FThe February CAC Meeting took place on 18th February 2019. The agenda items were as follows
- Arrangements for selecting speakers from the conference floor
- Brighton Site Visit
- Registration Process
- Motions Referred to the NEC
- Democracy Review update
- Conference Charity
- Reduced Rate Exhibition Stands
- Replacement Delegate Process
- Expenses (Delegates and CAC Members)
- Journey of Motions
For ease of reading, I’ve changed the headings in my report.
Speakers From Conference Floor:
A debate took place about how speakers are selected from the conference floor. It was accepted that not everyone will get a turn, however there are things the CAC can do to improve the selection. Using Conference passes to ascertain if someone has already spoken will assist with ensuring people do not get more than one opportunity.
The CAC agreed that we would obtain an analysis of speakers to ensure there is a diversity of voices to the podium.
Accessibility For Brighton 2019:
Brighton is the destination for the 2019 Conference, and the Hilton Hotel will be the main Conference hotel. Work has already commenced in terms of security and addressing some of the accessibility issues.
Representatives from Disability Labour will attend a site visit in March 2019 to start to look at the access issues. The CAC and the Events Team are clear that there will be accessibility issues due to the architecture of Brighton (cobbled streets, narrow lanes and hills) and the venue being older than Liverpool ACC.
I am glad to hear that Disability Labour are much more involved in the organisational aspects of Conference and at an earlier stage. They are also assisting with the pre-Conference accessibility questionnaire.
The CAC agreed to ask Disability Labour to feedback to the next CAC meeting on any issues or updates they wish for us to be aware of.
Last year I saw a number of issues come my way in regards to the registration process, some of the common ones are below:
Responsibility of Registering: We had a couple of people say that they thought the CLP Secretary was responsible for registering (that is understandable as the registration information is sent to the CLP Sec). Likewise CLP Secs said the delegate was responsible (that makes sense as a CLP Sec would not have things like delegate passport numbers or country of birth etc).
Payment: There were some delegates who felt unable to pay in advance and be reimbursed later by the CLP for the conference pass. Likewise, in some CLPs the CLP Secretary was paying and claiming it back later – a few CLPs complained that they simply did not have £400 to do this.
Gender Balance and Eligibility: As Conference Services are unaware of how many delegates you’re sending (i.e. you could be entitled to 10 but only send 3) they do not know if you’re delegation is compliant until after the deadline. It’s here they see you sent 2 males and 1 woman or that only 3 out of 4 of your delegates actually registered. Its then too late to rectify as the deadline has passed and then you have to appeal etc.
Seating: As Conference Services don’t know until the end of June who is in your delegation, they cannot plan for the seating plan. It’s harder for delegations to be sat together.
THE NEW SYSTEM:
- It has a two stage registration: 1): The CLP Sec provides the name, gender, email and membership number of each delegate elected similar to when CLP Secs do nominations for NEC or NCC. 2): The delegate then has until the deadline to complete the form
- The CLP Sec can state how the CLP will pay. If they say the CLP will pay by cheque or card, then the delegate does not have to pay in advance.
- As CLP Secretaries are pre-registering, Conference Services will be able to notify the CLP Sec if there is a problem (i.e. Gender quota not met) giving CLPs time to rectify. Basically the sooner a CLP Secretary pre-registers, the better it will be.
- Completing stage 2 of the registration (with passport numbers etc) is now the responsibility of the delegate and not the CLP Secretary.
You can look at the pre-registration form by clicking here.
It is the first time this has been done, it’s based on feedback CLP Secretaries and Delegates gave me. We can always improve for next year.
We agreed that Party Staff can make a delegated decision on a replacement delegate. A replacement delegate is a member who is replacing an elected delegate that is already registered: So for example if your CLP has 3 delegates, but sadly one moves away or has a new job and can’t come then you can apply for a replacement, providing the gender and eligibility requirements are met.
The CAC understands that your replacement delegate needs to know ASAP so they can make arrangements, the CAC does not meet regularly enough to give you a timely answer – so we have delegated it to party staff.
There is a cut off date, which I will confirm as security checks do still need to take place.
Motions Referred To NEC:
The CAC referred a number of motions to the NEC as they were not policy motions but ‘organisational’ – the CAC has asked for an update if they have been received and processed (sent to the NEC).
