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UCU democracy commission

11 July 2018

UCU Congress 2018 agreed to set up a democracy commission to carry out a review of UCU's democratic structures and to bring recommendations to a special one-day congress. The relevant 2018 congress motions are reproduced below.

Final report of the democracy report

The final report from the commission was debated and voted on during a one-day Congress held in December 2019.

Work of the commission

The commission identified five areas for its work:                 

  • recall (of elected representatives and GS) and triggers (for recall)
  • accountability and transparency
  • structural issues/implications, including the role of paid officials
  • conduct of disputes
  • engagement and representation (including gaps in representation and ability to access union structures).

The democracy commission issued an interim report to May 2019 Congress.

You can read the report online.

See also: interim report of the democracy commission: discussion report


Democracy Commission minutes, 25 Oct 18 [129kb]

Democracy Commission minutes, 7 Dec 18 [127kb]

Democracy Commission minutes, 11 Jan 19 [173kb]

Democracy Commission minutes, 22 Feb 19 [256kb]

Democracy Commission minutes, 8 Mar 19 [175kb]

Democracy Commission minutes, 9 May 19 [182kb]

Democracy Commission minutes, 5 Jul 19 [173kb]

Commission members

Commission members were elected by and from branches, regions, devolved nations and the union's advisory committees. The commission elected Vicky Blake (University of Leeds) and Elane Heffernan (Hackney Community College) as its co-chairs.

Regional and devolved nation seats

Alan Barker (University of Nottingham), East Midlands
Alison Chapman (City College Plymouth), South West
Lindesay Dawe (Ulster University), Northern Ireland
Nina Doran (City of Liverpool College), North West
Geraint Evans (Bradford College),Yorkshire and Humberside
Jeff Fowler (Sunderland University), Northern
Ann Gow (University of Glasgow), Scotland
John Hadwin (Guildford College), South East
Dr John Hogan (Anglia Ruskin University), Eastern and Home Counties
Chris Jones (NPTC Group), Wales
Sharon Broer (Central group), West Midlands
Denis A Nicole (University of Southampton), South
Keith Simpson (City, University of London), London

Branch seats - Further education

Cecily Blyther (Petroc)
Jacqueline D'Arcy (Warwickshire College Group)
Martha Harris (City of Liverpool College [Arts and Mulberry])
Margot Hill (Croydon College)
John James (Coleg Gwent [Newport])
Kerry Lemon (NCG - Newcastle College)
Rachel Minshull (Leeds City College)
Justin Wynne (East Sussex College Group [Hastings])

Prison education

Brian Hamilton (NOVUS Prison Education)

Adult and Continuing Educators (ACE)

Naina Kent (Hackney Adult Education)

Branch seats - Higher education

Mark Abel (University of Brighton [Grand Parade])
Dr Caitlin Adams (Open University)
Dr Douglas Chalmers (Glasgow Caledonian University)
Rachel Cohen (City, University of London)
Jane Harvey (University of Wolverhampton [Walsall])
Pat Hornby Atkinson (Edge Hill University)
Kirsty Keywood (University of Manchester)
Jess Meacham (University of Sheffield)
Lesley McGorrigan (University of Leeds)
Christina Paine (London Metropolitan University [City])
Sean Wallis (University College London)
Saira Weiner (Liverpool John Moores University)

Equality standing committee and employment special interest group committees

Vicky Blake (University of Leeds), Academic related, professional staff committee
Martin Chivers (City, University of London), LGBT members standing committee
Elane Heffernan (Hackney Community College), Disabled members standing committee
Rhiannon Lockley (Halesowen College),Women members standing committee
Sam Morecroft (University of Sheffield), Anti-casualisation committee
Nita Sanghera (Bourneville College), Black members standing committee

Congress 2018 motions on the commission

B19  Democracy Review

Congress notes:

  1. concerns from many branches and members about the processes behind the consultative ballot on the USS offer of 23rd March
  2. the lack of  inter-election mechanisms by which to recall or hold elected union representatives to account.

Congress resolves:

  1. to undertake a review before Congress 2019 of UCU's democratic structures via a democracy commission
  2. that the commission should be elected by and from branches, regional committees, devolved nations and advisory committees of the union
  3. to empower the commission to recommend changes to UCU's democratic structures at  a one day special Congress, for discussion and voting on by branch delegates.

L9   Democracy Commission

Congress notes Congress 2018 has resolved to set up a Democracy Commission to review our democratic structures.

Congress resolves:

  1. that candidates for election to the commission must be nominated by their respective branches, regions or advisory committees
  2. that the commission must be elected and have held their first meeting by 31 October 2018
  3. regional committees, devolved nations, branches and advisory committees must be strongly encouraged to organise specific meetings to discuss the issues that are to be discussed by the commission
  4. the commission shall draw up recommendations to put to a one-day special Congress to discuss how our democratic structures should function and what they should look like.

Related documents

Final report of the Democracy Commission
UCU975.html | UCU975.rtf

Interim report of the Democracy Commission: for adoption at Congress 2019
UCU934.html | UCU934.rtf

Election of Democracy Commission: nominations and ballot period
UCU893.html | UCU893.rtf

Election of Democracy Commission: call for nominations
UCU885.html | UCU885.rtf

Last updated: 12 May 2022