A Beginners Guide to Conference

Here's our quick guide to conference for newbies

New to the Party or to Conference? If there's anything you're unsure about, please contact Caroline at events@scottishgreens.org.uk, who'll be happy to help.

Most importantly: if you've never been to Conference, please come along and give it a try!

Conference is an important and enjoyable part of being a party member. It's the place where we can have our voices heard and exercise our democratic right to shape the Scottish Green Party, where we share ideas and learn from one another and where we can spend time with other Greens from across the country. This is your party and your conference – so come and join us! 

We always run a short 'Welcome to new people' session at conference, so look out for it in the programme. If you are not able to make the session there will also be a 'welcome zone'. This will have reading materials and will be staffed by friendly volunteers who'll come, say hello, answer your questions and help you feel at ease.

Conference has 4 main elements:

  • Speeches Held in plenary (everyone in the same room)
  • Annual General Meeting (AGM) - Once a year (usually autumn), also in plenary
  • Motions - Usually in plenary, very occasionally with a few other sessions in parallel 
  • Workshops and Fringe Sessions - Held every conference, on a range of subjects

Workshops & Fringes

What's the difference?

  • Workshops: run by the Party
  • Fringes: run by outside agencies/ organisations


Voting usually only happens at autumn conferences, which for this reason tend to be larger events. Votes are counted by a show of green (support), red (oppose) or white (abstain) cards at the end of each motion. Please be sure to hold your card up clearly to make it easier for the vote counters.

If you'd like to speak for or against a motion, Speaker’s Slips are available from SOC Table, at the front of the meeting hall.

During voting sessions, there are 4 Different Types of Motion

  • Policy Motions - Motions that add a new policy to the Policy Reference Document (PRD) or amends an existing one

    Example: "Motion:(1) Delete section 4.8.4 in its entirety and replace with the following: "We welcome the end of coal-fired electricity generation in Scotland…"
  • Constitutional Motions - Motions that seek to change the Constitution

    Example: “Reforming the Scottish Green Party's Complaints Procedure
  • Conference Motions - Motions where Conference instructs an organ of the Party to do something

    Example: “Repeal the Offensive Behaviour At Football Act
  • Emergency Motions - A very limited number of motions to address current issues, usually created much later on than ordinary motions.