The CAC met this month (13th Aug), on the agenda was the following:
- Reference Back
- Votes at Conference
- Disability Update
- Charity Partner Update
- Delegate Appeals
There are two parts to this item what can be referred back and what happens to reference backs. My report includes discussions prior to the meeting. It’s probably easier if I explain as a Q&A.
What is a Reference Back? Sounds like a Yoga position!
Reference Back was a new process which came into effect in 2017 from a Constitutional Amendment in 2016. It allows Conference to send back (or refer back) part of any policy document and still allow a vote on the whole document. A bit like online Tesco’s shopping, you can process the whole order – and find out later that they didn’t have your washing powder, but everything else was delivered instead of cancelling your whole order.
So at Conference a delegate can say “I would like to refer back paragraph 8 on the NHS regarding private contracts” and when the delegates vote on the whole document they know it’s not including that paragraph.
Are Reference Backs only for the NPF Report?
The current response is yes. However, I have asked for it to be referred to the NEC for ‘final’ interpretation given the volume of emails I have received on this. The rulebook (like most things) says a different thing depending on how you read it.
That final interpretation is on its way and I will update you. If it is other documents, then I can see a case for you not being able to meet the deadline of 21st September for documents released after the deadline date. However, I strongly advised to meet the deadline for reference backs on the NPF Report as there is not dispute in the rules about that report.
Does this mean you cannot ‘Reference Back’ the CAC report or the NEC report?
I have been advised you have never been able to do this. Although you can reject it in its entirety via a vote. However hopefully the NEC final interpretation will clarify.
What happened to last year’s Reference Backs?
We were informed by a member of the policy team that they are in the NPF report. Please let me know if you cannot see your reference back. We discussed (for further discussion after conference) communicating the journey of reference backs (and motions) back to the CLPs.
Votes at Conference:
We had a long and complicated discussion about votes at conference. The debates explored:
- Will the Democracy Review be voted on as a whole document or in sections?
- Can you refer parts of it back?
- What happens if there is a Constitutional Amendment (rule-change) that is up for vote that contradicts or goes further than what is in the Democracy Review?
- When will the Democracy Review be published for delegates to discuss with their CLPs and Affiliate Organisations?
We came to the conclusion we could not explore these questions (after exploring them!) as a lot of the decisions will be in the hands of the NEC and we won’t know until after 4th September 2018.
We agreed that the CAC will write to the NEC to express our logistical concerns and the impact on Constitutional Amendments (rule-changes) already ruled in.
I will update you (as I am sure CLP NEC Reps will too).
A site visit has taken place and the Chair of Disability Labour attended. I have been asked some specific questions
- Wheelchair Charging Points: There are three dedicated charging points. They will be clearly signposted and the sockets will be fixed at seated height. The stewards will be briefed on these areas and will politely ask people using them to charge their phones to not do this.
- Will disabled delegates be sitting with their delegation? As far as possible all disabled delegates will be seated with their delegation. The Party Staff will ensure that each delegation has at least one end row to allow this to happen. To ensure there is space the rule is 2 standard chairs removed for a small scoter or wheelchair and 3 chairs removed for a large scooter or wheelchair.
- How many lifts are there? 10. None of them are single lifts – so if one fails, there will be another. Signs will be going up to remind people priority is for people with mobility issues.
It’s been fantastic to get so much feedback from disabled members who have had experience at conference previously. Without your insight, things would not have changed. So please keep sending your feedback in.
I do want to flag up that this year the Conference is at the Liverpool ACC, it’s a modern and bigger building that already had taken DDA into account when built. However, next year we are scheduled to return to Brighton, which is an older building and smaller. The Party Staff were very open about their concerns and planning for next year has already begun (earlier than usual) to address some of the issues. I will keep you updated.
- The Fringe Campaign (click here) has started off well. So far the following organisations have signed up:
o Trade Union Coordinator Group (TUCG)
o Labour First
o The World Transformed
o Progress Online
A lot of organisations are still putting together their fringe events, but I am in talks with CLPD, Class and several others who are very keen to sign up.
This is not going to solve all of the access issues, some can be very complicated and require mass investment. However, feedback from previous Disabled delegates illustrated even some basic no-cost/low-cost things had not been in place that could make a huge impact on a large number of delegates with access issues. So this is to *improve* access.
