Branch delegation details can be submitted using UNISON’s Online Conference System (OCS). Delegates can also use the system to request crèche places or reasonable adjustments.
Deadline for Submission of Delegates: 5.00pm, Friday 31 March 2017
Deadline for crèche places: 5.00pm, Thursday 13 April 2017
Deadline for reasonable adjustment requests for access: 5.00pm, Friday 21 April 2017
Deadline for submitting Change of Delegates online on the OCS: 5.00pm, Wednesday 14 June 2017
Information for delegates and visitors
How are delegates registered?
Delegations can be submitted at branch level by either the Branch Chair or Branch Secretary. The other will receive e-mail copies of the delegation submission as soon as it is submitted.
At regional level, the regional secretary is authorised to submit the delegation, with the regional convenors receiving an instant e-mail copy. This process is replicated at national level for national bodies and their relevant chairs and secretaries.
Requesting creche and Babysitting
Please note that crèche provision is available for delegates only for children up to the age of 16 years. Arrangements have been made for Nipperbout, the company contracted to provide crèche facilities at all UNISON national conferences, to provide babysitting. Should you require this service please complete the request online by 5pm, Thursday 13 April 2017. Delegates are reminded that the cost for babysitting is borne by the branch so authorisation is required from your branch secretary that this expenditure will be approved.
Requesting reasonable adjustments
UNISON aims to provide a fully accessible event to disabled members in accordance with our duties under the Equality Act. Requests for reasonable adjustments must be submitted by Friday 21 April 2017.
For any reasonable adjustments required, please complete the request online by the stated deadline. Authorisation for personal assistance/facilitation is required from your Branch Secretary that this expenditure will be approved.
Please remember that BSL Interpreters will only be available if requested in advance.
While we work within the context of the social model of disability this does not mean that UNISON can automatically provide all resources that are requested as adjustments. We have to consider the finite resources available both in terms of space and finances in order that we can balance our commitment to the social model with the resources available, and channel them to where they are needed most.
The process for managing requests that we adopted at 2016 National Delegate Conference has shown that with better information from members we can better address individual needs, allocate resources fairly, retain the ability to respond flexibly at conference and reduce the impact on other members.
Members requesting seating, tables, footrests, which impact on the space available on the floor of conference, will be asked what barriers they face that require this adjustment for their participation.
While not requesting detailed personal information, UNISON will require sufficient information in order to understand the barriers faced to get the right resources to the right people for this Conference. This will assist us in making adjustments that are meaningful and appropriate to the individual.
The union will determine the allocation of limited resources. If necessary, this may include reserving the right to seek additional information.
We will apply a necessary cut off point for requests, as close as possible to the conference while not impacting on the requirements to produce regional seating plans in good time for advance circulation. The deadline is Friday 21 April 2017.
We will retain a limited ability to respond to unexpected circumstances that affect a delegate at short notice prior to the conference.
Ensuring we can contact you
It is important that we collect e-mail addresses for those members wishing to participate in any way in the conference. The e-mail address can be any one that you have easy access to e.g. your personal e-mail, branch e-mail or that of a friend or relative.
- If you already have an e-mail address and access to the UNISON website, the quickest way to update your details is to go to the UNISON website and click ‘My UNISON’ – you will need your UNISON membership number.
- If you don’t have an e-mail address or don’t have access to the UNISON webpage, you can contact UNISONdirect on 0800-0-857-857 and provide them with the details of your preferred e-mail address to update your UNISON Membership records – you will need your UNISON membership number.
Or, you can contact your local UNISON branch and provide them with the details of your preferred e-mail address to update your UNISON membership records – you will need your UNISON membership number.
Helping the environment by choosing to receive materials online
We’re doing our best to reduce the environmental impact of our conferences. This year, we are providing all delegates with the chance to opt out of being sent paper copies of our conference materials as part of the delegates’ despatch. All these documents will be available online via the conference app, and on the UNISON website. You can then download them onto your laptop or tablet to view online while you are at conference. If you wish to opt out please indicate this on the ‘Extras’ screen options on the Online Conference System (OCS). If you do not opt out, you will be sent all documentation in hard copy form.
