This is long, it’s a rule by rule analysis of the rule changes made to CLP rules by the Democracy Review and #lab18. It deals with GC sovereignty, Executive Committee membership, Branch & Delegate vs. All Member Meeting (AMM), equalities representation and organisation, meeting frequency, job shares and IT & participation. For completeness, I also mention Special Measures & Multi Constituency CLPs. The original text is held in Conference 18 CAC Report 1, which is on member’s net and mirrored here on my wiki. It should be noted that Conference determined these rules came into force on September 27. 2018. I reported on the debate in an article, on this blog, called The Denoument. For more see below/overleaf … 

GC Sovereignty

The GC/AMM should have been sovereign within the CLP; the rules have been changed to make it clear that this is the case. The EC no longer has any power of initiative and must report its activities in writing to the GC/AMM for approval.

Chapter 7.VII.1 states, “The management of this CLP shall be in the hands of an Executive Committee which shall be appointed by and report to an Annual General Meeting of this CLP and to other such meetings as required by the CLP rules and procedures.”  It has been changed via the following amendment,

After “hands of” insert “the General Meeting. The decisions of the General Meeting shall be put into effect by”.

This has the effect of removing the power of initiative and decision from the EC. This is designed to ensure that decisions are taken by General Committees or All Member Meetings and that the brutal control by a small elite, the minimum size of an EEC until conference was six, is broken. EC’s can no longer, appoint delegates to conferences, decide the delegation size, decide the motions, make national committee nominations, issue conference mandates, or authorise election (or any) budgets. EC’s will have to get development plans, fundraising plans and expenditure plans agreed by the GC/AMM. For busy GCs, this will be a challenge in planning GC time.

In addition, Chapter 7 – Clause VI – Method of Organisation has been amended with a new sub clause, 9 which reads,

The NEC shall put in place rules requiring CLP Executive Committees to report all decisions in writing to the CLP General Meeting for approval, and requiring that branch and CLP standing orders and (non-private) records of decisions be made available to members on an electronic platform provided by the Party. The NEC may incorporate these rules into this rule book, subject to approval at Annual Conference 2019, when this sub-clause shall expire.

Obviously two important parts to this rule change, firstly the reinforcement of GC/AMM sovereignty stating that EC decisions need to be approved by the GC/AMM, and secondly that these decisions are to be available to members via an electronic platform, I think they mean computer storage solution. I have commented elsewhere that this is non-trivial and will need to be developed by the Party centrally.

The downside of this rule change is that, the EC now has the power to place significant business on the GC agenda; previously it did not have this power. Watch out for ECs that seek to do this via minutes with a view to boring people into ignoring what they’re doing. There is also a danger that the Leadership become too engaged in EC business as they have to deal with it at both EC & GC/AMM.

EC Membership

CLP Executive Committees currently consist of at least 6 members, at least half of whom must be women. The conference passed a rule change to expand the EC. It changed rule Chapter 7 – Clause VIII.2 – Officers to read,

The Executive Officers of this CLP shall be; chair, vice-chair, vice-chair/ membership, secretary, treasurer, women’s  officer, policy officer, BAME officer (where established), disability officer (where established), LGBT+ officer (where established), youth officer (where established), trade union liaison officer (where established, who shall be a member of a trade union in accordance with Chapter 2 Clause I.6.B above), political education officer (where established), communications and social media officer (where established). At least half of these officers shall be women. This CLP may, with the approval of the NEC add other Executive Officer posts drawn from amongst its Coordinator roles subject to the gender quota being amended appropriately

and amended the following rule Chapter 7 – Clause VIII.6 – Officers to read,

The Executive Committee shall consist of the Executive Officers, branch secretaries or other representatives elected by each branch and { } members upon such proportionate basis of the whole membership as this CLP may decide, subject to the approval of the NEC.

This has the effect of establishing a Policy Officer, promoting the Equalities Officers and TULO, PEO and communications and social media officer to the EC and ensuring that branches have representation on the EC.

One impact of this rule change is that the gender quota is now to be applied to an enlarged pool of members and may lead to men occupying more than half of the more senior roles. It is unclear if the branch representatives are to have a gender quota applied to them since a quota is already applied at their election in the branches.

The TULO must be a member of a bona-fide Trade Union, irrespective of whether the Union is affiliated to the Party or their branch to the CLP. (This is what the reference to Chapter 2 Clause I.6.B means.

