for National Conference”.

The Constitution Committee did give consideration to the motion but decided to prefer a motion on the same subject, proposed by Terry Conway and seconded by Merry Cross, which it is recommending for acceptance, (at page 3 of its report, proposing a new section 9 (i) in the Constitution).

The recommendation to reject the motion from Left Unity Wales Committee should therefore have been included in Part 2 of the Constitution Committee’s report, on page 17 thereof, as follows:

 

Original section of constitution Motion or explanation How it would read with amendment Comments and Proposer(s)
New section 9 (i) “Conference notes that motions submitted for debate at National Conference can vary in length. To ensure that all motions can be readily accessible to all members for consideration prior to National Conference the following rules are proposed for acceptance by the Constitutional Commission and National Conference:

 

i) a motion should be no more than 200 words including the title;

ii) a supporting argument for a motion should be the body of the proposer’s speech to a motion and not a written pre-amble to a motion;

iii) any amendment to a motion should be no more than 25 words”.

Proposed by Wales Committee.

 

The Constitution Committee prefers the motion proposed by Terry Conway and seconded by Merry Cross, which is recommended for acceptance (see page 3 of this report).

 

 

  • Time limits on speeches

The SOC recommends thatproposers of all motions and amendments be given five minutes to propose, and a further three minutes to sum up. All other speakers should be given up to three minutes. (Standing Order 14 refers).

 

  • Motions not reached when sessions run out of time

All motions and amendments that are not reached when sessions run out of time and are not taken in later sessions, shall stand referred to the National Council, in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order 19.

 

  • The recommended agenda and order paper are in a separate document.

 

 

 

Appendix 1

 

Standing Orders for Left Unity National Conference

 

  1. STANDING ORDERS COMMITTEE

1.1 The Standing Orders Committee shall be present at the Conference but shall take no part in its proceedings and shall comprise

1.2 Ten members as elected as set out in the constitution

1.3 The functions of the Standing Orders Committee shall be as contained in these Rules

 

  1. CONFERENCE TIMETABLE

2.1 Before a National Conference, the National Council shall adopt and publish a detailed timetable enabling the following steps to be taken not later than the time stated:

2.2 Procedure: Weeks before the first day of Conference

2.2.1 Submission of motions: x weeks

2.2.2 Publication of preliminary agenda: x weeks

2.2.3 Submission of amendments: x weeks

2.2.4 Publication of final agenda: x weeks

  1. CONFERENCE QUORUM AND PROCEDURE

3.1 The quorum of the National Conference shall be one-third of the members registered to attend and vote.

3.2 Motions may be submitted as set out in section 9 of the Constitution of Left Unity

 

  1. APPLICATION OF STANDING ORDERS

4.1 These Standing Orders shall apply to all meetings of the National Conference and Special Conferences

 

  1. STANDING ORDERS COMMITTEE

5.1 At its first meeting after it takes office, the Committee shall elect a Chairperson and a Deputy Chairperson from amongst its members.

5.2 The functions of the Committee shall, subject to these Standing Orders, be to:

5.2.1 ensure that Left Unity’s Rules and Standing Orders relating to the business of Conferences are observed, and notify the National Council of any violation that may be brought to the Committee’s notice.

5.2.2 draw up the preliminary agenda and final agenda of Conference business, and the proposed hours of business, to be circulated in accordance with the timetable stated in the Constitution.

5.2.3 determine the order in which the business of Conference shall be conducted, subject to the approval of Conference

5.2.4 consider all motions and amendments submitted for consideration by Conference and, for the purpose of enabling Conference to transact its business effectively the Committee shall:

5.2.4.1 decide whether such motions and amendments have been submitted in accordance with the Constitution

5.2.4.2 group together motions and amendments relating to the same subject, decide the order in which they should be considered and whether they should be debated and voted on separately or debated together and voted on sequentially

5.2.4.3 Facilitate the compositing of motions and amendments by enabling discussion between the movers of motions and amendments; refer to another representative body within Left Unity  a motion or amendment which in the opinion of the Committee should properly be considered there; the mover shall be informed of the reason for so doing

5.2.4.4 have power to do all such other things as may be necessary to give effect to these Standing Orders.