Democracy Review Update:
There are a vast number of changes resulting from the Democracy Review. I know a number of members and CLP Secs have contacted me asking for clarity and process matters arising from the Democracy Review.
My role on the CAC is to ensure you can bring motion or rule changes to a Conference within the rules. Implementing what is passed on the Conference Floor goes to the NEC. As a CLP Secretary, I too am waiting for guidance and some of that is starting to come through. These are a huge number of changes, and implementation will take time.
Some of the Democracy Review changes have also impacted on the Conference and the CAC. We have already extended the duration of Conference (it starts on Saturday now) and started the logistics around having 20 topics (10 + 10 from each CLPs and Affiliates).
Disability member on the CAC: The update we had was as follows:
- A self ID audit is going to be undertaken so members who identify as Disabled or BAME
- Then members can put themselves forward on the CAC Disability Member’s position and other representation positions in the party.
- The Disability CAC member post will be elected at Conference by delegates.
The Conference Charity was reviewed, it was agreed whilst it took place it was not as successful as hoped for, it was a good first go and we can learn a lot from what worked and what did not work.
We agreed to continue with the project, seeking a charity in Brighton. We will work with the charity to let them know how they can maximise the opportunity to raise money for their charity. Likewise, the Labour Party will explore how it can be more open, for example the promo video was not Tweeted or able to be shared.
I will be contacting the Brighton CLPs and the local MPs to ask them to suggest a charity we could approach.
Reduced Rate Exhibition Stands:
It was agreed that there needs to be a proper process on how these stands are allocated, at present it is first come first serve. We agreed to have a full application process and have a vote at the CAC on who will get these stands.
We also agreed that next year we will explore having a grassroots campaigning section where the stalls are not those expensive exhibition shells.
Details on how people can apply for a Reduced Rate Exhibition Stand is to complete the form in the attached booklet and send it to Ann Kennedy (email address on back of the booklet) and get a letter of support (i.e. from an MP or a Trade Union – it should detail why you need a stall (i.e. it is the 25th Anniversary of the Campaign or the Campaign is coming to Parliament in October for debate).
Expenses of Delegates:
A debate was presented by Billy to discuss the disparities between CLPs on paying of delegates. Some CLPs pay all costs (travel, accommodation, pass and subsistence), some pay for everything except subsistence and some CLPs pay just for the pass or just for accommodation.
It was stated that the Democracy Review is increasing the number of Conferences (i.e. separate Women’s Conference) that the financial demand on volunteer led CLPs is increasing. Whilst it is not in the gift of the CAC to implement minimum standards of what CLPs should pay, we should give a rough guide of costs to enable CLPs to plan and lobby the NEC to have hardship funds available for CLPs who have limited finances.
Visitor costs can exclude many members on low income. The pass is a cost under our control, and it is fairly low (could be better), but ultimately the cost of hotels and travel will be at the rate they are at. A couple of years ago my CLP piloted paying for a day pass for 5 low income members and their train ticket. We can only do that for Brighton (as I’m from a London CLP) as it’s £10 return on the train in an hour.
Journey of Motions
Groundhog day! It has been agreed that the Governance and Legal Unit (GLU) will provide me with a statement to share that explains in the rulebook what happens to motions once they pass on the Conference floor – they basically go to the NPF.
I have raised this continuously since I have been on the CAC – I don’t understand how a motion from a CLP GC and a motion from a National Conference can both go to the NPF! And in the case of my CLP not be in the NPF report and require a reference back.
There is further confusion as the Brexit Motion has been immediately adopted as our policy (as everyone keeps saying) but motions on other issues go to the NPF and disappear (as is the case with the one from my CLP).
I was advised to chase my NPF reps and am passing on that advice. Once I get the statement from GLU I will pass that on.
Nominations have now opened. Myself and Billy are re-standing. I am checking if I can use my access to the CLP Secs mailing list to pass my statement over. But I won’t unless other candidates get the same opportunity, so please check my website and social media to get my statement.
I am pleased to get endorsement from CLGA, Momentum, LRC, CLPD, Red Labour and Labour Against Austerity.
A few of you said you had not received my January Report – I knew converting to Organise would cause me problems! You can access it by clicking here.