Tasks relating to the office of branch chairperson:
to preside at all meetings of the branch and branch committee in accordance with the guidance given above
to agree on the agenda for meetings with the secretary
to ensure that business is properly conducted
to advise the branch officers and branch committee in respect of matters relating to procedure and interpretation of rules
to ensure that all functions of the branch are carried out
to work closely with the secretary to provide leadership to the branch.
The branch secretary is responsible for ensuring the proper completion of the following tasks. It is not expected that, especially in larger branches, the branch secretary will personally undertake all these functions but will act as the strategic lead officer and co-ordinator within the branch.
The secretary will encourage partnership working within the branch committee and the development of new representatives will be the manager of branch staff and will manage the delegation of work to other branch officers and branch staff as appropriate, whilst providing support and guidance.
Tasks relating to the office of branch secretary:
to guide the branch’s development through the preparation and implementation of a
branch organisation and development plan
to ensure the representation of members within the branch in accordance with national guidance and that case forms and applications for services forwarded to UNISON offices are properly completed and authorised
to convene and attend all meetings of the branch and branch committee.
to arrange for the minutes of meetings to be kept in a proper manner and circulated to all branch officers and stewards
to arrange for branch records to be kept in a proper manner
to ensure the branch, speedily and accurately, processes applications for membership and maintains records in accordance with UNISON’s systems
to ensure regular communication with the members of the branch with news of campaigns, negotiations, issues, branch developments and activities
to communicate with the union’s regional and head offices on behalf of the branch
to ensure that branch members are aware of opportunities to participate in the activities of the wider union, or within self-organisation if appropriate
to support, mentor and encourage the stewards in the branch on an individual and collective basis. The branch secretary should seek to meet with each steward on a one-to-one basis, to discuss issues and workplace organisation, on a six-monthly basis
to ensure that members and stewards are aware, and take advantage, of educational and training opportunities within UNISON
to ensure that appropriate publicity activities are developed and co-ordinated by the branch
to act as spokesperson for the branch when in contact with other levels of the union
and external organisations
to ensure that members receive the benefits, rights and services to which they are entitled
to co-ordinate all branch negotiations and industrial relations matters
to ensure, in conjunction with the branch committee, that the branch observes the
union’s rules support UNISON campaigns and work towards achieving UNISON’s objectives
to ensure the proper management and direction of any branch-employed staff.
Tasks relating to the office of branch treasurer:
to conduct the branch’s financial business
to keep accounts in accordance with the rules
to provide reports on the financial position of the branch to the branch committee or branch executive committee
to provide a detailed financial report for the annual branch meeting(s)
to advise the branch officers and branch committee in respect of matters relating to financial management and appropriate expenditure
to provide an audited annual return of branch income.
Tasks relating to the post of branch communications officer:
to explain UNISON’s policies and to provide the information members need to play an active role in their union
to assist with efforts to recruit new members
to help support UNISON’s national and regional campaigns
to help create a positive image for the branch among members, potential members and the public
to produce news sheets or bulletins for distribution to branch members.
to lead on the development of electronic communication with members – email, web, etc
to ensure branch communications are in the accessible formats members need - audit for any particular requirements such as large print/ Braille etc
to ensure that nationally and regionally produced publicity and campaign materials are distributed, as appropriate, to stewards and onward to members and non-members
to monitor local media for stories that affect the branch and take appropriate action
to help ensure that the branch makes effective contact with the media whenever necessary by:
creating and maintaining mailing lists to media outlets and contacts
writing press releases
ensuring that appropriate individuals within the branch are available for comments, interviews, etc
writing ‘letters to the editor’.
Tasks relating to the post of branch education co-ordinator:
to make sure all new stewards and safety representatives receive initial information and guidance about their duties, e.g. stewards handbook, rulebook, service conditions agreements, etc
to publicise the range of educational and training opportunities available to members and activists
to get untrained stewards, safety representatives and other branch officers onto appropriate training courses
to co-ordinate and support the work of learning representatives
to encourage branch members and activists to make use of the UNISON Open College courses, especially ‘Return to Learn’ and ‘Women, Work and Society’
to maintain contact with the regional education officer/regional education committee
to establish a plan of training for activists and to produce an annual budget to meet its costs
to keep records of what training has been undertaken and by whom within the branch
to make sure that activists get paid time off for training where appropriate.
The branch equality officer has a number of important functions. It is not expected that the office holder will be the font of all knowledge on every equality issue, nor carry sole responsibility for the branch’s equality work. Everyone shares responsibility for tackling prejudice and discrimination and promoting equality. The role of the branch equality officer is to coordinate and monitor this shared responsibility.