5.3 Any decisions of the Committee which are to be reported to Conference shall be announced by the Chairperson of the Committee and shall be subject to ratification by Conference.The SOC shall have the right to reply to any challenges made to its recommendations before Conference votes upon ratification.

 

  1. MOTIONS AND AMENDMENTS-PRE-CONFERENCE PROCEDURE

6.1 Motions, amendments and other appropriate business may be proposed for the Conference by the bodies set out in the constitution.

6.2 Motions and amendments shall be sent to the Standing Orders Committee in order that the Standing Orders Committee may consider them for inclusion in the preliminary agenda.

6.3 The date and time by which motions and amendments to be considered for the Conference shall be received by the Standing Orders Committee shall be stated in the timetable to be published in advance of the conference.

 

7 CONDUCT OF CONFERENCES

7.1 The National Conference shall meet in public session, except that by direction of the  National Council or by resolution of the Conference the whole or any part of a Conference may be held in private. The only persons permitted to attend a private session of a Conference shall be paid-up members of Left Unity who are registered to attend the conference.

7.2 The agenda for the National Conference shall be arranged so that the first session of the Conference shall be in public, subject to Rule 7.1 above.

7.3 Apart from the members of Left Unity who are registered for the Conference, no other person shall speak except by permission of the Conference.

7.4 Any questions of procedure or order raised during a Conference shall be decided by the Chair of that session of the conference subject only to the right of challenge as described in 16.1.

7.5 Upon the Chair rising during a Conference session, any person then addressing Conference shall resume her/his seat and no other person shall rise to speak until the Chair authorises proceedings to continue.

7.6 The Chair may call attention to continued irrelevance, tedious repetition, unbecoming language, or any breach of order on the part of a member and may direct such a member to discontinue his or her speech.

7.7 The Chair shall have power to call any person to order who is causing a disturbance in any session of Conference and if that person refuses to obey the Chair, she/he shall be named by the Chair, shall forthwith leave the Conference Hall, and shall take no further part in the proceedings of that Conference.

 

8          VOTING

8.1       The method of voting shall be by a show of hands of the registered members of Left Unity present.

 

9          TELLERS

9.1       Conference shall appoint members to act as tellers for the duration of the Conference.
10 WITHDRAWALS OF MOTIONS AND AMENDMENTS

10.1 A motion or amendment which is shown on the final agenda may not be withdrawn without the consent of the Standing Orders Committee, whose decision shall be reported to Conference.

 

11 MOTIONS AND AMENDMENTS NOT ON AGENDA

11.1 A motion or amendment which is not shown on the final agenda may not be considered by Conference without the prior approval of Conference, which shall be governed by the following rules:

11.2 Such motion or amendment shall be in writing, signed by the body or person on whose behalf it is submitted and shall be sent to the Standing Orders Committee at least five working days before the commencement of Conference, except if it relates to events which take place thereafter.

11.3 If the Standing Orders Committee gives its approval to the motion or amendment being considered, copies of the motion or amendment shall be made available for delegates at least one hour before Conference is asked to decide whether to consent to the matter being considered.

11.4 An emergency motion will not be given priority over other motions and amendments on the agenda except where the Standing Orders Committee decide that the purpose of the motion in question would be frustrated if it were not dealt with at an earlier session of the Conference.

 

12 PROCEDURAL MOTIONS

The following procedural motions may be moved at any time without previous notice on the agenda:

12.1 that the question be now put, provided that:

12.1.1 the Chair may advise Conference not to accept this motion if in her/his opinion the matter has not been sufficiently discussed

12.1.2 if the motion is carried, it shall take effect at once subject only to any right of reply under these Standing Orders.

12.2 that the question be remitted or referred back to the National Council, or in the case of a report of a Policy Commission, be referred back to that Policy Commission, provided that:

12.2.1 the Chair may advise Conference not to accept this motion at this stage in the debate if in her/his opinion the matter has not been sufficiently discussed

12.2.2 if the motion is carried, it shall take effect at once subject only to any right of reply under these Standing Orders.

12.3 that the Conference proceed to the next business

12.4 that the debate be adjourned

12.5 that the Conference (or any part thereof) be held in private session provided that:

12.6 a motion under Rules 12.1, 12. 2, 12.3 and 12.4 shall be immediately put to the vote without discussion and no amendment shall be allowed

12.7 the Chair may at her/his discretion permit a motion under Rule 12.5 to be discussed and amendments moved.

