Students' Union Affairs

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1. Events

Amended 29th April 2008 (381st Meeting Union Council)
Re-adopted 9th June 2011 (403rd Meeting Union Council)
Amended 8th December 2011 (406th Meeting Union Council)
Re-adopted and amended 5th May 2015 (426th Meeting Union Council)
Re-adopted and amended 10th May 2018 (434th Meeting Union Council)
Protected until 10th May 2020
Primary Officer: Activities
Secondary Officer: Sports

This policy proposes the union resolves the following:

This Union believes that its events (including activities) should be ethical and non-degrading to its members.

The Union resolves that no events should break any laws, or engage in any illegal activity.

This Union resolves that events should be inclusive and not exclude any of its members. No members will be explicitly/implicitly denied participation or access to an event. Events can be targeted towards certain members of the student populous.

This Union further believes that its events and those of its associated and affiliated student groups should not exclude those who do not wish to consume alcoholic drinks. No member will be explicitly/implicitly denied participation to an event because they do not wish to consume alcohol. Events can be designed or targeted towards members of the union who do wish to consume alcohol.

This Union further believes that initiation events based around new or existing members performing tasks to gain credibility within the group are degrading and a barrier to participation. For example the consumption of food, alcohol or parading of nudity and should not be organised by student groups.

This Union resolves that none of its events should bring harm or distress to an animal.

This Union resolves that none of its events or those of its associated and affiliated student groups should be promoted as ‘slave auction’ events as these are offensive in particular to BME Students.

This Union resolves that its events should be culturally sensitive and should not offend any culture.

This Union resolves that whenever alcohol is offered, as a prize or as part of an event, Student Groups must ensure that a non-alcoholic option is also available and offered to recipients. This does not include Gifts. A prize is defined as something that is ‘won’ as part of a competition. A ‘Gift’ is a recognition of an individual or groups work and is not ‘won’.

This Union resolves that Student Groups must not encourage members to drink more alcohol than they desire.

This Union resolves that Student Groups should promote socially responsible drinking when events/activities involves consumption of alcohol.

This Union resolves that all reasonable efforts should be made to ensure that disabled students are not excluded from events it or its associated and affiliated groups run.

This Union resolves that any event should avoid creating excessive noise in public areas, leave any area in a fit and proper state after use and provide consideration for those not participating in the event but who are in close proximity.

This Union resolves to consider the social and environmental impact of their events and activities (e.g. waste management).

This union resolves that an Events guidance document shall be created to support this policy. The document should outline the requirements of events from a legal, insurance and university standpoint. This document should be reviewed annually and signed off by the Full time Officer Committee.

2. Alcohol/Shisha at Events

10th May 2018. (434th Meeting Union Council)
Protected until 10th May 2020
Primary Officer: Activities
Secondary Officer: Sports

This policy proposes that the union resolves the following:

This Union resolves that Students Groups have the autonomy to name their events as they wish providing the names are not offensive, derogatory or insinuate irresponsible drinking as the sole purpose of their event. Phrases that insinuate irresponsible drinking include but are not limited to following examples ‘boozing’, ‘wasted’ and ‘wrecked’. In the event of doubt, students should consult members of the events team or the Activities Officer.

This Union resolves that it is permissible for event names to have connotations with drinking e.g. bar crawl/pub quiz/wine tasting etc.

This Union resolves that when a student group includes alcohol in the name of their event, groups must provide a disclaimer in the description of their event to ensure that there will be non-alcoholic alternatives available/provided.

This Union resolves that there shall be no mandatory monetary minimum spending cap on drinks prices where events take place.

This Union resolves that promotional material can include naming alcohol in the name of an events, pictures of alcoholic drinks and descriptions that include drinks deals.

This Union resolves that when student groups promote alcohol in the name/graphics/description of their events, student groups must highlight the risks of drinking and promote responsible drinking in the event description.

This Union resolves that student groups are permitted to organise events with Shisha and host ‘Shisha Nights’.

This Union resolves that when student groups organise shisha events or ‘shisha nights’, groups must provide a disclaimer with the risks affiliated with smoking shisha.

The union resolves that venues serving shisha should provide the risks associated with smoking. These may be provided by the union.

