Checklist for preparation

For NEU members:

  • Establish and note the essential facts. Ensure as far as possible that you know everything you need to be aware of and have all the relevant information and paperwork. Check the facts to be sure.
  • Find out if other NEU members are experiencing similar things – ask at a meeting, conduct a survey or ask informally.
  • Write everything down. Keep clear written notes of all conversations and copies of all correspondence.
  • Know your policies and key documentation. Copy, annotate and highlight relevant sections.
  • Check that NEU membership is up-to-date - if it isn’t, this will need to be rectified before any advice or representation is provided.

For NEU reps:

  • Check to see whether other members of the NEU are involved in the situation.
  • Ensure that the member is involved in decisions; discuss your plans in advance; and respect confidentiality.
  • Don’t worry about telling the member that you don’t know the answer. Seek support when you need to.
  • Publicise successes to build your members’ strength and confidence.

Checklist for meetings

Preparing your case

  • Arrange a pre-meeting. Make sure that you have clarified your position and the facts of the case as you will need to represent them to management / governors. Decide on your key arguments, tactics and any signals that you may use between you, such as the need to request an adjournment.
  • Consider likely arguments from the other side and prepare counter-arguments and answers to difficult issues. You can never be certain what they will say but it can be useful to anticipate their approach.
  • Know the policies and key documentation - it may help you to feel confident and look wellprepared if you take paperwork into the meeting with key sections or quotes highlighted.

Meeting with management / governors

  • If the room has been laid out in a way that disadvantages you, suggest that it is changed.
  • Never disagree in front of management. Steer discussion to your strongest points. Object if you get evasive answers and ask for facts if vague statements are made.
  • Use brief adjournments, when needed, to regroup or consider new information. If a longer adjournment is necessary, ask for one - and agree the new time and date before you leave.
  • Ensure there is an agreed, written record of the outcome.

Reporting back

  • If you have been successful, consider making sure that members and non-members know what has been achieved and use this to build your members’ strength and confidence.