There has been no meeting this month, the meeting has been scheduled for 18th February 2019 and I will report on that soon after.
Below are some of the developments that have taken place since our meeting in December.
Last year it became apparent the registration process was causing problems. They were as follows:
Gender Quota and Eligibility: It is not until the closing date that Conference Services assess applications. The reason for this is they do not know until that point if the CLP have completed their delegation. So for example:
- Your CLP is allowed to send 10 delegates.
- In April your CLP elects to send 4 delegates.
- The 4 delegates then register.
- Conference Services do not know you’re only sending 4. They make the safe assumption your other delegates are yet to register.
- In June, after the closing date they then know you are only sending 4 and start assessing them.
- They then get back to the CLP Secretary and inform them the gender quota is not met or one of the delegates is not eligible.
- As the deadline has passed, the CLP cannot elect someone else.
Payment: Over the past year it is apparent that the way Delegates pay differs and the registration form is pushing the worst way. Some CLPs ask the delegate to pay and get reimbursed, this means those on low incomes may struggle. In some CLPs, the Secretary is collecting all the data (passport numbers etc.) and filling in the forms themselves to pay either by their own card or the CLPs card.
Confusion Over Responsibility:A handful of late delegates last year said they assumed/thought the CLP was going to register them. The CLP Secretaries were often annoyed that the delegates had missed the deadline. This was causing tensions that were not needed.
Gender Quota: Until the deadline has passed, Conference Services do not know if you have met the Gender Quota, they only know once they’re clear all of your delegates are registered. Then they have to go back to the CLP and say it’s not met, this causes problems and in some cases a male delegate needing to pull out to meet the quota.
What this change will do?
- CLP Secretaries inform the party as soon as the delegates are elected.
- They do so on a simple form (click here)
- This is basic information all CLP Secs have (no passport numbers etc). It’s a bit like a nominations form
- Conference services will know how many people your CLP is sending and who they are.
- Conference services can tell you much early on if there are problems, giving you time to rectify it before the deadline.
- The onus is now on the delegate to complete the full registration and security check. Conference services know who to send reminders to.
- The form also lets CLP Secs state how it will be paid meaning CLPs who are sending 4 delegates don’t have to wait for delegates to register to pay.
Suggested way to make this work
I will be recommending to my CLP to:
- Elect delegates by May 2019
- The CLP Sec will then submit the names
- If there is a problem, then you still have the June meeting (depending on your cycle) to fix.
There will be problems with this system, as it’s new. But in the long run, it solves a lot more problems based on the feedback.
The Carers Support Fund
The NEC has long ring-fenced funds to support Conference Delegates who require additional support at Conference. Last year only 3 people applied and previous years have not been much better in terms of take up.
From listening to CLP Secs and Disabled members the barriers were:
- Disabled Members and CLP Secs were not aware of this fund.
- Disabled Members rarely felt able to put themselves forward as they knew they’d need extra finances for a Support Worker at Conference.
- CLPs were reluctant to apply to the NEC fund as they wanted to also apply to the fund for something else and felt they would not get funded twice.
- Some Disabled Members felt they were not elected as delegates as the extra cost meant the CLP had to send less people.
The Carers Support Fund is not new, it’s been rebranded. The plan is now to:
- Ensure Disabled Members are aware it exists.
- Ensure CLP Secs are aware it exists.
- Be clear that a CLP applying for money from the Carers Fund would not prevent or go against them applying for NEC funds. They are now distinctly different.
- CLPs should be clear sending a Disabled Member who needs support will not cost the CLP any extra
Thank you to the Disabled Members who took time to explain this to me, I appreciate it has been distressing. I’m really pleased the CAC, Jennie Formby and her team made these changes without hesitation.