This Union resolves that when student groups organise shisha events, the group clarifies that those who do not smoke shisha are still welcomed at the events.

This union resolves that when a student group is denied/rejected or asked to change part of their event, the Activities Officer should be notified by the events team.

The Activities officer shall investigate and scope creating an events panel to review events that are under dispute.

3. Changes to Officer accountability

9th February 2016. (428th Meeting Union Council)
Responsible Officer: All Officers

Why the need to change?

  • The role, responsibilities and powers of the Scrutiny panel are very loosely defined, and would benefit from clarification.
  • Scoring is at the discretion of panellists at the start of their term. This lacks consistency between years, and is defined at a time before the panel gain experience of what might be the best way of scoring. Change is needed for consistency and to help panellists by allowing them to contextualise their scores in the context of scores from previous officers.
  • Finding two members of another Students’ Union has sometimes provided problematic. Reducing the number of external people to assist from two to one is needed to reduce the cost to the Student’s Union. Opening the advisory position up to previous officers and panellists is needed to allow the panel to benefit from a wider range of expertise, and come to more accurate scores and conclusions.
  • An instance of Students’ Union staff modifying scores without panellists’ knowledge last year, although eventually corrected handled, leaves cause for concern. A better defined process for scoring is needed to protect the integrity of the scoring system and the panel.
  • Provision for the involvement of the student press is needed to increase wider student engagement with the panel, as well as promoting student media opportunities and makes clearer to the chair the appropriateness of audience involvement, which was previously simply at their discretion.
  • Timings are not defined presently, and defining them is needed to make things clearer for the incoming panel and chair. Giving the panel the power to request extra time will mean that no problem avoids scrutiny simply because of time restraints, which will allow the panel to make better and more informed decisions.
  • The Democratic Procedures Committee and Elections Committee are an important part of the union and are accountable to the Scrutiny panel. Allocating a small amount of extra time highlights their importance and gives the panel much needed time to inquire about their activities.

Specific provisions of them motion

Changes to Scrutiny Panel:

Ratings

  • Panellists are to secretly rate each officer from 1-10, and may use integers or half scores. The total should be averaged to the nearest integer.
  • Ratings are to be as follows:
    • 1-2 Unacceptable
    • 3-4 Poor
    • 5-6 Adequate
    • 7-8 Good
    • 9-10 Exceptional

Scoring

  • Only elected panellists may be present when scoring and averaging the scores and Students’ Union Staff are prohibited from altering any scores.

Assistance

  • One officer of another union, previous officer of Nottingham student union or former scrutiny panel member may be present to assist. They may not be present during scoring.
  • A postgraduate student would be invited to advise the panel.

Student engagement with the Students’ Union

  • One question may be asked from the student press, at the end, for each officer. This is at the discretion of the chair, who is advised to give affiliated Student Run Services (e.g. URN, Impact, etc.) precedence.

Time

  • Each officer shall be questioned for 15 minutes.
  • In the case of an officer who is also the chair of the Democratic Procedures Committee or Elections Committee, this shall be lengthened to 20 minutes.
  • Panellists may request up to an additional 15 minutes.

Chair of Democratic Procedures Committee/Elections Committee

  • The chairs of the Democratic Procedures Committee and Elections Committee are to produce a short report for each scrutiny panel (where activity has occurred since the last panel).
  • The Scrutiny Panel may request them to attend to ask questions, for a maximum of 15 minutes.

What the motion is asking the Students' Union to be mandated to do

  • The motion is being taken to Union Council to gain student backing before this is proposed to Democratic Procedures Committee to review these changes.

4. Condemn Anti-Semitism and commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day

13th December 2016. (430th Meeting Union Council)
Responsible Officer: Community Officer

Anti-Semitism

Why you are proposing the idea

Whilst it is the responsibility of all to stand up to anti-Semitism whenever and wherever it manifests, students’ unions must take the lead in condemning anti-Semitism on campus, investigate any allegations and take serious action against perpetrators.

 

What evidence you have to back up your idea

The past two years have seen some of the highest ever recorded number of anti-Semitic incidents in the UK. In 2014, the Community Security Trust recorded 1,168 incidents against British Jews and 924 in 2015.

