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A Guide to Motion Writing 2024

Competence, Composite or Compost: Take a look at your motions

In order to help LMCs getting their motions accepted to the Agenda, and to try to avoid the criticisms that the LMC Conference Agenda comprises a large number of composite motions, we have written some guidelines to help make sure that the motions you send to the Conference of UK LMCs are competent.

Above all, remember that if your motion is debated, it might be passed – and it will then form policy. Anything that wouldn’t work as policy, doesn't work as a motion.

Motion headings

First of all, we would ask that you submit your motions under one of the following headings.

If you are unsure about which heading to submit your motion, then please use your best judgement and the Agenda Committee will review to see if they agree with where you have put it.

If you are unsure about which heading to submit your motion under, then there is a heading marked “Other”. However, we would ask you to try to submit your motion under a heading, even if you’re a bit unsure about it, as it does make the lives of the Agenda Committee and the Secretariat much easier.

The headings are:

  • Capacity demand and mismatch
  • Clinical, prescribing and dispensing
  • Digital, technology and data
  • Equality, inclusion and diversity in general practice
  • Funding principles, pay / DDRB and resources
  • Future proofing the role of the GP
  • General practice estates
  • GP Registrars and training
  • GPC / LMCs /BMA political structure Greener general practice
  • Health inequalities and population health
  • Non NHS and private GP work
  • Partnership and contractor models
  • Pensions
  • Primary / secondary interface
  • Professional standards, medico legal and regulation
  • Sessionals and portfolio ways of working
  • Wider practice team (clinical roles)
  • Wider practice team (non-clinical roles)
  • Other

When writing your motions, please bear in mind the following points:

  • Is it new? We need to best use the limited conference time. Consider current issues - what issues are new or have substantially changed? If the motion asks for something that has already been agreed, it will be marked as an ‘A’ motion and won’t be debated. So please remember to focus your energy and valued expertise in writing motions that are innovative and can be debated. Prior to drafting a motion, please check all the existing policies in the policy database to make sure that it is not existing policy.
  • Is your motion for UK Conference?

As this is a UK conference, please ensure that your motion is for the UK – any nation specific motions will be rejected and automatically placed in part two.

  • Is your motion didactic?

Narrow, constrained, didactic motions telling GPC to take specific actions may run the risk of asking for things that are undeliverable or not within the power of the GPC to give. Be more inclusive in your approach, and we can be more inclusive in ours.

  • What should be done?

Motions that include a proposal of action about a subject are far more useful in shaping policy, and therefore make better motions.

  • Write the motion, not the speech. If you feel that GPC should negotiate a certain issue just say so - do not write 100 words arguing the subject and submit it as a motion.
Stick to the rules. A motion should be one sentence, and it cannot have more than five parts. Motions must always begin with the phrase ‘That conference ’.
  • “Grammar maketh man”. Motions must be grammatically correct and unambiguous to be of any use. Please double check the motions for grammar, spelling and punctuation before submitting them, as technically the Agenda Committee have to use the motion as written.
  • Check the language. Please ensure that the motion actually makes sense!
  • Please do not reference nation specific bodies like NHS England, ICBs, CQC or Health Boards, for example, as that will also likely lead to your motion being rejected.
  • Quote at your own risk! Quotes run the risk of invalidating a motion if they contain any inaccuracy. Similarly, mentioning specific sums of money increases the risk of making a motion incompetent.

What makes an ideal motion?

Those motions which are pertinent, concise, well-constructed and concern a new and challenging issue, or include an attack on the status quo with minimal verbiage (and, possibly, those topped with a hint of humour!).

Although it might appear that we on the Agenda Committee love the look of our own well-crafted composites, we actually enjoy nothing more than heading a section of the conference agenda with a stonkingly good motion that says it all and says it well.

Updated on Thursday, 11 January 2024, 132 views