May 2019 CAC Report

We had a CAC meeting this week (8th May 2019). On the agenda was:

  • Feedback from Disability Labour
  • Event Team Update
  • Reduced Rate Exhibition Stall
  • Conference Charity
  • Election of CAC Member to the Women’s CAC
  • Motions Passed At Conference
  • Organisational Motions

Feedback from Disability Labour

We were joined (via the phone) by a rep from Disability Labour to look at the potential access issues at Brighton. The feedback covered a range of highly probable access issues:

  • Stricter controls of the lifts (there are less lifts)
  • Space (the venue is smaller)
  • Roads around the venue (they are narrow, on an incline etc.)
  • Seating space (to accommodate potentially a service dog and wheelchair.

The feedback also concluded the size and design of the building alongside the architecture of the city will present a lot more access issues than they had in Liverpool. Disability Labour were keen to manage expectations, put in mitigations were possible but understand some of the issues cannot be solved by the party.

Disability Labour also wanted it stated they have had a very good working experience with the Events Team and feels very involved, included and listened to.

We briefly discussed what we had heard, accepting we were expecting these issues.

Events Team Report:

We had an in-depth feedback report from the Events Team. The issues covered included:

  • Reminder that the Conference begins at 2:30pm on Saturday 21st September.
  • Additional barcode scanners to speed entry.
  • Logistics of the main hall seating, ensuring delegates all fit on the floor
  • Access Issues – also covered by feedback from Disability Labour
  • Applications – Currently 2000 registrations have taken place
  • Payment – Invoicing to CLPs (who request) is now in place
  • Fringe Events – Over 600 requests have been received
  • Exhibition stalls – a few new organisations have requested a stall.

Environmental Policy

I have had a few emails about this, this is the current status but more is expected:

  • Carbon Off-Setting: Payment being made towards planting trees
  • Recycling Stations will be located in the Conference venue and Hilton.
  • Both the Conference venue and the Hilton will be using recyclable disposable cups
  • Paperwork: All delegates are now being asked if they require paper copies

Reduced Rate Exhibition Stands:

At the last meeting the CAC agreed we will directly make a decision on what organisations get a reduced-rate stall. Previously, it was on a first come, first serve basis. All previous applicants were asked to submit a letter to apply for a reduced-rate exhibition stall.

A reduced-rate exhibition stand is at cost price for the actual rental of the stall equipment (stand-shell, power points, furniture etc). Other stalls are sold to cover wider costs of running a Conference (venue costs, staffing, stewards etc.).

We agreed the home CLP (Brighton Pavilion) will be given a stall as we had given the CLP in Liverpool the same thing. However, we agreed to explore this next year to understand the purpose CLPs are wanting a stall (i.e. it’s not for Voter ID or pushing policy as everyone will be a Labour Member!).

If it is for fundraising, then we wanted to explore a fairer way to distribute the opportunity – both Brighton and Liverpool have several CLPs, but only the CLP where the venue is, is getting this opportunity. We agreed to discuss after Conference.

One of the applicants for a reduced rate stall was the local Foodbank – we felt this was not going to meet their expectations as Security will not allow cans etc. In Liverpool we had collection points just before Security. It was agreed this could be offered instead.

For the remaining applications we had 21 and only 7 reduced-rate stalls! We had 2 rounds of balloting. The successful organisations will be informed formally. All of the organisations who applied were worthwhile and it was tough – hence the 2 rounds of balloting.

It was discussed at a previous meeting that we need to see how we can find space which isn’t so formal to host more – organisations just want a table and two chairs!

Conference Charity:

We will be going ahead again this year. Due to the elections, party staff had to pause on searching for potential local charities, but we heard about one which were all were really on. It was agreed we will have an email discussion and agree.

We all felt that the spirit of the type of charity focused on poverty, homelessness and those impacted on by Tory austerity. This idea of a charity came from member; Owen Collins who rightly pointed out the problem that we were discussing policies affecting the very people we were walking past on the streets.

Election of CAC member on the Women’s CAC:

One of the spaces on the Women’s CAC is allocated from the CAC. Tracey Fussey, from the CWU was unanimously elected.

Motions Passed On The Conference Floor

Over 40 CLPs have completed my survey on what happened to their motions that they submitted and passed at National Conference.

The main findings are:

  • Unaware of outcome or progress
  • Not heard about it from Labour politicians or campaigns

There was an exception with the Brexit motion and a couple of motions which were similar to what was in the 2017 Manifesto.

At today’s meeting we had a robust (!) debate where I was presented with where in the rulebook it states what happens to motions after they are passed on the Conference floor.

There are two problems for me:

  • An exit pathway responsibility for the CAC: The CAC are receiving and processing the motions and then once it’s passed, we don’t seem to be going back to the CLPs/Affiliate to let them know who their next contact is in the process.
  • Being more open about the purpose of Conference: If the Conference is to send motions to the NPF (which is what it appears to be) then CLPs need to be told that and understand that they can also submit a motion from a GC/AMM to the NPF and don’t need to come to Conference. There needs to be clarity on the difference between a motion submitted by GC/AMM and one passed at Conference. OR if a motion passed at Conference goes through a different process that needs to be clear, members need to see the roadmap of how they get a motion passed at Conference to come out of the mouths of the relevant Shadow Minister when they’re in public.