Branches: planning your delegation
National and Regional Representation
The following bodies are eligible to send two delegates (at least one of whom should be female) who shall be entitled to speak but not vote:
- Regional Councils
- National Self-Organised Groups
- Service Groups
- Private Contractors National Forum
- National Young Members’ Forum
- National Retired Members’ Committee
The following bodies are eligible to send one delegate only who shall be entitled to speak but not to vote:
- Regional Young Members’ Forums
- Regional Retired Members’ Committees
Branches are expected to send delegates to National Delegate Conference. This is reflected in the branch funding formula. If a branch does not send at least 50 per cent of its delegate entitlement to Conference, and is not represented by at least 50 per cent of the delegate entitlement at conference sessions, then the branch’s funding entitlement will be reduced by 2.5 per cent, so you are encouraged to send your full delegation.
If your branch, for whatever reason, cannot send delegates to Conference, you should notify your regional office as soon as possible of the reasons why. Depending on the branch circumstances the region will be able to provide guidance on how attendance at Conference can be achieved.
All branches contribute to the cost of providing crèche provision at National Delegate Conference. This is based on the size of the branch, and the deduction is made centrally each year through branch funding. Therefore no further action is required from branches.
Branches are reminded that under Rule D.188.8.131.52 you will be disenfranchised from sending delegates to attend National Delegate Conference and Service Group Conferences for the remainder of the financial year following the year to which the financial return applies, if you did not submit your annual financial returns (Rule G.10.1) to your UNISON regional office by no later than 15 March each year.
This will be in accordance with the Scheme of Branch Representation drawn up under Rule D.1.3, attached. Please read the guidelines attached to the Scheme as they provide clear information on how the scheme is interpreted, in particular in relation to sharers, low paid female delegates and young members. Representation is based on membership at 30 September 2016. Regions will monitor the list of delegates submitted by branches to ensure compliance with the scheme.
UNISON applies strict rules on proportionality in branch conference delegations, to ensure proper representation of women. Members who are in the process of transitioning gender may not yet have changed their UNISON membership details. For example, a member may wish to attend National Delegate Conference as a woman, but still be attending work as a man. Members will be registered for National Delegate Conference as the gender in which they will attend the Conference, irrespective of their gender recorded on the RMS.
To ensure that branch delegations including transgender members are not rejected on grounds of proportionality, please contact the Conference Office on 020-7121 5123 with information on any online delegate submissions which include members attending conference in a different gender to that recorded on the RMS. Their confidentiality will be respected at conference.
Late delegate registrations will not be approved. There will be no exceptions to this. Any appeals concerning the composition of branch delegations shall be considered at regional level via a regional appeals panel convened by the regional secretary. The appeals mechanism in the regions is for the composition of delegations, not for late submissions. Regions have to apply the deadlines strictly.
Fitness to Attend Conference
With the introduction of Fitness to Work sick notes are slightly different now. Members who are off sick from work may have an illness/condition which means they can’t perform some tasks but can perform others. They may have a fitness to work certificate which means they return to work with certain caveats – e.g. places limits on the types of tasks they can perform at work and duration.
So if a member is not at work and off sick and wants to attend the National Delegate Conference they need to ask for a note from their GP indicating they are fit to attend the conference (travel/sitting for long periods). We also advise them to get a note from their employer agreeing to their attendance at conference, as this may be a different activity from those at work which they are not able to do.
Members should send a copy of the Fitness to Attend note to Stephanie Grant, Conference & Events Manager and Designated Health & Safety Manager, in advance of the conference. This information will be treated with confidentiality.
Requesting Childcare, Reasonable Adjustments or Facilitators for delegates
Requesting ‘Extras’ such as Childcare, Reasonable Adjustments or Facilitators on the Online Conference System (OCS) can only be done by the registered delegate themselves.
Once a delegate is registered, the OCS will automatically send out an e-mail to the person with a web link which they can click on to access the OCS and input the Extras they require.
For any assistance please contact your regional conference contact.
Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP)
If a delegate or visitor from your branch requires a PEEP for the Brighton Centre, please ask them to indicate this with their online request.
Change of Delegate
Branches may change delegates up to the start of Conference. A member registering as a substitute branch delegate must have been eligible to represent the branch at the closing date for registration of delegates Friday 31 March 2017. Any changes must be in accordance with the Scheme of Branch Representation.
