University College London Union

Guide to Motions & Policy

How to influence and change your Union

UCLU is a democratic body whose actions are dictated by student-elected officers and student-created policy.  If you want to bring about change in your Union or University, you can write a motion and propose it to be adopted as policy by vote. 

The policies of UCLU are a statement of  the beliefs of the organisation on key issues.  They can contain anything from a statement of UCLU’s position on a controversial topic to a commitment to campaign on a particular issue.  They can instruct officers and representatives to carry out tasks (such as running a campaign on a specific issue). 

Our policies are made democratically and they are binding on UCLU.  See our existing policies here.

If you have an idea for a new policy or feel that we should amend one of our existing policies you should contact uclu-democracy@ucl.ac.uk to find out more. 

Policies last for two years, they are reviewed by the Union Council throughout this time.

UCLU Policy can be set by Union Council, General Assembly and Referenda.    

What are motions?

Motions are policy proposals which can be submitted for consideration at Union Council or a General Assembly. Since every student at UCL is a member of UCLU, every UCL student may propose a motion. So if there is something that matters to you, submit a motion, have it debated, and wait for the outcome.  

How to write a motion?

Although there is no compulsory style of writing motions, motions usually follow an established format.  Following this format will save time and reduce confusion.  Most importantly it will make everything clearer for others to interpret what you mean. 

It is recommended that each motion has a title.  This title should be a concise summation of what the motion is about. 

Motions usually have at least three difference sections, with numbered points beneath.  This clearly breaks down what you are trying to say, and what you are asking UCLU to do:

This Union notes… (FACTS)

This must be factual information that can be independently seen to be true. 

This Union believes… (OPINIONS)

This contains things that you consider to be true, but which other people may disagree with.  You should be open-minded and accept that others may not agree with what you believe, even if you consider it to be “fact”. 

This Union resolves… (ACTIONS)

This section tells UCLU what action to take as an organisation. 

Some motions may also have an additional section:

This Union mandates…

This section can contain specific instructions for specific officers.  It can instruct officers or representatives, and groups within UCLU.  It cannot instruct a member of Union staff. 

It is important to note that motions, if adopted become policies which are our collective view as a Union on issues.  It is what we, as students, standing together, believe in. 

There are few limits on what a motion can concern, provided that the proposed actions that would result if the motion is adopted as policy is legal (according to both English law, especially noting charity and education law, and the objects and powers of UCLU as laid out in our Memorandum and Articles of Association). 

How to submit a motion?

You should submit your motion along with your contact details by email to uclu-democracy@ucl.ac.uk by the deadlines outlined below. Make sure you submit your motion within the deadline. 

The proposer of the motion will be expected to give a speech in support of the motion at the meeting where the motion is discussed. Motions require a simple majority (over 50%) to pass, except for Amendments to Governing Documents and No Confidence Motions which require a 75% majority. 

What are the deadlines?

Motions should be submitted electronically by 5pm to uclu-democracy@ucl.ac.uk by the following deadlines, you do not need to submit a hard copy: 

Motions for Union Council and General Assemblies

4 working days in advance of the meeting*

Amendments to Governing Documents

10 working day in advance of the meeting

Amendments to Motions

1 working day in advance of the meeting

* for a Union Council meeting taking place on a Tuesday, the deadline would usually be 5pm on the preceding Wednesday. 

If you have an emergency issue which has occurred after the deadline for motions or concerns a matter which cannot wait until the next meeting, you should send these to the Union Chair (uclu-union.chair@ucl.ac.uk) at least three hours before the meeting is due to start. 

Motions will be published on the UCLU website:


3 working days in advance of the meeting

Amendments to Governing Documents

9 working days in advance of the meeting

Amendments to Motions

On the day of the meeting

What does a motion look like?

Here is an example of a motion. 

Motion to the Union Council: A Love Affair with Cheese
Proposer: John Cheese, Engineering
Seconder: Wayne Wensleydale, History

This Union notes:
1. There are over 400 varieties of British cheese.
2. It takes approximately 10 litres of milk to produce 1kg of cheddar cheese.

This Union believes:
1. Cheese tastes delicious.
2. Cheese is versatile.
3. Cheese is one of nature’s most complete foods.

This Union resolves:
1. To sell more cheese sandwiches, cheese burgers, cheese omelettes in Union outlets.
2. To play more cheesy music in all of our bars.

Who can I discuss my motion with?

You can contact us for further advice and guidance. You can also contact the Democracy & Communications Officer

If you want to speak to someone in person, come up to the 4th floor of the Union Building at 25 Gordon Street.