There were discussions on what happens to motions during an election year, but other years seems hazy. There was not recognition of the impact of motions required in between election years, i.e. if we passed a motion on bringing all schools back into Local Authority control that needs to be policy which we campaign on now to grow our electoral base. But also some of the motions are not solely about Labour in Central Government, some are asking for changes locally or regionally – i.e. the motion from my CLP asked for Labour Councils not to sell off council land to developers, but instead build Council Homes directly.

We were informed the whole policy making process is up for review, unclear of the details. We were also informed that the NEC are also asking for progress on all motions passed. It was agreed that the CAC formally write to the NEC and NPF to ask for the feedback process and how we can exit/transfer over after Conference.

My suggestions are as follows:

  • If your motions are not in the NPF report(s) then submit a Reference Back.
  • If any motion which you know passed at Conference are not in the NPF report(s) then submit a Reference Back – they don’t have to be yours.
  • Already submitted a Reference Back? Well Reference Back your Reference Back!
  • Email your NPF Reps and ask where your motions are.
  • (Re)submit your motions to the NPF and get other CLPs to do the same.
  • Email your NEC Reps and ask them to find out what happened to your motion.

You can find your NPF reps by clicking here

There is only so much I can do (and I am continuing) but the rulebook is owned by members, and one thing that definitely has an outcome at Conference are Rule Changes. The rulebook is not clear, but you can change it to be clearer.

The rules I have been pointed to are: (I know this excites some of you!):

Chapter 1; Clause V; 2

Party conference shall decide from time to time what specific proposals of legislative, financial or administrative reform shall be included in the Party programme. This shall be based on the rolling programme of work of the National Policy Forum. No proposal shall be included in the final Party programme unless it has been adopted by the Party conference by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the votes recorded on a card vote.

Chapter 1; Clause V; 4

When not in Government the NEC, the Shadow Cabinet, the Parliamentary Committee of the Parliamentary Labour Party (‘PLP’), the Leaders of the Scottish and Welsh Labour Parties, and the Chair and three vice Chairs of the NPF and eight Trade Union members of the TULO Contact Group shall decide which items from the Party programme shall be included in the manifesto that shall be issued by the NEC prior to every general election. The joint meeting shall also define the attitude of the Party to the principal issues raised by the election which are not covered by the manifesto.

Chapter 3; Clause III; 2; A

The NEC shall present to conference the report of the NEC, including: a summary of its work during the previous year; the work of the NEC committees and proposed programme for the forthcoming year. All such documentation shall be circulated to all affiliated organisations and CLPs by a date to be determined by the NEC.

Chapter 3; Clause III; 2; B

The NEC shall present to conference the report of the NPF, including: a summary of its work during the previous year; the work of the policy commissions; policy documents; options, alternatives or minority reports by the NPF; and proposed programme for the forthcoming year to be circulated to all affiliated organisations and CLPs by a date to be determined by the NEC. A Policy Ballot will be held at Annual Conference, on the same basis as the ballot for motions, which will select a number of areas for detailed discussion and development by the NPF from topics proposed by the JPC. At least the four topics selected by CLPs will be prioritised, as will the four selected by Trade Unions and other affiliated organisations.

Chapter 3; Clause III; 2; C

All affiliated organisations, the ALC, Young Labour and CLPs may submit one motion to Conference. In addition, affiliates with more than 100,000 affiliated members may submit one further motion. The CAC shall submit all motions received to a priorities ballot at the start of conference. The ballot will be divided into two sections. One section for CLPs, and one section for trade unions and other affiliated organisations. At least the ten priorities selected by CLPs will be time-tabled for debate, as will at least the first ten priorities selected by Trade Unions and other affiliated organisations. Motions must be in writing, on one subject only and in 250 words or less. Alternatively, a constitutional amendment on one subject only may be submitted in writing. Motions and constitutional amendments must be received by the General Secretary at the offices of the Party by the closing date determined by the NEC.

Chapter 3; Clause III; 2; D

All affiliated organisations, the ALC, Young Labour and CLPs may submit motions to the NEC on campaigning and organisational issues and to the NPF and its policy commissions on policy issues throughout the year. The NEC and NPF shall consider such motions and report on action taken in their annual report to conference.

Organisational Motions:

You know that feeling where you wonder if you actually like worms in cans? I keep opening them….!

I covered the discussion so far in my April 2019 report (Click Here), not much had changed in the meeting, the wrangling over what the rules said continued. It was suggested by some on the CAC that it’s always been the case that Organisational Motions go to the NEC – although others who’ve been in the party longer than I dispute this.

This may be the case, but I am not interested in convention, I am interested in what the rules are and whether members have the right to have their Organisational Motion heard at Conference to be automatically adopted if passed like Rule Changes are. The rulebook does not state that Organisational Motions cannot be heard at Conference or that they go to the NEC.

I’ll be discussing with CLP reps on the NEC how this progresses, however in the meantime the dialogue continues…. (play Eastenders music!)

Nominations for CAC:

Thank you so much to all of the CLPs who have nominated me so far, I am truly humbled. I know many of you have not met due to Local Elections and the EU Elections. The deadline has been extended until 28th June 2019. You can find my statement by clicking here