12.8 no motion under Rules 12.2, 12.3 or 12.4 shall be moved by a person who has spoken on the motion or amendment in question.

 

13 AMENDMENTS TO A MOTION

13.1 When an amendment to a motion is moved, no further amendment may be moved until the first one is disposed of, subject to Rule 17.

13.2 When an amendment is defeated, a further amendment may be moved to the original motion.

13.3 When an amendment to a motion is carried, the motion, as so amended, shall become the substantive motion, to which a further amendment may be moved.

13.4 A member registered for the conference shall not move more than one amendment to any one motion, nor shall the mover of a motion move any amendment to such motion.

 

14        LIMIT OF SPEECHES

14.1 The mover of a motion or an amendment shall not be allowed to speak for more than five minutes and each succeeding speaker for not more than three minutes, except where the Standing Orders Committee have decided otherwise.

14.2 No person shall speak more than once on a question, except that the mover of the original motion may exercise a right of reply for not more than three minutes, introducing no new material.

 

15 POINTS OF ORDER

15.1 A member registered for the conference may at any stage in a Conference raise a point of order if she/he considers that the business is not being conducted in accordance with Left Unity’s Constitution and Standing Orders.

15.2 Such a point of order must be raised as soon as the alleged breach occurs or at the earliest practicable moment thereafter.

15.3 The Chair’s ruling on the point of order is final subject only to the right of challenge as described in 16.1.

 

16 CHALLENGES TO CHAIR’S RULINGS

16.1 The Chair’s ruling on any point referred to in 7.4 or 15.3 may be challenged by not less than three members. Such a challenge shall be explained to the meeting by a challenger and the Chair shall have a right to reply thereto. Speeches explaining challenges and Chair’s replies thereto shall be limited to no longer than 2 minutes. The challenge shall then be put to the meeting and shall be carried with the support of a simple majority of the members present and voting.

 

17 GROUPED DEBATES AND SEQUENTIAL VOTING

17.1 Where, in the view of the Standing Orders Committee, separate debates on specified motions and/or amendments dealing with the same subject matter would lead to undue repetition in the debates, or to unfair advantage for a motion over other motions, a grouped debate and/or sequential voting may be adopted by Conference.

17.2 The following procedure will be followed:

17.2.1 The Chair will advise Conference of the order of business and of the sequence in which motions and amendments will be moved and voted on following a general debate, and of the effect of certain proposals on others.

17.2.2 Alternatively, the Chair may advise Conference that a single exclusive vote shall be cast upon counterposed motions that are grouped for debate. Where a single exclusive vote is taken, the motion attracting the highest number of votes shall be declared carried; in the event that abstentions attract the highest number of votes, all of the motions voted upon shall be declared defeated.

17.2.3 All motions and amendments included in the debate shall be moved.

17.2.4 The general debate shall take place.

17.2.5 The Chair shall again state the order of voting and shall advise Conference which, if any, motions or amendments will fall if others are carried.

17.2.6 Voting will take place on motions, preceded by relevant amendments, in the order in which they were moved.

17.2.7 A debate being conducted under this procedure may not be adjourned until after all the motions and amendments have been moved.

 

18 REPORTS BY NATIONAL COUNCIL

18.1 After the opening of Conference the National Council shall present its report for the past year. The items of the report shall be discussed on a subject basis and in conjunction with any motion on the agenda which bears directly upon any part of the report.

18.2 If the National Council presents a report to Conference which contains proposals or recommendations requiring approval and adoption by Conference, it shall submit it under a motion seeking such approval and adoption.

 

19 REFERENCE OF OUTSTANDING ITEMS TO THE NATIONAL COUNCIL

19.1 If at the end of the National Conference, the business of the Conference has not been concluded, all motions and amendments then outstanding shall stand referred to the National Council. The National Council in turn shall then report back to the appropriate local group or platform its decision on these matters. All such motions and amendments shall be responded to at least one month before the deadline for submission of motions and amendments to the next National Conference.

 

20 SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS

20.1 Any one or more of these Standing Orders may be suspended by a resolution of Conference in relation to a specific item of business properly before that Conference and to the proceedings thereon at that Conference, provided that at least two-thirds of the members registered for the conference present and voting shall vote for the resolution.



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