Tasks relating to the office of equality officer:
to be the identified and well-publicised point of contact in the branch for equality issues
to collect and share information on equalities issues, including information from the regional and national self-organised groups
to make sure other branch officers and the branch committee consider the equalities dimension of everything they do
to make sure “equal opportunities” is being raised in all collective bargaining – not just in bargaining on ‘pure’ equalities issues
to encourage and support the development of branch self-organised groups on behalf of the branch committee
to have a coordinating role among the self-organised groups, and between the self-organised groups and the rest of the branch
to make sure new recruits know about UNISON’s commitment to equality and opportunities to participate in self-organisation
to advise the branch officers and branch committee on the development and monitoring of the action plan to achieve proportionality and fair representation;
to coordinate the development and training of members from under-represented groups.
to coordinate motions and support delegates attending self-organised group conferences.
HEALTH AND SAFETY OFFICER
Tasks relating to the post of health and safety officer:
to increase the awareness of members, health and safety representatives and branch officers of health and safety issues
to organise the information held by the branch on health and safety
to co-ordinate the activity of health and safety representatives and to organise regular meetings of health & safety representatives to exchange information and consider priorities
to be closely involved in all negotiations with the employer on matters related to health and safety
to advise the branch committee on health and safety issues arising in the branch and to recommend policies and priorities
to act as a link between the health and safety representatives and other branch representatives to ensure that health and safety issues are treated as an integral part of the work of the branch
to maintain contact with the region and regional service groups, for example via the regional health and safety committee.
Tasks relating to the post of membership officer:
to map the branch’s membership in order to identify membership density and steward coverage
to monitor the branch’s recruitment, and also leavers rate
to work with the branch committee to develop and implement its organisation and development plan
to make recommendations to the branch committee on recruitment activities, targets, resources, budgets, etc.
Tasks relating to the post of branch welfare officer:
to ensure that branch officers, stewards and workplace representatives, and also employers, have regular up-to date-information about UNISON Welfare and its range of services
to ensure that members seeking welfare assistance receive a prompt, supportive and effective response
to liaise and co-ordinate with regional and national levels to ensure that UNISON Welfare support is provided effectively
to undertake training and seek advice from UNISON Welfare where necessary
to develop and implement local welfare activity
to develop links with local charities and sources of support such as Citizen’s Advice Bureau and women’s refuges.
YOUNG MEMBERS' OFFICER
The role of the branch young members’ officer is ideal for someone who is interested in becoming more active in the union. The post may be a stepping stone to becoming a steward or taking on wider roles.
Tasks relating to the post of young members’ officer:
Other branch officers will assist in these tasks.
Branch young members’ officer must be under 27 years of age for the whole of their term of office.
to recruit new members and to encourage existing young members to become active in the branch
to make sure issues of concern to young workers are raised by the branch
to act as a focal point for all young workers in the branch and workplaces
to receive and distribute UNISON young members information
to encourage involvement in UNISON young members campaigns
to build branch young members organisation and to ensure there are potential new young members’ officers in the future.
The Branch Women’s Officer (BWO) offers the opportunity to bring about important changes for women in the workplace. UNISON can provide training for the role, and the BWO can network and work collaboratively with other BWO’s in their area. They can become involved in the regional women’s committee/forum or network, attend national women’s conferences and help UNISON agree on its work plan priorities for the national women’s committee. The branch women’s officer’s role includes:
Building links with women’s sector organisations and where appropriate signposting to specialist organisations for women (Domestic Abuse/Rape Crisis) and assisting in negotiations on employer policies on violence against women
Ensuring that the branch has a wide range of resources for women, such as books, videos and leaflets, and making these resources accessible to all women in the branch
Organising a women’s group and identifying concerns
Identifying women members of the branch, and liaising with the branch committee on progress towards proportionality
Being a focal point for women’s issues for members and raising issues affecting women, particularly those with service conditions implications with the branch committee
Supporting women in their issues generally and campaigning on issues that are important to women
Coordinates the union’s green and environmental agenda in the branch.
This is still a new role in many UNISON branches. The job of a trade union environmental representative involves representing the workforce in discussions and negotiations regarding the development and implementation of company/employer environmental policies and practices.
Where resources and capacity exist, the job can also involve acting on behalf of members as a link person with local environmental campaign organisations such as Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace or Stop Climate Chaos.
Environmental policies and practices can cover areas such as energy use, recycling, travel and procurement.
RETIRED MEMBERS' SECRETARY
Tasks relating to the post of retired members’ secretary:
to ensure that those members approaching retirement have the opportunity to become retired members
to organise meetings of the branch retired members
to encourage the participation of retired members in branch activities as appropriate
to establish links with other retirement organisations in the area
to attend meetings of the branch committee (rule D6.5)
to submit a budget to the branch committee to fund retired member activities
to ensure that the retired members’ section functions in accordance with UNISON Rule and any branch standing orders and procedures.
The role of the auditor is to act on behalf of the branch’s members to ensure probity and that all branch expenditure is underpinned by democratic decisions made in accordance with UNISON rule. A candidate for the post of auditor CANNOT be a member of the branch committee.
Tasks relating to the post of branch auditor:
to oversee the financial records of the branch
to undertake an annual audit of the branch financial records
to provide a written report of the annual audit to the annual general meeting
to report any financial irregularities to UNISON’s internal audit department.