Structures and decision-making
UCU's supreme policy-making body of the union is its annual congress.
UCU's annual congress includes separate annual meetings of UCU's further and higher education sector conferences, where policy particular to these areas is decided. Special sector conferences may also be called where urgent policy needs to be decided. In addition UCU Scotland Congress and UCU Wales Congress meetings are also held to debate and decide devolved policy matters.
Delegates the annual congress and sector conferences are mainly chosen by UCU branches. All members of UCU belong to a branch or local association, which is generally workplace-based. Branch members directly elect their own officers who negotiate and represent members locally, with support from full-time staff in regional offices throughout the UK.
Delegates to the union's congress are elected either directly or, in the case of smaller branches and workplaces, through aggregations according to size.
Members also directly elect their representatives on UCU's national executive committee, from constituencies based on Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and ten English geographical areas.
Members of the national executive committee (NEC) of UCU, elected by UCU members include HE and FE members, some of whom are elected regionally, some on a UK-wide basis, plus equality seats and officers of the union. The NEC is responsible for conducting the union's business between Congress meetings. The executive comprises a number of sub-committees which cover specific areas of work:
- Higher education committee
- Further education committee
- Strategy and finance committee
- Education committee
- Recruiting, organising and campaigning committee
- Equality committee.
There are a number of equality standing committees and special employment interest groups which advise the NEC's work whose members are elected by annual delegate meetings:
- black members' standing committee
- disabled members' standing committee
- LGBT members' standing committee
- women members' standing committee
- anti-casualisation committee
- academic-related, professional staff committee.
Plus there are also annual national meetings for:
National and regional links
UCU also has a number of regional and national committees to co-ordinate discussion and activity between branches, and, in the case of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, annual meetings held to decide specific national policy.
The post of general secretary, the union's most senior official, is currently held by Sally Hunt whose term of office runs from 1 June 2012 to the end of May 2017.
Full details of all these arrangements can be found in the UCU rule book..