Rules

Another submission to the democracy review

The rules are only available as a complex .pdf document. It is not easy (or possible) to reverse engineer it. It is not possible to index them or without reverse engineering develop collaboration tools/discussions about the rules.

The rules are incomplete in particular missing the template model rules for Local Government Groups which are an important part of holding Labour Councillors to account.  They also do not have a usable citation i.e. a URL to the Co-op Interparty agreement. Procedure Guidelines for selections are also often kept secret from the members. .

The classification of rules as rules and appendixes is strange. Why do appendices exist? It’s not explained. Also it creates the need to check rules against appendix for each issue for which an appendix exists.

This all leads to uncertainty and is probably designed to make it hard for ordinary members to exercise their rights and duties.

  1. The rules document should be complete. Any cross references should be to available.
  2. The rules should be available on the internet without the use of a password.
  3. The rules should be published in a form of .pdf, together with a checksum to guarentee integrity, that allows annotation and 3rd party indexation  of the rules document. (N.B. This can be done with the hard copy today.) The master rules .pdf must have a usable index i.e. active hyperlinks.
  4. The rules should be additionally available in an editable form to allow members to develop collaboration tools.
  5. The interpretative order, if any, between rules and appendices must be stated.

Labour’s Democracy Review

People in the Labour Party are beginning to wake up to the Democracy Review. A correspondent found the following documents on the Labour Party site and I have mirrored them here.

The review is being conducted in stages, and the next stage for which the call for evidence ends on the 23rd March is about local organisation and membership engagement. The third phase will be about National structures and the call for evidence closes on June 29th. I was invited to speak to one of our branches and used this slide set, which talks about its governance, its timetable and topics, and details the links to be used to submit evidence.

The Labour Party documents found for me are,

  1. Party Democracy Review, Terms of Reference v2
  2. Party Democracy Review Leaflet v3
  3. Running a consultation event in your local party

Submissions are best made by email, or via a web form hidden in the party site.

I have written previously about this here and also on my other blog, but this article is meant to be anchor for things that help others make their mind up as to what changes they want.

Secretaries

More bloody rules – Chapter 7.IX.6 states that notices to affiliates must be delivered to the Secretary.

Any notice required to be given under these rules shall be in writing which may include electronic communication. Notices to be sent to affiliated organisations and Party units shall be addressed to the secretary thereof.

Chairing of AGMs

Have I done this before? On chairing AGMs in the Labour Party

Chapter 15.I.F.iii At the annual meeting the chair shall preside until a successor is elected, except where the chair is not a duly appointed delegate to the meeting; in which case the election of chair shall be taken as the first item on the agenda. The new chair shall take over the conduct of the meeting forthwith and proceed to the election of other officers and further business.

Brass

A proposed rule change on the CLP capitation fee.

Fair capitations for CLPs

Chapter 2 Clause III Sub Clause 6

Insert between “member” and “and”, “a minimum payment of 50% of the standard rate for each standard rate paying member and 100% of the standard rate for each elected representative rate paying member”

Scope

Labour’s Rules, yes my life is a bit obsessive, has a section called Scope of Rules, Ch 1.X. This states that the Rules apply to all party units and limits the NEC’s powers to vary the rules. They may not vary the aims and objectives, conditions of membership (inc. affiliates), selection procedures, or change the relationship between CLPs and the Party.

It permits local rules, and defines the NEC’s power of interpretation. It does not require the rules to be published to all members. 😣

Mandate

This is becoming a rules compendium, I really should build a rules wiki.

Here’s a rule from Conference 2016

Chapter 13 Clause II 2. A Aims and Values

NEW CLAUSE v. Members of the Labour group in administration must comply with the provisions of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 and subsequent revisions and shall not vote against or abstain on a vote in full Council to set a legal budget proposed by the administration. Members of the Labour Group shall not support any proposal to set an illegal budget. Any councillor who votes against or abstains on a Labour group policy decision in this matter may face disciplinary action.

What’s the penalty? This is worse in a Mayor led cabinet, because of the Mayor’s relationship with the budget, which can only be overturned by a ⅔ majority. Much then depends on the Group’s rules and transparency.

Quorum

We have finally got to the issue of Quora. The rule is in Chapter 15and so applies to meetings. Rule 15.I.D.i says,

The quorum for business meetings of (this body) shall be 25 per cent of those members entitled to vote in attendance {or a fixed number to be agreed with the regional office of the Party}.

I understand that the NEC have agreed that for all member meetings, a quorum of 25 members can be agreed but delegated the decision as to whether the latter quorum can be used to the Regional Directors, some of whose decisions may seem capricious at times.

Here is the document, allegedly, no logo, no imprint, and no chain of custody, NEC Quorums guidance 17 January 2017