UK Youth Parliament Procedures Book Version 11

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1 UK Youth Parliament Procedures Book Version 11 1

2 Contents 1. Name, status, aims and objectives Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPs) Membership Allocations Role Description Code of Conduct and Commitment Term of Office Election Rules for Members of Youth Parliament Eligibility to Stand Procedures Group (PG) Name and Status Role Description Term of Office Voting allocations Election Rules Eligibility to stand for election Voting Notification and nomination process Conduct for election on the day Returning Officer Complaints about the elections Procedure for the removal of a PG Representative Meetings Democratic meetings Annual Sitting

3 House of Commons Sitting Procedures Group (PG) meetings Business meetings BYC Conventions Policy Policy making process Manifesto Policy UKYP Campaign Procedural Policy Changing the rules House of Commons Debate Leads Allocations Role Description Election Rules Eligibility to stand for election Voting Notification and nomination process Conduct for election on the day Returning Officer Complaints about elections Appendices Constituencies Deputising for a Member of Youth Parliament Flipping of MYP role Debate rules for Annual Sitting Big Vote Procedures Group representation from Wales and Scotland

4 1. Name, status, aims and objectives a) The United Kingdom Youth Parliament shall be referred to as UKYP. b) UKYP provides opportunities for year olds to use their voice in creative ways to bring about social change. 2. Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPs) 2.1. Membership Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPs) are elected locally and supported by their constituency. There are 359 seats across 201 constituencies. a) Any young person aged can stand to be an MYP. b) An MYP must stand down on their 19th birthday. Persons aged 19 and over will not be able to attend national events such as the Annual Sitting and the House of Commons Allocations a) Each constituency has an allocation of MYPs. b) These are based on the number of young people in the constituency to MYPs. 1. The allocation in England is 1 MYP per 22,900 young people. 2. The allocation in Northern Ireland is 18, based on parliamentary constituencies. 3. The allocation in Scotland is 25, based on 1 MYP per 22,900 young people. 4. The allocation in Wales is 24, based on 1 MYP per 22, 900 young people. 5. The allocation for the British Armed Force Bases Overseas is 2 based on one MYP per 22,900 young people Role Description a) The role of an MYP shall be to aim to: 1. support youth voice and actively engage with young people in their constituency; 2. promote the positive work of UKYP; 3. attend and participate in all BYC Conventions; Annual Siting and the UKYP House of Commons Sitting 4. create UKYP policy and campaigns; 5. meet regularly with other youth councils and forums in their area; 6. speak on behalf of their constituents; 7. take the views of their constituents to BYC Conventions, the Annual Sitting and the House of Commons Sitting and report on local campaigns; 8. ensure that the work of UKYP is not affiliated with any political party; 9. carry out other tasks as relevant in their constituency 4

5 10. take part in the UKYP national campaign consultation and support young people in their areas to take part too; 11. take part in votes on national policy and campaigns priority; 12. communicate to the media as appropriate and under BYC media guidelines; and 13. take news of UKYP s work back to their constituency Code of Conduct and Commitment a) Once elected MYPs must agree and sign a Code of Commitment and Conduct that is as follows Principles As an MYP you have the responsibility to uphold the following principles: The UKYP seeks to represent no party political view The discussions of the UKYP are to be solely issue based The UKYP will ensure that the young people of the UK are given a voice on any issue that affects them and as laid out in Article 12 of the UNCRC, as long as it does not affect the rights of others The UKYP will respect the issues as laid in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to ensure that every young person who participates in the work of the UKYP has his/her rights respected and protected Any young person aged 11 and up to 18, has the right to have his/her view heard and listened to by the UKYP As an elected MYP your duty is towards: - The young people who voted for you - The young people who didn t vote for you - Every young person in your LEA/Constituency Responsibility During your term of office it is your responsibility to: 1. Identify, discuss and debate issues of concern to young people. You could do this by getting involved in questionnaires, hold surgeries in schools, reply to letters and s, take part in meetings and respond to plans and consultations. 2. Act on those issues and identify how to make a change at a local level, or resist unwanted change. You must also follow up decisions or actions. You could do this by lobbying, meeting decision makers, organising consultations and campaigning. 3. Develop and increase the representation of young people to their benefit. You could do this by supporting your student and youth councils, working with the press to promote a positive image of young people in the media and take 5

