February 2018 CAC Report

Please see below an update of the work that I have been doing since I was elected and took office in October 2017.

CAC Meeting – Nov 2017

Our first CAC meeting was in Nov 2017, this was my first meeting so I used it as an opportunity to ask loads of questions! Key highlights from the meeting were:

  • Election of Harry Donaldson as Chair of the Labour CAC
  • Feedback on the 2017 Conference
  •  Accessibility Issues
  • Compositing
  • Update on the Democracy Review from Katy Clark.

Delegate Allocation For Your Constituency

It is acknowledged that many of you will be having elections this year. Your CLP Secretary should be receiving information on the 2018 conference and what your delegate entitlement is. If you’re a CLP Secretary and do not receive this by February 16th 2018 then please email conferenceservices@labour.org.uk and copy me in.

Please remember delegates need to be members of the party for at least a full year by 22nd June 2018.

BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) Representation at Conference

This is something I stated in my campaign that I would be addressing. I have spoken to both Iain McNicol (General Secretary) and Keith Vaz MP (BAME rep on NEC) about how we can increase the attendance and engagement of BAME members to participate in conference. Both are very keen.

The first step however is to actually understand how many members from BAME backgrounds are attending conference, whether they are coming as elected delegates or visitors and what CLPs they are coming from. Unfortunately we do not ask for ethnicity data on the conference application forms so we have no idea – so I will be requesting this at the February CAC meeting.

Labour Values – Practice what we preach

A fair few members have contacted me about the homelessness they saw in Brighton and the guilt they felt that as the Labour party there was not something we could do whilst there. I was especially touched by the crowd-funder for a homeless charity Owen Collins from Whitney set up.

This was raised by Billy Hayes and myself at the CAC meeting, and all CAC members agreed we need to explore what we can do. It is on the agenda for the February 2018 meeting.

Accessibility Issues

A number of members have contacted me about the accessibility issues faced at the 2017. This included the standing time in queues, unable to get good phone reception to call people for support/help, accessible formats for paperwork etc.

Party staff informed us that they will be recruiting a new Disability Coordinator and will also continue working with Disability Labour to make improvements.

I will be asking for regular updates on progress and am comfortable that it is a top priority for the Conference Services team, there is a real desire to get this right.

Mystery of Motions

A few members have emailed me asking what happens to motions once they pass at conference. This is a great question and one that I have struggled to answer. It is clear that members (including CLP Secretaries) want to have a clear feedback mechanism of what happens to their motion after it is passed.

This is being raised at the next CAC meeting in February 2018.

Selection of Speakers

This was raised in our CAC meeting by several of us, including the Trade Union CAC members. I think it is fair to say that there is full agreement that the way we select speakers needs improving. The current system is excluding a range of people including those that have not come with an inflatable red dragon to get the Chair’s attention!

It is a very difficult job to Chair a meeting of this size and we also need to protect the Chairs from being accused of not selecting people or excluding certain groups they genuinely did not see.

We have had a few suggestions from really high-tech solutions to some low cost ‘lottery based’ systems. I do think this will take a while to get right and we may have to pilot some ideas to get the one that works for most people.  I will keep you updated.

Priorities Ballots

This has been raised by a few members and I welcomed the constructive suggestions put forward. The main idea coming forward is letting Trade Unions ballot in the morning and CLPs in the afternoon (or visa-versa) so we get a wider selection of topics and don’t lose out because we’ve all voted for the same 4 topics.

There could be a reason why we do it the way we do – but I’ll find out and get back to you.

If you have any questions please get in touch.


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