This year has seen an increasing number of anti-Semitic incidents taking place on university campuses across the country.

Following the resignation of the Co-Chair of the Oxford University Labour Club, it had become apparent that despicable comments and behaviour had been displayed towards Jewish students and it was clear that anti-Semitism was rife within the club.

Many of the comments included references to the existence of a “New York – Tel Aviv axis” that rigs elections, and said that “we should be aware of the influence wielded over elections by high net- worth Jewish individuals.”

These comments amongst others contain the hallmarks of a widely recognized conspiracy theory that Jewish people “control the world’s media, wealth and power.”

This has been used throughout history as a reason to commit unjustified violence towards Jewish people around the world.

Further to this, earlier this year posters were found on University Park campus with the words “Hitler Was Right.” Similar posters were also found at the University of Birmingham. This incident left Jewish students feeling particularly intimidated at this university.

These examples represent only the tip of the iceberg of a wider problem. When anti-Semitism is left unchallenged, it leaves many Jewish people feeling unwelcome and unsafe.

What the motion is asking the Students' Union to be mandated to do?

University of Nottingham Students’ Union should condemn anti-Semitism and the Officer team will investigate any allegations made by students.

University of Nottingham Students’ Union has an important responsibility to ensure that Jewish students feel safe on campus and are free to fully express their Jewish identities without fear.

Anti-Semitism shall be defined in accordance with the ‘Working Definition of Anti-Semitism’ adopted by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency in 2005: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Who supports your idea/who you have consulted with about it.

  • University of Nottingham Jewish Society
  • Nottingham Labour Students
  • Nottingham University Conservative Association
  • The Stand With Me Campaign

Holocaust Memorial Day

Why you are proposing the idea

The Holocaust was a genocide which killed 6 million Jewish people and 5 million others, including LGBTQ individuals, disabled people, people of Roma descent and political opponents.

Nazi ideology aimed to create racial purity because it was believed that all other races were inferior. People were systematically killed in concentration and death camps across Europe based solely on their religion, ethnicity, politics and behaviour.

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on the 27th January every year. This marks the liberation of Auschwitz- Birkenau, the largest of the Nazi death camps.

Holocaust Memorial Day commemorates the victims of the Nazis as well as those killed subsequently in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

It is a day to not only remember, but to honour the survivors of these hateful regimes and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experience to inform our lives today.

What evidence you have to back up your idea

There has been a massive growth in Holocaust Memorial Day activities – over 5,590 activities took place across the UK for Holocaust Memorial Day in 2016.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust oversees the work of many organisations to ensure the life stories of survivors are shared with hundreds of thousands of people.

With very few survivors remaining, it is important that the memory of the Holocaust does not die with them and now is the time to hear their stories.

What the motion is asking the Students' Union to be mandated to do?

The University of Nottingham Students’ Union should commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day on an annual basis.

The Officer team should encourage and facilitate students to organise events to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day

Who supports your idea/who you have consulted with about it.

  • University of Nottingham Jewish Society
  • Nottingham Labour Students
  • Nottingham University Conservative Association
  • The Stand With Me Campaign

5. Give UoN Students a Voice: Integrate Voter Registration

2nd March 2017. (431st Meeting Union Council)
Responsible Officer: Community Officer

What do you want to change?

We want to see the Students Union lobbying for the integration of Voter Registration of Students into the University Student Enrolment System to simplify voter registration for students both starting university and continuing studies but at a new term time address. This proposal will be led by the SU Communities Officer.

All the Students Union Officers shall sign a letter to the Vice Chancellor calling for a meeting to discuss integration and aim for integration.

The Students Union will ensure that within the integrated system it is made clear that Irish Citizens along with citizens from specific Commonwealth countries, Crown Dependencies, Overseas Territories and former residents of Hong Kong who hold a British Dependent Territories, British Nationals (Overseas) or British Overseas passport qualify for voter registration.

The Students Union will ensure it is made clear within the integrated system that EU Nationals can register to vote but shall only be able to vote in local elections – this may be subject to change upon leaving the EU.

The Students Union will lobby for the University to establish data sharing and processing arrangements in order to register students with the following local authorities to cover students at all our sites: Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire County Council (Broxtowe Borough Council + Rushcliffe Borough Council), Leicestershire County Council (North West Leicestershire District Council)and Derby City Council.