6 opportunities to promote the need to involve young people at meetings and events you attend. Conduct As a representative of UKYP we ask you to comply with the following expectations of conduct when undertaking your duties: 1. Your choices and decisions should be informed by what your constituents believe. This is in addition to your own research 2. At all times you should act and communicate in a way that does not damage the reputation of UK Youth Parliament (and therefore the British Youth Council). Communication includes letters, phone calls, face to face meetings and social media. 3. Use a separate dedicated social media profile (such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter) for your role within UK Youth Parliament in order to avoid accusations of party political allegiance. If you would like to make party political statements on your personal profile it should contain no reference to UKYP. (See social media guidelines). 4. You should not represent any political party; you should respect and listen to the views of others, challenge discrimination and promote equal opportunities. Expectations The following are expected of you during your term of office: 1. It is important that you take your role and duty seriously when you are representing the UKYP, both in and outside UKYP meetings. 2. You must attend your local youth forum / cabinet meetings and other meetings in your constituency area and maintain regular contact with your worker, which includes answering and responding to s, texts, phone calls and letters. 3. At local and regional meetings you will be asked to report on what you have done and helped with an action plan. You must notify a worker in advance if you are unable to attend a meeting. This should be 48 hours in advance for a local meeting and 3 weeks for regional or national meetings (unless it is an emergency). 4. You should check UKYP related s at least once a week and respond to questions, consultations, meeting requests and anything else related to your role as a MYP. 5. When using the online groups MYPs should only post messages which are in accordance with the MYP Code of Conduct, and which conform to the BYC Child Protection and Equal Opportunities policies. 6. It is your responsibility to report any difficulties with s or communication to your worker so we can find a solution. You must report any changes to your 6

7 contact details (address, phone, etc.) or problems with receiving messages about UKYP within 10 days to your worker and to the regional co-ordinator. 7. It is your responsibility to report any changes in your medical needs or dietary requirements within 10 days to your worker and to the regional coordinator. Support In return for complying with the Code of Commitment and Code you will receive from UKYP and your worker: 1. Regular notice and information about meetings and events. 2. Opportunities to attend regional and national events, meetings and activities. Everyone will be offered these opportunities, but your commitment and what you have done in your term of office will be taken into consideration before agreeing you can attend. Sometimes places may be limited, or the staff and transport costs of attending events too high, so you may not be able to attend every event or meeting that is offered to you. 3. Transport costs to and from your home to all meetings in your role as a MYP should be covered by your Local Authority. Please speak to your Local Authority / BYC to ensure you are not out of pocket for any expenses. 4. Support from a worker to travel to and from regional and national meetings and events where your attendance has been agreed in advance with your worker. Travelling without a worker may be possible only if agreed in advance with parents/carers and your worker. 5. Appropriate refreshments and subsistence while taking your duties 6. Support with your own personal development and development of your role as a MYP to help you do the best you can. 7. Relevant and appropriate training and accreditation opportunities. Not delivering your responsibilities on behalf of the young people you represent, inappropriate behaviour or not meeting the expectations of what we require from an MYP may result in the implementation of a local or national disciplinary procedure. Any punishment or restrictions will be decided based on individual circumstances, but it could ultimately mean dismissal from UKYP Term of Office a) This will run from 1 March to 28/29 February each year Election Rules for Members of Youth Parliament Eligibility to Stand a) Candidates must: 7

8 i. be aged on the first day on their office. ii. live, work or volunteer for a minimum of 14 hours per week, or be in education for more than the equivalent of three school days a week, in the constituency in which they stand for election. They cannot stand in more than one constituency in the same year s election Elections a) Elections can be held at any time appropriate for the constituency, however it is suggested they take place in February to coincide with the national results day. b) Support staff from the constituency are responsible for the running of the elections and ensuring that they are run appropriately, elections to the UK Youth Parliament are not the direct responsibility of BYC support staff. c) MYPs must be elected, this can be done in the following ways: a. Directly elected (by young people in their constituency) b. Indirectly elected (by a youth council/another body who have previously been elected by young people in the same constituency) National Results Day a) A national results day will take place in February whereby all the results of UKYP elections across the UK will be announced. b) The Procedures Group will be responsible for setting the exact date every year. 3. Procedures Group (PG) 3.1. Name and Status a) A Procedures Group will support the UKYP programme, make procedural decisions and represent MYPs a) The Procedures Group shall be made up of 12 elected representatives, from the 9 English regions, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. b) The Procedures Group will decide which one of them represents the Members of Youth Parliament from British Forces Overseas Bases Role Description a) The role of the Procedures Group shall be to: 1. make national procedural decisions on behalf of, and in the best interests of, the MYPs in their region; 2. consult with and feedback to their region when making national decisions; 3. put aside personal opinion and biases; 8

