The main business of Congress – debates on Resolutions and Matters for Discussion – is generated entirely by RCN members. Submissions were invited from October 2016 to January this year, and were received from all four countries of the UK and from RCN forums, committees and branches. During February and March the RCN Agenda Committee reviewed all submissions before deciding on an agenda covering the important, relevant and topical issues being debated in Liverpool.
The RCN Agenda Committee compiles the Congress agenda, contributes to the planning of the event and runs Congress on behalf of RCN Council. Its members - including the Chair of Council and Chief Executive & General Secretary - meet twice a day during Congress to consider any emergency resolutions which have been submitted.
The Agenda Committee provides a vital link between delegates and the Chair and Vice-Chair of Congress, and advises them on your thoughts and opinions. Agenda Committee members are always happy to answer your questions and provide advice to help you participate in debates.
Any RCN member can speak in a debate. It’s a fantastic opportunity for you to get your voice heard, and it’s crucial for a good debate that as wide a cross section of views as possible are heard. It can be a daunting experience, but you’ll soon discover that all speakers – especially those taking the microphone for the first time – receive a very warm welcome.
There will be two speaker queues at the front of the auditorium. It will be at the chair’s discretion to manage the queues to ensure fairness and speakers will be invited from the queues to speak from the microphone on the stage.
A roving mic will be available at the Agenda Committee desk for those unable to go to the stage to speak.
The Chair of Congress is responsible for the timings of debates. Each debate runs for a maximum of 25 minutes, but the Chair and may decide to amend the timings of the debates if appropriate.
The proposer has five minutes to introduce the debate from their perspective. Resolutions are seconded with a two-minute supporting statement.
Speakers are then given two minutes each to put forward their opinions.
The proposer returns to close the discussion after which the vote is held.
If you are a first-time attendee, a first-time speaker, or simply need a bit of encouragement to approach the microphone, then come and speak to the Agenda Committee. They have all faced their first moment at the microphone, and know all there is to know about Congress so will be able to answer any questions you may have?
With around 435,000 members all around the UK, it’s crucial that any votes cast at Congress properly represent the views of the entire membership of the RCN. In order to achieve this, votes are distributed proportionately between the branches, forums and the UK Representative committees. This year there are 666 votes eligible to be cast for each Resolution at Congress.
To find out how you could be a voting member at next year’s Congress, speak to your local branch or contact email@example.com
Generally, voting will take place by a show of hands, with voting members holding up the relevant ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Abstain’ pages included in their delegate packs. Only those eligible to vote may do so, and it is for this reason that it is important that voting members sit within their allocated voting area as votes cast outside this area will not be counted.
Where the vote is very close or if the Chair determines that it is appropriate then a card vote will be held.
In the case of a card vote, voting members should use the appropriate voting card from their delegate pack, and follow the instructions given by the Chair of Congress.
Card votes are counted by members of the Governance team, and the result returned to the Head of Governance who will inform the Chair.
Points of order are raised to challenge the conduct of a meeting or to seek clarification from the chair about an item. Any member can raise a point of order using the card provided in their delegate pack.
Procedural items are usually to request that:
A vote must take place and be passed by a majority for any of the above to happen. Only voting members may raise a procedural item using the card provided in their delegate pack, and, should a vote be required, only these members may vote. Again, it is important that voting members sit within their allocated voting area as votes cast outside this area will not be counted.
If a voting member cannot attend a session it is possible for a non-voting member from the same entity to take the vote instead. Both members should go to the Registration Desk in RCN Foyer before the session to make the necessary arrangements with staff.