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TSSA Disability Working Group conference motion event

13 January 2018

Ever thought you might like to have a go at writing a motion for conference but werenÂ’t sure how to go about it?

Maybe there’s an issue in your working or day-to-day life where you feel TSSA could make a difference, but don’t know the procedure? Do you have experience of Conference and want to hear other people’s tips on how to sharpen up your motion and make sure it is added to the agenda? This fantastic event, hosted by the Disability Working Group answered all those questions and so much more.

Luke Howard kicked off proceedings explaining the purpose of Annual Conference and how the Standing Orders Committee reviews motions and sets the agenda. The group learned about the various voting methods, from a simple show of hands to calling for a card vote. Luke also prepared Conference delegates for what they may be called to do eg instructions to attend Standing Orders.

Speaking from her experience, Jill Murdoch took the group through what should be included in a motion, and described how these are scrutinised by the Standing Orders Committee. Her guidance on common pitfalls and how to avoid, may have the added benefit of making the job of reviewing the concise and clear motions a little easier for the Standing Orders Committee.

Steve Floyd gave tips on what makes a good motion and discussed the importance of the rule book, which is particularly relevant as there is the opportunity to change rules every 5 years and 2018 is a rule change year.

Veteran motion writer and TSSA President, Mick Carney, gave some insight into the nuances that can result in a motion failing and the role of the President, who has the power to rule a motion out of order.

Organising Director, Steve Coe, described to delegates how ‘TSSA was more open and democratic than other unions'. He gave helpful advice including a timetable of events, but also encouraged people to address issues, particularly in time-sensitive situations, and to communicate with the EC between Annual Conferences.

In the practical sessions, DWG founder, Pauline McArdle, inspired one of the groups to use a scenario for the practical exercise in writing a sample motion. After the motion was amended by another team, it was suggested that this motion could be used for conference this year.

Head of Comms, Carmel Nolan, offered her journalistic expertise, offering hints on how to keep to the word limit and fine tune the vocabulary. She also spoke of opportunities to raise the profile of relevant concerns.

Thank you to Mick, Ray, Bob, Cath, Roger, Pauline, Steve, Sharon and Grania for hosting this event and for making everyone feel so welcome. Thanks also to all the speakers. The course was most informative, and the advice given was invaluable. The workshop could not have been better timed as the deadline for submission of motions is looming. There will be many interesting motions submitted in February as a result of your efforts.

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