UNISON - University of Nottingham Branch
   
   
  

Roles

The roles and responsibilities of Branch and Committeee members of UNISON are diverse and varied.  Every member has the opportunity to put their name forward for a position during the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Branch officer posts will be elected annually by individual ballot of members, at or in advance of the annual branch meeting. The election process must be detailed within branch rules.

In either case, all members of the branch should receive an invitation to nominate and notice of the election in time to participate fully.

Any member of the branch who has been a member for at least 13 weeks and is not in arrears with their subscriptions is entitled to be nominated for election to any of the branch offices. Any nomination must be supported by at least two members of the branch.

Roles and responsibilities

Chairperson
Tasks relating to the office of branch chairperson:

  • presides at all meetings of the branch and branch committee 
  • agrees the agenda for meetings with the secretary 
  • ensures that business is properly conducted
  • advises the branch officers and branch committee in respect of matters relating to procedure and interpretation of rules 
  • ensures that all functions of the branch are carried out
  • work closely with the secretary to provide leadership to the branch.

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Secretary
The branch secretary is responsible for ensuring the proper completion of the following tasks. It is not expected that, especially in larger branches, the branch secretary will personally undertake all these functions but will act as the strategic lead officer and co-ordinator within the branch.

The secretary will encourage partnership working within the branch committee and the development of new representatives, will be the manager of branch staff and will manage the delegation of work to other branch officers and branch staff as appropriate, whilst providing support and guidance.

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Treasurer
Tasks relating to the office of branch treasurer:

  • conducts the branch’s financial business
  • keeps accounts in accordance with the rules 

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Education co-ordinator
Tasks relating to the post of branch education co-ordinator:

  • make sure all new stewards and safety representatives receive initial information and guidance about their duties, e.g. stewards handbook, rulebook, service conditions agreements, etc
  • publicise the range of educational and training opportunities available to members and activists 
  • get untrained stewards, safety representatives and other branch officers onto appropriate training courses
  • co-ordinate and support the work of learning representatives

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Lifelong learning co-ordinator
A branch with a number of learning representatives working as a team, led by a co-ordinator, can ensure that learning representatives are accountable and involved in the branch; that learning is high on the branch’s agenda and linked into its organising, bargaining and equalities work; and can provide a clear progression route for learning representatives who want to become more involved in other aspects of branch activity.

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Learning representatives
Learning representatives are selected by branches and are volunteers who are willing to encourage and support other colleagues with “learning” in the workplace. The branch is responsible for ratifying their appointment and issuing credentials. Their work should be supported by the branch education co-ordinator and the branch lifelong learning co-ordinator.

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Health and safety officer
Tasks relating to the post of health and safety officer: 

  • increase the awareness of members, health and safety representatives and branch officers of health and safety issues 
  • organise the information held by the branch on health and safety 

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Communications Officer
Tasks relating to the post of branch communications officer: 

  • assist with efforts to recruit new members
  • produce news-sheets or bulletins for distribution to branch members. 
  • lead on the development of electronic communication with members – email, web, etc 

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Membership officer
Tasks relating to the post of membership officer: 

  • map the branch’s membership in order to identify membership density and steward coverage 
  • monitor the branch’s recruitment, and also leavers rate 
  • make recommendations to the branch committee on recruitment activities, targets, resources, budgets, etc.

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Welfare officer
Tasks relating to the post of branch welfare officer:

  • ensures that branch officers, stewards and workplace representatives, and also employers, have regular up-to date-information about UNISON Welfare and its range of services 
  • ensures that members seeking welfare assistance receive a prompt, supportive and effective response

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Stewards
The UNISON steward is the fundamental building block of workplace organisation. UNISON is committed to identifying, supporting and training as many members as possible to take on the role of steward or workplace contact.

Stewards might be active in different ways and to different degrees depending on their willingness and experience ranging from high-level negotiators to local contacts in the workplace.

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Workplace contacts
Members who might not be willing to take on the full role of elected steward can play a vital role in ensuring that UNISON has a presence in every workplace. Not an elected position, it can also prove a useful way for a member to gain experience or build confidence before making a further commitment.

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Equality officer
The branch equality officer has a number of important functions. It is not expected that the office holder will be the font of all knowledge on every equality issue, nor carry sole responsibility for the branch’s equality work. Everyone shares responsibility for tackling prejudice and discrimination and promoting equality. The role of the branch equality officer is to co-ordinate and monitor this shared responsibility.

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International officer
Tasks relating to the post of international officer: 

  • receiving and distribute relevant information 
  • ensuring that information on branch activity is shared at regional and national level 
  • seeking to develop an international perspective among members, stewards and branch officers.

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Young members’ officer
The role of the branch young members’ officer is ideal for someone who is interested in becoming more active in the union. The post may be a stepping stone to becoming a steward or taking on wider roles. 

Branch young members’ officer must be under 27 years of age for the whole of their term of office.

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Retired members’ secretary
The role of the retired members’ secretary is to enable retired members of the branch to continue to be active in the union through the branch’s retired members’ section. 

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Auditor
The role of the auditor is to act on behalf of the branch’s members to ensure probity and that all branch expenditure is underpinned by democratic decisions made in accordance with UNISON rule. A candidate for the post of auditor cannot be a member of the branch committee.

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Unison

E Floor
Portland Building
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4049
email: unison@nottingham.ac.uk