How our conference democracy works

3650546408_25f717dee4-300x199As a democratic organisation, the NCAFC belongs to our members – every person who becomes part of our campaign has a say in how it is run. Our National Conference (14-15 January in Warwick) is an opportunity for all of us to discuss, debate and decide where we should take our movement next. So this guide exists to explain how the NCAFC works and how you can contribute to decision-making by submitting proposals and running for election.

Deadlines at a glance

  • Motions (submissions open now): 17:00 Sunday 8 January
  • Amendments: 23:30 Wednesday 11 January
  • Nominations for National Committee 14 open places (at the conference in person, or via email if not attending): 20:40 Saturday 14 January.

How does the NCAFC work?

The NCAFC is made up of its members. Those members carry out the campaigns of the organisation, and decide its directions, policies and activities through discussions and through formal democratic processes. Wherever possible, members should try to build activist groups on their campuses – these groups can choose to affiliate to the NCAFC, and they too are an important part of our activities and our democracy.

This is a summary of how the NCAFC ordinarily functions. For full details, please read the NCAFC’s constitution.

National Conferences

National conferences happen at least twice per year, and they are the sovereign body in charge of the NCAFC. Every individual member attending holds one vote.

These conferences decide NCAFC’s direction and its stances on different issues, by debating and voting on motions that propose different policies. Motions are submitted by affiliated local groups, or by formally organised political groups within NCAFC. The winter conference (but not the summer conference) can also consider proposals to alter the constitution, in order to change how the NCAFC works.

Liberation caucuses

We also have 4 liberation caucuses (Women, LGBTQ, Disabled and Black), which organise autonomously from the main body of the campaign and are open only to members who are in those 4 categories (by self-definition – that means, it is up to a member to define for themselves what is their gender, sexuality and so on). The caucuses hold specific meetings for their members during our conferences and gatherings.

National Committee

The conference also elects a National Committee (NC), which coordinates the NCAFC’s work and is accountable to the members and to the decisions we make at conferences. It meets regularly between conferences and those meetings are open to all NCAFC members. The NC includes one voting representative elected by each liberation campaign, each organised region or nation (e.g. NCAFC Midlands) and each recognised section (e.g. NCAFC International Students). These places may be held as job-shares if two people choose to run for election together as a joint candidate. And there are also 14 open places on the NC, to be held by individuals, of which at least 40% are reserved for women and non-binary people.

The main elections for the liberation campaigns, the sections and the open places occur at the winter conference.

How can I submit a motion or a proposal to the conference?

Motions are proposals that say NCAFC should take a particular stance, and/or particular actions, about an issue. If passed by the Conference, they become the policy of NCAFC and are put into action! (Motions that would change the constitution of the NCAFC can only be submitted to the winter conference.)

In order to submit a motion, it must come from a local activist group, or organised political group, that is affiliated to the NCAFC (click for information on affiliating local groups and political groups). So if you have a motion idea, propose it within your group! If it is approved (by whatever democratic process your group uses to make decisions) it can be submitted as a motion to NCAFC conference. If you need help or advice to draft a motion, feel free to speak to any member of the National Committee.

When motions are released before Conference, make sure to read them, because you have the right to submit amendments to them. So if you think a motion takes the wrong stance on the issue it discusses, or should resolve to carry out different actions, propose an amendment. This can delete bits of the motion, add bits, or change existing bits. You don’t need to go through your group to make an amendment – you can do it as an individual NCAFC member.

Motions and amendments should be sent to in a text format (either in the text of the email, or a .doc, .docx, or .odt file – please do not send a .pdf or image file). Please make clear what individual or group is the proposer.

  • Motions should be submitted by 17:00 Sunday 8 January
  • Amendments: 23:30 Wednesday 11 January

How can I run for election?

All open places on the National Committee will be up for election at the National Conference. You don’t need to decide before the conference that you want to run for election to the National Committee.

Open places: NCAFC members will be able to nominate themselves for any vacant open places during the Conference. Nominations should be submitted at the conference. If you cannot attend the conference but wish to run, please email with a short statement that can be read out loud in under 2 minutes. The deadline for both methods of nomination will be 20:40 Saturday 14 January, at a time to be confirmed.

Sections and caucuses: Liberation caucuses and other sections of NCAFC decide their own methods for electing reps to the National Committee. However, for those caucuses meeting during the Conference, as an NCAFC member it will be enough to attend the caucus and volunteer on the spot.