Charity Partner Update
As reported last month the Charity Partner has been chosen, it is The Mayor of Liverpool’s Hope Fund. You can find out more about the charity by clicking here.
- CLP Fundraising: Thank you to the CLP Secretaries who have said they’d do a bit of fundraising at their Conference Motion meetings. If you can have a collection or raffle it would be appreciated. I understand fully that for some CLPs who are financially struggling this is not conducive. If you are pre-fundraising then you can donate directly to the charity via Labour Party Just Giving by clicking here.
- Charity Video: We are making a video to help promote the charity during conference. The video will feature John McDonnell, Tom Watson and Dawn Butler (Dawn TBC).
The Labour Party events team are meeting with the charity to decide on the last bits.
As explained last month there was a confusion on who exact was handling rejected delegate appeals coming to the CAC. That has now been rectified and they came to the CAC meeting on Monday (13th Aug).
In total there were 43 appeals to the CAC from CLPs. This is not all of the rejected delegate applications (57) as some chose not to appeal although all were informed they could.
We took into account that the time we had to go over each case and debate them on merit and came back with a formula:
- We would give all delegates (24) who missed the deadline 7 days to re-apply.
o There were various reasons people missed the deadline and we did not feel we had the time to judge who’s reasons were more valid than others.
- We would give all CLPs (12) who did not meet the Gender Requirement 7 days to re-apply and rectify this.
o It is appreciated that for a small amount of the CLPs, this might not be helpful however many of the CLPs in their appeal had indicated they had subsequently found a Woman delegate but could not register them as the registration was closed.
- We would give all CLPs (7) who sent a member with insufficient membership 7 days to find an alternative.
As a CLP Secretary myself, I recognise how hard Conference is and the fact we are all volunteers. I asked in the July meeting and reiterated that in this meeting that I wanted to review the registration and payment system. I will be constructing a survey for CLP Secretaries to inform that review, although I’ve experienced problems myself – I’ve not experienced your experiences.
The Conference Services team do an amazing job and the whole operation is very huge and complicated. I know they’d welcome a way they don’t have to sit there and copy/paste rejection emails.
Scottish Representation at Conference:
I have not chased this up, but I will do. I am interested to see how many Scottish CLPs are registered this year and see if there is an increase from the last few years. After this conference I do want to find out why some CLPs from Scotland are not sending delegates and then we can explore how to rectify that.
I know from some of the discussions and emails I have had with Scottish CLP Secs, the barriers are financial and due to distance etc. But it would be helpful if I collected those conversations in one place and was able to give it to people who can do something with it.
What happens to Conference Motions?
I am in discussions with Andrew Fisher, Director of Policy. They are preliminary discussions due to leave. But I will update in my next report.
The Women’s Conference motions can be downloaded WCAC1. These are pre-composite so could change, drastically. If you are a delegate, your CLP Secretaries would have got an email covering the Women’s Conference. The Women’s Conference runs slightly differently to the wider conference, mainly due to it only being one day. It has it’s own Conference Arrangements Committee Chaired by a member of the National CAC. Your CLP Reps on the Women’s Conference Arrangements Committee are Teresa Clark and Jean Crocker.
CLP Secretaries Forum Conference Event
Thank you to Jennie Formby for sponsoring our CLP Secretaries Meet Up (aka an hour to escape) event at Conference this year.
It will be on Monday 24th September 2018, 5pm – 6pm in Room 7 inside the ACC Liverpool (it is within the secure zone so you’ll need a conference pass).
It is acknowledged that without CLP Secretaries we’d have no conference as there would be no Constitutional Amendments or Contemporary Motions submitted, no elections to elect delegates and a lot more of the things that is done voluntarily to make it all work. Obviously as a CLP Secretary I am totally biased but do think we need more love – and am really glad the General Secretary has organised this event.
If you have any questions please email me – I realise the closer we are getting to conference the more questions you have, especially those of you who are CLP Secretary for the first time. The CLP Secs forum on Facebook is also a good place to not only get me but actually other Secretaries answer before me and give good answers, advice and share experience of how they overcame similar problems
Please read my previous monthly reports by clicking here