Shape Our Policy

You can influence policy through your local Students’ Union and what motions they submit to our Conferences. The policy will inform the organisation about what you, its student members, think about key issues and what you think NUS should do about it.

Students’ unions wishing to submit motions to conferences must pass those motions through their own democratic decision making bodies first – such as student council, an Executive meeting or an all-student vote.

Why submit a motion?

Policy is one of the key reasons why we hold a conference. Through debating motions, Conferences make decisions about what NUS should stand for. Every delegate can submit motions, speak on motions, and vote for motions. 

Motions that pass at conference become policy. Policy explains what we believe, and what we’re going to do about it. NUS leaders set their plan for the year based on policy. It also acts as a guide to unions on the projects and campaigns they could run. 

Motions set out what we think as a movement, they also say what we're going to do about our idea.

How to write a motion

When it comes to submitting motions, your motion should be active – it should ask officers, NUS or other organisations to do something about an issue relevant to students. Policy passed lasts for three years so it’s worth checking if NUS has policy on an issue before submitting a motion. To review our current policy across our Zones, Nations, Sections and Liberation visit Live Policy

The first thing a motion should do is describe a situation or set out the issues. This is titled “Conference believes”. This sets out the context of the situation and provides facts for the discussion. Some Constituent Members sometimes choose to add some extra information by using “Conference further believes”. Conference further believes sets out what the motion “feels” about a situation. Once you’ve set out the issue and what you feel about it, your motion should ask someone to do something – this could be asking NUS to do something, or asking an officer to lobby an external organisation. This should be listed under "Conference Resolves".

Policy should always instruct action. Once you’ve written your motion, you need to make sure that it’s been submitted in accordance with your students’ union’s constitution. All policy submitted to National Conference must go through a democratic structure within your union. NUS’ Democratic Procedures Committee will not accept motions that have not been approved by the student body. This can be done in a number of ways:

  • By referendum
  • By general meeting
  • By a meeting of Executive Officers
  • By a meeting of student council

Once you’ve got your motion signed, you will need to submit it online via the Conference Hub. 

Top Tips

- Always Check for Pre-Existing Policy on the same topic. There could also be policy due to lapse that covers the same ground as your idea

- Where Should your Policy go? Is it an idea that could be fed into a Zone Committee or Vice-President? Which Conference is right for your policy?

- Provide sources in your motion: a good motion should always have references, especially if you’re quoting somebody or making a claim about them.

- Talk to other unions: If you want to submit policy on something and know that a union down the road has also been working in that area, get in touch and see if you can collaborate on the text you’re sending. Motions that cover the same area and have broad consensus are composited together (to become one motion)