Why?

  • Student participation in democracy and the electoral process is a good thing and should be encouraged.
  • Students register to vote in chronically low numbers; when students do register, they often do not do so at their term-time address.
  • The move to individual voter registration in 2014 meant that many students who were previously registered dropped off the electoral register; an estimated 800,000 people in total were lost from the electoral register following the change.
  • Chronically low turnout among young people has mean that governments have often failed to act in students’ interests, for example by raising tuition fees.
  • Recent elections and referendums have shown a disconnect between the views of students and those of the majority of voters. While students and young people voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU referendum, the national result did not reflect this.
  • Voter registration has been integrated with enrolment at other comparable institutions including the University of Sheffield and University of Birmingham. At Birmingham, where this policy has been introduced, 2040 students had registered to vote during enrolment as of 1 September 2016.

Supported by:

  • Community Officer
  • Amnesty International Society
  • Biology Society
  • International Officer
  • English Society
  • Women’s Officer
  • Heart Soc
  • Left Society
  • Lillian Greenwood MP for Nottingham South
  • LGBT Officer
  • Medieval Society
  • BME Officer
  • Nordic Society
  • Nottingham Debating Union
  • Nottingham University Conservative Association
  • Night Owls
  • Physics Society
  • Out in Education
  • Table Tennis Society
  • Sociology Society
  • STAR (Student Action for Refugees)
  • Stop The Traffik Society
  • Sustainability Society
  • University of Nottingham Classics Society
  • University of Nottingham Labour Society

6. The Right to Protest

10th May 2018. (434th Meeting Union Council)
Protected until 10th May 2020
Primary Officer: President
Secondary Officer: All Officers

This Union notes:

That the University has recently published a new ‘Code of Discipline for Students: A guide for University of Nottingham students’.

That the Code stipulates that it is ‘in place to ensure that good standards of communal life are maintained…on or off University premises’.

That the Code lists as reasons for breaching said Code as:
Disruption of the activities of the University (including academic, administrative, sporting and social on University premises or elsewhere.
Disruption of the functions, duties or activities of any student, staff member or visitor.

That breaches of the Code can lead to disciplinary action against our Members.

This Union believes:

That peaceful and lawful protest is a legitimate course of action that the Union must defend.

That the wording of the Code of Discipline for Students could easily be misconstrued to curtail peaceful and lawful protest.

That disciplinary action against students undertaking peaceful and lawful protest is contradictory to maintaining ‘good standards of communal life’ and unnecessary.

That the Union has a role in supporting and facilitating peaceful and lawful protest, both on and off campus where appropriate.

That the Portland Building, as the focal point of the Union, should be a space where students are able to participate in peaceful and lawful protest.

This Union resolves:

To support and defend the rights of our members to take part in peaceful and lawful protest, whatever its forms and wherever it is necessary.

To lobby on behalf of our Members to obtain written assurances that the Code of Discipline for Students shall not be used as a means to curtail peaceful and lawful protest.

To fully support all students who may find themselves subject to disciplinary action as a result of peaceful and lawful protest and to reject any implication that taking part in said action is in any way grounds for disciplinary action.

7. Creation of new Part Time Officer for Part Time and Distance Learners

10th May 2018. (434th Meeting Union Council)
Protected until 10th May 2020
Primary Officer: President
Secondary Officer: All Officers

What?

The Union will create a New Part Time Officer specifically to serve Students who study at the University Part Time and as Distance Learners.

The Union will further investigate the creation of a network for this demographic and potentially joining the network with the Mature Students Network as a joint network to reflect the NUS’s structure where they are combined as the Mature and Part Time Students Section.

The Union will investigate a name that makes sense for this Officer position.

Why?

Part Time Students make up a significant proportion of the students here at the University of Nottingham. Sourced from Student Statistics data for 2016-2017 the number was 4128, 2015/2016 was 4360 and 2014/2015 was 4577. We currently do not directly represent this group of students nor distance learners (who may or may not be covered under the classification of part time by the University for the purposes of the statistics quoted).