9 4. read minutes, agendas and their attachments, to inform themselves of upcoming events, and transfer that information to their region/nation; and 5. support national consultations; 6. support the preparation and planning of the Annual Sitting and the House of Commons; 7. regularly check the PG communication channels; 8. contribute to national decision making on behalf of UKYP; 9. promote the positive image of UKYP; 10. support and work on the national campaign of UKYP; 11. to act as a positive role model for all MYPs; and 12. follow the PG Terms of Reference. 13. to ensure that minutes of Procedures Group meetings, if any, are made available, except where sensitive or confidential matters are discussed. 14. preparation and planning of MYP inductions 3.3. Term of Office a) PGs will start their term on 1 February and end on 31 January the following year. b) PGs are unable to hold the position of MYP whilst they are a PG representative. c) PGs can stand for re-election if they fit the election criteria at election time. d) The maximum term of office is two years subject to re-election. e) If a PG representative steps down prior to the induction residential and there is a sufficient amount of time to hold a by-election, then this will take place. f) If a PG representative steps down after this point, then the candidate who came second in the election will be approached to take up the role Voting allocations a) Voting within the PG will be based on a proportional system linked to the size of the region they represent. b) The percentages are allocated as follows: Northern Ireland % North East % Wales % East Midlands % Scotland % South West % Yorkshire and Humber % West Midlands % East of England % North West % London % South East % 9

10 3.5. Election Rules Eligibility to stand for election a) Candidates must be a serving MYP or existing Procedures Group representative. b) Candidates must be 18 or under (but at least 16 years old) on the first day of their term of office which is the 1 st February every year Voting a) The following roles are entitled to vote: 1. Members of Youth Parliament 2. PGs that are restanding. b) The election will take place at BYC Convention Notification and nomination process a) Notification of the PG election process should go out at least 5 weeks before the day of election. b) Candidates' manifestos should be sent to the relevant Youth Democracy Coordinator at least 21 days before the day of election. c) Manifestos will be circulated at least 14 days before the election Conduct for election on the day a) The voting system to be used is single transferable ballot. b) Speeches can be up to two minutes. c) The candidate who wins the election will be read out with rankings available upon request Returning Officer a) The Returning Officer is the Youth Democracy Manager. They are responsible for: 1. ensuring the election is run fairly and as smoothly as possible, in accordance with these election regulations and the UKYP rules; and 2. dealing with any disputes that may arise. b) Their deputies will be the Youth Democracy Coordinator in that region/nation and in the case of the Youth Democracy Manager not being able to attend the Youth Democracy Coordinator will take on the responsibilities and will make any rulings necessary. c) The ruling of the Returning Officer is final. 10

11 Complaints about the elections a) Any complaints must be ed to the Returning Officer by the deadline given on notification of elections. b) The Returning Officer will consider them and a ruling will be made. c) Candidates must not use these rules or the complaints procedure as a tactic to attack others. It is easy to see if this is the case and will not be tolerated. d) Abuse of the complaints procedure is a serious offence and could endanger a candidate s place in the election. e) No election results will be read out until all complaints are resolved. 3.6 Procedure for the removal of a PG Representative If 25% of the MYPs within a region/nation are unhappy with the conduct of their Procedure Representative they should: a) Share their concerns in writing with their Youth Democracy Coordinator. b) The Youth Democracy Coordinator will then discuss it with the PG member concerned and look into increasing support for the PG. c) Having shared their concerns, the MYPs will inform their Youth Democracy Coordinator that they wish to propose a Vote of No-Confidence. d) There will be a period of 14 days before the vote takes place to ensure the Youth Democracy Coordinator may oversee the process and ensure that both sides are enabled to put forward their case fairly. e) The vote of no-confidence will then be held at the suggested date and all MYPs and PG representatives will be informed a minimum of 7 days in advance of the vote. f) Prior to the vote both sides will write up and publish their case. g) All MYPs who are registered with BYC will be able to vote. h) The Youth Democracy Coordinator must keep records of the vote so that it may be verified. i) A simple majority is required for the vote of no confidence to be passed, i.e. if 51% or more MYPs who vote have no confidence in the PG representative, then that person will stand down from the position. j) If a vote of no confidence fails, another one cannot be called, on the same issue, within three months. 11

