Consultation on political fund review: December-January

Rule changes need to be be submitted for NDC 2017 to comply with Trade Union Act regulations coming into force in February 2018

UNISON speaking up for public services placards tied to railing

The government announced earlier this month that new rules on union political funds will come into effect on 29 February 2018 after a 12-month transition that starts on 1 March 2017.

For UNISON’s rules covering political funds to comply with the law by that date, any changes will need to be agreed at the 2017 national delegate conference in June.

And before that, those proposed rule changes need to be agreed by the political fund committees, approved by the Certification Officer and submitted by the NEC for debate at NDC. The deadline for submisions to NDC is in February.

All of that gives the union a very tight timetable, but the union remains committed to the widest possible consultation.

Regions, branches, regional Labour Link committees and self organised groups are invited to take part in a consultation about the way ahead, which must be completed by 24 January 2017.

The union is looking for a way forward that will address:

  • the need to maintain the union’s campaigning ability and capacity;
  • the need to maintain the union’s historic affiliation to the Labour Party;
  • the need to protect the union’s income.

A consultation document is being distributed across the union, to help focus discussions and to provide information, and can be downloaded from the website

Responses to the consultation should be sent to by 24 January 2017.

The Trade Union Act does not cover Northern Ireland. However, the review will have to be aware of any changes that affect members in Northern Ireland, who currently pay a lower base rate and have the option of opting in to the general political fund.