There has been a national collapse in Part-Time students with reports suggesting numbers have collapsed by as much as 56%. Many experts have suggested that this has been due to decreasing financial support coupled with the government raising the cap on part-time fees in 2012.

The result in many universities especially the Russell Group has been (to quote Professor Claire Callender of Birkbeck University ““The Russell Group has pretty much pulled out of part-time undergraduate education.”

A cursory glance of statistics for our University shows that our undergraduate part time numbers seem to held quite constant – which is positive, (the author of this policy would like it known he was unable to access the figures for the 2011/2012 year though for comparison of both undergrads and postgards). But we must have direct representation of this demographic so to prevent the national trend from becoming a reality here and to understand the needs of these students so they can be represented better on a national level.

The fall in part-time students is also replicated in Mature Student demographics nationally who many are part- time learners.

There is also concern to be had in regards to the claims of this government that more students than ever from disadvantaged backgrounds are coming to university since fee increases. For full-time students for these demographics nationally there is some evidence that 7% increase has been seen. HOWEVER this is dwarfed by the 47% fall in part-time students from these same demographics.

8. Postgraduates Who Teach

10th May 2018. (434th Meeting Union Council)
Protected until 10th May 2020
Primary Officer: Postgraduate Officer
Secondary Officer: Education Officers

This Union Notes:

The NUS and UCU drafted a Postgraduate Employment Charte calling for fair employment rights. These include fair and equal access to employment opportunities, a letter of appointment, clear job description and terms and conditions, the right to belong to a trade union and be involved with the activities of the union, full induction training, and pay for all hours worked.

Currently we know that not all of these conditions are being met with there being large variations in employment conditions in practice. Whether Postgraduate part time teachers are receiving full induction, equal access to employment, and pay for all hours worked are just a few example of issues experienced at Nottingham.

It is inevitable that UoNSU and the University of Nottingham will continue to employ Postgraduates.

A project is currently taking place within University of Nottingham Human Resources in collaboration within UoNSU and UCU, in order to establish a fairer contract for Postgraduates who teach and demonstrate on a part time basis.

Work is currently taking place within UoNSU to identify issues relating to postgraduate engagement.

This Union Believes:

University of Nottingham should be sector leaders in terms of conditions and practice for postgraduate teachers.

Quality employment conditions for postgraduates who teach translates into better morale, which in turn leads to a better working environment for Postgraduates and a better learning environment for undergraduates.

Postgraduates currently do not strongly associate with UoNSU. Supporting their rights as students and employees of the University will strengthen the Postgraduate affiliation and the Postgraduate Students’ Network Community.

This Union Resolves:

To mandate the Postgraduate Officer to continue to work on the development of a fair and equitable settlement for PG’s who teach in terms of contracts and conditions of employment.

To lobby UoN to adopt the recommendations of the Postgraduate Employment Charter where relevant.

To continue working with UCU to push for continuation of the investigation into working conditions of PGs who teach and their conditions of employment.

To continue to develop our strategies of engagement with a traditionally hard to reach group of students.

To mandate the Postgraduate Officer and Postgraduate Students’ Network to help any relevant and reasonable activities that PGRs and the PGR Network Reps, or any other interested students, may wish to undertake in support of the campaign.

Once this contract is in place this motion will also mandate the Postgraduate Officer to continue to engage with UCU, UoN HR and the annual review process of the contract.

9. Trade Unions and Students' Unions

10th May 2018. (434th Meeting Union Council)
Protected until 10th May 2020
Primary Officer: President

This Union Notes:

The National Union of Students has worked in collaboration with trade unions since the 1950s.

The University of Nottingham Students’ Union has no clear policy on trade union membership for its career or student staff.

The University of Nottingham Students’ Union are in the process of developing their second five year strategy which includes a section on life after University.

Staffing issues are to be decided by the Trustee Board, however Council can indicate a stance and request work be undertaken by the Board.

University of East Anglia (UEA) Students’ Union have recently undertaken a forward thinking partnership with GMB union for their student staff, providing free membership of GMB and actively encourage membership.

This Union Believes:

In order to be prepared for life after University, students need to understand their employment rights.

Partnering with trade unions will support students develop their learning and understanding of the workplace and employment rights, and further enhance the work towards the aims of our new strategy.