12 4. Meetings a) The business of UKYP will be split into two types: democratic and administrative Democratic meetings Annual Sitting a) UKYP will hold an Annual Sitting once a year. b) All indirectly or directly elected MYPs will be entitled to attend this event. c) The event is used to: 1. create and change national manifesto policy (see Appendix 4 for Big Vote rules); 2. provide an opportunity for MYPs from across the UK to network; 3. enable MYPs to meet with decision makers; 4. train MYPs in skills for their role; 5. and hold the PG to account House of Commons Sitting a) UKYP will hold a House of Commons Sitting once a year. b) All indirectly or directly elected MYPs will be invited to attend and numbers are strictly restricted to their allocations. c) The event is used to choose the national campaigns for UKYP for the following year. d) Debate Leads will be elected at Convention 2 to represent each of the regions and to speak on the issues voted on by MYPs and the young people they represent throughout Make Your Mark Procedures Group (PG) meetings a) PG representatives meet to make national procedural decisions on behalf of the MYPs in their region/nation. b) There will be a convenor who takes a record of decisions made and can act as a contact for staff. c) The PG has the right to set up sub-groups to deal with specific issues at their discretion. 12

13 4.2. Business meetings BYC Conventions a) BYC will hold Conventions across the regions and nations which MYPs and PG representatives will attend. Conventions are open to all young people engaged with BYC and will include a UKYP specific strand. b) Conventions will be coordinated by the regional Youth Democracy Coordinator and PG, supported by central BYC staff. c) At these meetings, MYPs will: 1. receive training appropriate to their role; 2. be involved in the national campaign; 3. meet with key decision makers; and 4. share best practice and network. d) At Convention 2, MYPs will also: 1. elect their PG representative; and 2. elect their Debate Lead. 5. Policy 5.1. Policy making process Manifesto Policy a) Manifesto policy will be added to the manifesto annually using the following procedure. 1. Manifesto statements from each MYP will be taken at the induction residential. 2. A list of these will be given to the PG policy group, statements already in the UKYP national manifesto will be filtered out. 3. Similar manifesto points will be combined and all the MYPs names who have contributed will be attributed. 4. The UKYP policy group will accept requests from MYPs to have their names removed from manifesto points that they do not feel comfortable supporting. 5. The final list of manifesto policy motions will be brought forward to a prioritisation round where each MYP votes for the ten issues they would like most to be debated at the Annual Sitting. 6. Manifesto motions will be voted on at the Annual Sitting with speeches for each motion and an open floor debate. 13

14 UKYP Campaign a) The UKYP reserved and devolved campaigns for the year will be decided via the Make Your Mark consultation campaign and a vote at the House of Commons Sitting Procedural Policy a) Procedural policy can be made without this structure by the Procedures Group through the basis of a vote Changing the rules a) The rules within this document can be changed by a vote of PGs showing a two thirds majority. 6. House of Commons Debate Leads 6.1. Allocations a) There are 15 Debate Lead positions across 5 issues made up of speeches for, speeches against and summations. b) Each region/nation and the British Armed Forces Bases Overseas will have one Debate Lead. The 2 regions/nations which will have an extra Debate Lead will be decided according to previous regional representation proportional to population. When voting PGs will: 1. take into account which regions have had additional speeches before; 2. take into account the population of the region; and 3. not have bias based on their own region Role Description a) The role of a Debate Lead shall be to: 1. deliver a speech in the House of Commons Sitting Election Rules Eligibility to stand for election a) Candidates must: 1. be a Member of Youth Parliament; 2. be able to attend the debate lead residential; and 3. have collected over 100 Make Your Mark Ballots Voting a) The following roles are entitled to vote: 14