After 5.00pm Wednesday 14 June, no more changes can be made on OCS. If a branch needs to make an emergency change to its delegation after this date then an Emergency Change of Delegate form will need to be completed.
This form will be available on the UNISON website from Thursday 15 June and will also be available at the regional pre-conference delegates meeting for National Delegate Conference. The form will also be available from the conference desk at Brighton.
For National Delegate Conference the regional secretary must sign the form to approve the changes and to ensure that proportionality and fair representation still apply.
Branches are reminded that changes to a delegation can only be made up to the start of a conference. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Branches are asked to book all travel arrangements for Conference through Stewart Corporate Travel. Travel application forms are attached to this bulletin. Wherever possible, please ensure train tickets are delivered to you directly as collecting them from stations incurs an extra charge. Branches are reminded that:
- Travel costs for Delegates and Sharer 1’s only will be funded from National Office.
- Travel costs for Visitors and Sharer 2’s must be paid for by the branch. This is in line with Rule D.I.6 on shared delegates. Please note that a booking fee is applicable – further details from Stewart Corporate Travel.
Branches are encouraged to arrange accommodation through Brighton’s Accommodation Booking Service, VisitBrighton. Using the Booking Service supports the work of our members in local government and ensures our continuing ability, as a not-for-profit organisation, to secure preferential rates for our conference venues. For full details of current available and for bookings please go to:
You can also email: email@example.com or telephone 01273 292626.
Finance advice for branches
Union Income Ltd have agreed to provide a corporate version of its prepaid card still with the UNISON branding. If your branch requires a prepaid card then this is the card that is the preferred option above others generally available.
An application will normally take about 14 working days to turnaround and you can request an information pack and application form by contacting:
UNISON Prepaid Plus Customer Services, 39-51 Highgate Road. London NW5 1RT or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If your branch does not specifically require a prepaid card the other best option is a credit card from Unity Trust Bank called Unity Corporate MultiPay Card. It is more flexible and is linked to branch current account. Details of the Corporate MultiPay card and further information on how to apply are available from their website at www.unity.co.uk/multipay. To help branches switch to this Unity Trust credit card, the bank has agreed to waive the one off administration fee of £50 for all current ALTO card customers who apply for a Multipay card.
Delegates and branches should be aware that the information collected via the online conference system, in addition to information held on UNISON’s membership database, will be used for statistical purposes and for the organising and administration of Conference in compliance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998.
Using the OCS
How can you access the OCS?
Users access the OCS via the UNISON website at www.unison.org.uk and clicking on ‘My UNISON’ – which is located at the top of the front page. Using your UNISON membership number and surname, register once and you will be issued with a password. For subsequent access, simply click on ‘My UNISON’ and then ‘Sign-in now’ and you will need your membership number and the password you were issued. Branch employed staff should call their regional contact.
Which members can use the OCS?
When a member is registered as a delegate to a conference, they will receive an e-mail informing them of this as long as their e-mail address is listed on the RMS. They can then also access the OCS to upload their photograph, to make online requests for services such as reasonable adjustments, crèche places and babysitting, which should be made by the deadline stated.
What if the correct branch people have accessed ‘My UNISON’ but then cannot access the OCS?
Key to accessing the OCS is ensuring that the data held on UNISON’s membership system, the RMS, is correct. It records which members hold the key positions of Branch Secretary and Branch Chair.
If this information is incorrect, or if it changes, the branch needs to ensure that the RMS records are updated immediately. Then the individual should call their regional contact.
It will help the system to function if these key branch people also have an e-mail address stored on their RMS records. Please contact your branch or regional RMS team urgently, to make this happen. Each delegate within a delegation should also have their date of birth stored on the RMS.
Who can help if I have a problem accessing or using OCS?
If you have a ‘My UNISON’ registration issue: UNISONdirect on 0800 0 857 857.
If you have an OCS issue, please contact your relevant regional contact. Listed below are the Conference contacts for each region, who can also assist with online conference registration:
0115 847 5408
Colleen Forrest (Thurs & Fri only)
0115 847 5468
Shelley Davey Lorraine Tant Cally Thompson
0207 535 6648
0191 245 0805
0161 661 6777
0161 661 6743
0141 342 2816
0141 342 2880
Jenn Gollings (Mon – Thurs only)
0121 685 3174
Yorkshire & Humberside
0113 218 2333