The Students’ Union, by virtue of its very existence, recognises that there is power in a union. Collective action delivers powerful results for all.

In developing working relationships with trade unions we can achieve stronger negotiating and campaigning leverage when tackling issues relevant to students within the wider University community.

Some PGR students already feel disenfranchised with the Students’ Union; having a better, more formal relationship with UCU could improve this.

This Union Resolves:

To request that the President, in their role as the Chair of Trustee Board, should investigate the development of People Policy to promote trade union membership and formal recognition by the Students’ Union.

To investigate UEA’s recent agreement with GMB as a potential model for developing relationships with trade unions.

The Students’ Union should promote, through their central channels, the availability of free UCU membership for PGR students.

10. Student Run Services: Development and Next Steps

10th May 2018. (434th Meeting Union Council)
Protected until 10th May 2020
Primary Officer: Activity Officer

What?

To work to clarify the place of Student Run Services within the governance of the Union, taking into account their different roles and functions and acknowledging that they may diverge into different models under our governance to better suit their needs.

To work with media groups to create a communications strategy that provides adequate support around key Union events, such as varsity or elections, and that acknowledges their role in holding our Union to account and informing our membership. This plan should give them adequate time to prepare reports on embargoed information, but also acknowledges both the need for the Union to treat such information sensitively, and that at times information may arrive at short notice to the Union. In instances where information arises as short notice, there should be reasonable provisions within the communication strategy.

To review our training offer to Student Run Services and investigate where we can provide additional bespoke training and support to their members. This should be reviewed annually, taking into account feedback and reflections from Student Run Service members, staff and Officers.

To investigate potential models for recognition and celebration, such as balls, via a committee of one interested member from each Student Run Service Exec and the Activities Officer.

Why?

‘Student Run Service’ is a catch all term for the providers of a wide variety of different services and opportunities for University of Nottingham students. This can be unhelpful given how differently they all operate, and work should be done to clarify their status within our governance and develop a model, or models, that fit their needs best.

Our media groups are key providers of information to our membership and their role in keeping our Union accountable via scrutiny is invaluable. We should create a plan to help them plan for key events, be factored in early to the planning of those events, and to work to ensure they are able to report to the best of their ability on embargoed information, with reasonable allowances.

Because how our Student Run Services work can vary, their training needs can do as well. In reviewing our offer we can see what works, what doesn’t, and make changes to deliver the best service for our students.

Student Run Services should collaborate with the Activities Officer to investigate potential models for recognition of their valuable efforts, identifying key needs and reflecting on what has or hasn’t worked in the past to inform decisions.

11. Transparency and Ethics of Relationships Between UoNSU and External Providers

10th May 2018. (434th Meeting Union Council)
Protected until 10th May 2020
Primary Officer: President

This Union Notes:

That whilst there is a due diligence process for commercial agreements, there is currently no student oversight of this process.

That we are a membership-led organisation that puts students at the heart of everything we do.

That there is a Full Time Officer Committee that shall ‘Be the coordinating body of the Union’ (Byelaws: Officers of the Union (7.ii.))

This Union Believes:

In the principle of being led by our membership and having student oversight in all of our activities.

In having student oversight of the due diligence process of any external agreements between student groups and externals to ensure our work is values-based.

In having professional support from our established staff teams to ensure the best decisions are made in the interests of our members.

This Union Resolves:

The relevant staff teams shall submit updates on external agreements to the Full Time Officer Committee to allow elected Officers to raise concerns or queries where any arise.

The Committee shall receive updates on commercial interactions, from enquiry stage through to the final stage, to the weekly officer meeting, and for officers to raise concerns or queries where any arise.

To allow the Committee to raise concerns and instigate further discussion where necessary.

Where the Committee agrees that an agreement is inappropriate or inconsistent, they may request further clarification or request further work be carried out to alleviate the concerns of the Committee.

To review the organisational structures of the Union at large to ensure student oversight is built in as standard.

To lobby the University on behalf of our membership where they have entered into an agreement with an external entity that is deemed to be inconsistent with our values and to support our members should they wish to undertake peaceful and lawful protest on matters related to this policy.

To allow Full Time Officers to submit amendments to this policy where appropriate to ensure its continued working in practice.