Your Union

Writing a Council Paper

What is a Council Paper/ Motion?

A motion is a document that proposes a change to the Union’s Policies. Any full member of the Union (Imperial College students are all automatically fully members) is able submit a motion to Council in the form of a paper. All motions require a proposer and a seconder. A seconder is someone who supports the paper, they must also be a full member of the Union.

What subjects can be submitted?

Motions can be submitted on a range of topics from the decisions of the College and Union to International concerns, or even something that you are passionate about!

Previous topics the have been discussed Green Roof, Fossil Fuels, Counter Terrorism, Islamophobia and Tuition Fees.

Who can I discuss the motion with?

You can ask on the Sabbaticals Officers to help you, by sending them an email

Before writing, here are a couple of things to ask yourself

  • Is the campaign Relevant to students?
  • Have these issues already been addressed at Council?
  • Does the campaign have a clear goal and message?
  • Have I researched the area thoroughly? – Look at similar campaigns at other universities
  • Have I approached individuals or groups who might be interest in helping with the campaign?

How to Write a Council Paper

The paper should be structured as follows:

Title – Should be concise and comprehensible Proposed by – (member of Union proposing the paper) Seconded by – (member of Union in support of the proposed paper)

Union Notes (Facts) – establishing factual information on the topic.

Union Believes (Opinion) – What you believe consider to be true. This is where debate will come in. What you believe may not be what other councillors hold true.

Union Resolves (Actions) – What do you want to happen. Tell the Union what actions you would like to be taken by the organisation. Such as mandate officers to speak to college/external or what resources (time or physical) allocated.

Examples of previous papers can be found here.

Once papers have been written please send them to send to the Council Chair:

The proposer of the motion is expected to present their paper at Council, where it will be discussed.


An amendment is when you would like to make a change to any motions. Motion may also be amended in the meetings. The proposer may or may not accept the suggested amendment. If the proposer has rejected the amendment, Council will vote on it.

What happens next?

Motions will be taken to council to be discussed and voted on. Motions are passed by a simple majority, of over 50%. It the motion is successful it will then become part of Union Policy, insofar that it abides by Charity Law and other legal obligations. The Union Officer Trustees and proposer are the responsible for the actions to be carried out.

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