15 1. MYPs attending BYC Convention 2 b) There will be no remote voting for Debate Leads Notification and nomination process a) The election will take place at BYC Convention 2. b) Candidates will be able to nominate themselves five weeks before the election and close three weeks before the election. c) Notification of candidates will be circulated by BYC two weeks before the election Conduct for election on the day a) All elections shall be held using single transferable ballot. b) All ballot papers shall include the option of Re-Open Nominations or RON. c) The candidate with the most votes will get elected Returning Officer a) The Returning Officer is the Youth Democracy Manager. They are responsible for: 1. ensuring the election is run fairly and as smoothly as possible, in accordance with these election regulations and the UKYP rules; and 2. dealing with any disputes that may arise. b) Their deputies will be the Youth Democracy Coordinator in that region/nation and in the case of the Youth Democracy Manager not being able to attend the Youth Democracy Coordinator will take on the responsibilities and will make any rulings necessary. c) The ruling of the Returning Officer is final Complaints about elections a) Any complaints must be ed to the relevant Deputy Returning Officer by the deadline given on notification of elections. b) The Returning Officer will consider them and a ruling will be made. c) Candidates must not use these rules or the complaints procedure as a tactic to attack others. It is easy to see if this is the case and will not be tolerated. d) Abuse of the complaints procedure is itself a serious offence and could endanger a candidate s place in the election. e) No election results will be read out until all complaints are resolved. 15

16 Appendices 1. Constituencies A constituency is the geographic area or group of people that elect an MYP to represent them at the UK Youth Parliament. 2. Deputising for a Member of Youth Parliament Where an MYP is unable to attend a local / regional / national event, the constituency may choose to send a young person to deputise for them. This young person must be selected from the local youth voice vehicle. Any person using the title Deputy Member of Youth Parliament is bound by the code of conduct for MYPs as stated above. 3. Flipping of MYP role It is not accepted practice to flip an MYP mid-way through an elected term of office. This is so that the national representatives of each constituency are the young people who won their elections, and therefore have a democratic mandate to speak on the behalf of young people in their constituency at a national level. 4. Debate rules for Annual Sitting Big Vote a) A statement will be read out before voting takes place on devolved issues reminding MYPs from devolved nations that they have the right to abstain. b) The Order of Debate is determined by the number of MYPs who proposed each motion. Each debate shall last up to 20 minutes with the Debate Chair having the discretion to close a debate at any time. c) A debate shall have an opening 'for' speaker, who will speak for up to 3 minutes. There will then be an open plenary debate with MYPs advised that their contribution should not exceed 1 minute. The debate chair shall select speakers with the Vice Chair responsible for noting down all those interested. d) In the event of the UK Youth Parliament prioritising two motions which oppose each other, it shall be competent to fold these into one debate, with an increase maximum limit of 25 minutes. There will then be a speaker for each motion with it then moving to plenary debate. At the vote, the Chair will outline that it is a decision between one or the other rather than a vote on both individually. e) In the rare event where two opposing motions also contrast with current policy, the Chair should follow the steps above. However, they should explain after the main speakers the current position. In the vote, a third option of retaining current policy will be introduced with MYPs advised that they can only vote for one of the three options (or to abstain) 16

17 f) All plenary contributors should speak for no longer than 1 minute. The Chair will call them to order after a minute and ask them to resume their place. g) At the close of a debate, there shall be a vote on the motion with the options of for, against and abstain (except in the circumstances above). Voting shall be by raising hands with the vote facilitated by the chair. h) The Vice Chair will confirm votes for the Chair to announce. In the event of a tied vote, as it has failed to be agreed by a majority of MYPs, the vote will fall. i) Any point of order shall be addressed by the Chair. Should a member wish to appeal against a ruling of the Chair, the Vice Chair shall provide the final ruling. 5. Procedures Group representation from Wales and Scotland Due to the differing youth democracy models in Wales and Scotland, Funky Dragon and Scottish Youth Parliament may elect a PG representative at their discretion as long as this representative is a reasonable equivalent of an MYP upon election or appointment. 17

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