Branch Constitution and Rules

 1 Branch Name

The branch shall be called “Devon County” Branch of UNISON.

2 Relationship to National Organisation

a) Branch rules shall be in accordance with national rules, decisions of the Annual Delegate Conference and the NEC.

b) Any member may have a copy of the current Rule Book.

c) The branch shall make an audited annual return of branch income, expenditure, assets and liabilities, as prescribed by the NEC and in accordance with national rules.

3 Aims of the branch

The aims of the branch shall be in accordance with the aims and values of UNISON as set out in the Rule Book.

4 Membership

a) Eligibility for membership shall be in accordance with the Rules of the union.

b) Applications for membership take effect from the date at which completed forms are received by the branch or at regional/national level and the first contribution is made.

c) A meeting of the branch or branch committee may decide not to support a membership application but such a decision must be consistent with the Rules and with Statute.

Such a decision must be explained to the individual in writing, together with their rights of appeal.

d) All members must comply with the Rules.

e) The NEC may terminate an individual’s membership in accordance with the Rules. 5 Branch Structure

5 Branch Structure

a) There will be an Annual General Meeting of the branch to elect, or confirm the election by ballot of branch officers and members of the branch committee.

b) Other general meetings may be called by the branch committee or by 20 members of the branch or 5% of the membership, whichever is the greater.

c) The AGM will determine the basis of representation in the branch and the number of stewards and other representatives to be elected in each work group or workplace.

d) The branch shall keep a bank/building society account in the name of the branch.

e) The quorum for a general meeting shall be 1% of the branch at a single meeting or through aggregate meetings.

f) Meetings will be convened and officers appointed to ensure the democratic representation of all groups of members, irrespective of employer, in the branch decision making structure.

6 Branch Officers

a) The branch shall elect the following officers annually:

  • Branch Chairperson
  • Branch Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Education Co-ordinator
  • Lifelong Learning Co-ordinator
  • Equality Officer(s)
  • Health and Safety Officer
  • Communications Officer
  • International Officer
  • Membership Officer
  • Young Members Officer
  • Welfare Officer
  • APF Officer (elected by the APF members only) (APF Stands for Affiliated Political Fund)
  • Others to be determined as necessary for the effective operation of the branch.

b) Branch officers may be nominated by the branch committee or any two members, with the exception of the APF Officer who will be elected by the APF members only.

c) All nominations must be received in writing at least 6 weeks before the AGM.

d) Each nominee will be notified and given the right to withdraw not later than 14 days before the AGM.

e) If there is more than one candidate, a vote will be held.

f) The vote will be conducted by secret ballot.

g) In the event of a ballot, official papers will be supplied and each member of the branch shall be entitled to one vote in respect of each post to be filled. Arrangements may be made for a postal ballot if appropriate.

h) Branch Officer responsibilities are as laid down in the National Rules and Code of Good Branch Practice, as directed by the Branch Committee.  Failure by any officer to uphold the duties of their role will be considered by the Branch Committee and could result in the Officer being removed from the post.

i) No less than 50% of Branch Officers should be female.

7 Branch Committee

a) Representation on the branch committee will be agreed by the AGM and will include:

  • Branch officers
  • One representative from each self-organised groups (SOGS)*
  • No less than 2 stewards from each directorate group inDevoncounty*
  • No less than 5 Stewards from associate employers*

*Stewards/SOG members of the Branch Committee may nominate substitutes from their appropriate groups to attend Branch Committee on their behalf.

b) The branch committee shall administer branch business in accordance with the national rules and guidance.

c) The quorum for the branch committee shall be 33% (one third) of the members of the committee.

d) The branch committee will establish arrangements for representation of members and any difficulties will be referred to the regional organiser in the first instance.

e) The branch committee may establish sub-committees and delegate a portion of it’s duties to them.

f) Issues carried over from a non-quorate Branch Committee, or in the event that a decision has to be made prior to the next Branch Committee meeting can be voted on electronically.  The result of the online vote will only be valid if over 33% (one third) of the members of the committee vote.

8 Conduct of meetings

a) All meetings will be conducted in a fair and democratic manner.

b) All meetings will be advertised widely as far in advance as possible.

c) The procedures to be used at the meeting will be explained clearly.

d) The branches will maintain records of meetings, financial records, books of accounts and other appropriate records to enable the branch to function. 

 9 Media communications

Communications to the media on behalf of the branch shall be made only by officer(s) authorised by the branch committee.

 10 Affiliations

a) Affiliations to relevant constituency Labour Parties will be decided by the APF membership.

b) Affiliations to trade councils shall be determined by the AGM or branch committee.

11 Donations

Donations shall be agreed by the AGM or branch committee in accordance with the union’s policies and objectives and subject to provisions of national rule. 

12 Expenses

Rates of expenses for members attending meetings or carrying out other activities on behalf of the branch shall be agreed by the AGM subject to any national scheme.

13 Honoraria

a) Whether to pay honoraria and at what rate shall be agreed at a quorate AGM and if paid shall be done so annually and retrospectively.

b) Any such proposal shall be notified to members in the AGM papers.

14 Local Action Fund

The Branch Local Action Fund may be used for the purposes of:

a) Supporting members during Industrial Action, including the processes leading up to it and including any items of expenditure in direct relation to this approved by either a quorate Branch Committee or by a specifically empowered sub-committee  and subsequently endorsed quorate Branch Committee and;

b) Branch campaigns, including any items of expenditure in direct relation to these approved by a quorate Branch Committee;

c) Branch Welfare purposes, to be administered by the Branch Committee (through Welfare Sub-Committee where appropriate), the Branch Welfare Fund to be a total of £20,000 from this fund;

d) Any other member activities specifically approved by a quorate Branch Committee.

e) This fund may not be used for expenditure relating to the general running of the Branch.

15 Approval/alterations to branch rules

a) Branch rules must be agreed by two thirds of members present and voting at a quorate branch meeting.

b) Branch rules must be approved in accordance with UNISON’s procedures.

c) Any changes to branch rules must be agreed and approved in the same way.

d) The Branch Rules should be reviewed by the Branch Committee or a duly appointed sub-committee on an annual basis


UNISON’s (national) Rule Book

UNISON (nationally) also has a set of rules which govern the way the union runs, how branches work and outlines the responsibilities of its members and staff. Click on the link to read a copy of the latest edition of the Rule Book