The Policy Officer is new.

The Campaigns co-ordinator remains indirectly elected by the Campaigns Committee and is not by default on the EC.

In conversations with some Equalities activists, they are concerned that the Equalities Officers are only included if established because there’s room for games to be played there, although see below.

Branch & Delegate vs. All Member Meetings

The rules on how to make this decision have changed. This is a new sub-clause in Chapter 7 – Clause VI.1. – Method of organisation, which says,

Any proposal to change from an all member meeting to a delegate method of organisation or vice versa may only be initiated by resolution of a Party unit or affiliate branch. Upon receipt of such a proposal the CLP Secretary shall declare the next-but-one scheduled meeting to be a special all member meeting, which shall decide by a simple majority whether to adopt the proposed new method of organisation. The NEC may make guidelines setting out limits on the frequency at which CLPs may be asked to initiate this process and on the minimum requirements for consultation with local affiliates.

The NEC has placed a limit on this of once every 12 months but not yet published its rules on consulting affiliates, nor placed a constraint holding or requisitioning them once an AGM process has begun which is 60 days prior to a branch & delegate AGM (C7.IX.1.C)

The key changes are that any (quorate) party unit or affiliate can requisition the meeting and the decision will be taken by AMM irrespective of the current governance model; previously the current governing body would make the decision.

I have written at length on this at http://davelevy.info/delegates-democracy/

Quorum

Quorums for all member meetings becomes 5% or 75 which ever is lower. That’s under 2% for my CLP if we ran AMM governance.

Equalities representation & organisation

There are two rule changes to Chapter 7 – Clause VI. – Method of organisation, on Equalities and one on Youth, these are,

New sub-clause 5 (and consequential renumbering and any other consequential amendments)

Local Equalities Branches

5.            The NEC shall set out rules for the establishment, officers, structure, organisation, communication rights and delegate entitlements of Women’s branches, BAME branches, Disabled members branches, and LGBT+ branches; and for the election of the relevant CLP officers by the self-defining members of these groups, to the extent allowed by law. The NEC shall bring forward proposals for these rules for approval at Annual Conference 2019, when this sentence shall expire.

New sub-clause 6 (and consequential renumber and any other consequential amendments)

6.            The NEC shall set out rules for the establishment, officers, structure, organisation, communication rights and delegate entitlements of Young Labour branches; for the oversight of such rules by the Young Labour National Committee; and for the election of relevant CLP officers by Young Labour members or Young Labour branches, to the extent allowed by law. The NEC may immediately incorporate these rules into this rule book, subject to approval at Annual Conference 2019, when this sub-clause shall expire.

Forums become branches, so we’ll see how delegate entitlements and record keeping works out and see if the new Equalities Branches get representation rights on ECs in additon to the Equalities officers. Quorum calculations for equalities branches also could be interesting i.e. how does one do it, given that the Labour Party does not have the data to determine eligible membership of these new branches.

If Youth branches get delegate entitlement at GCs, will they keep their additional delegate from the geographic branches.

Branches must now have a women’s officer. The gender quota is weaker after the rule change, as they have added an officer who has to be a woman and kept the reserved number to two, so was ½ is now 40%.

Guarantee of meetings

Another new rule, Chapter 7 – Clause IX.3 – Minimum Number of Meetings

It now says,

3. Ordinary General Meetings shall be held at such intervals as laid down in the standing orders of this CLP or as may be determined by resolution of the General Meeting, subject to a requirement that all members of the CLP must be given the opportunity to attend at least 8 meetings per year, including at least 2 policy meeting.

I assume that this applies equally to a Branch & Delegate and AMM governed CLP. In Branch & Delegate the eight meetings might be branch meetings, and in an AMM governed CLP, this rule means there must be at least six general meetings and two policy meetings. The guarantee of branch meetings will be gratefully received by many members for whom branches do not meet. We are not sure what a policy meeting is, although in my CLP we have always tried to have two of these, the meeting to propose motions to conference, and the meeting to mandate our conference delegates. Last year we also held an NPF meeting to make proposals to the NPF and its report.

Job Shares

These are thought to be a good idea, we are expecting rules to let us know how to do this.

IT and Participation

Good luck with this, the rule, Chapter 7 – Clause VI –  Method of Organisation now says,

New sub-clause 8

8. The NEC shall invite CLPs to take part in pilots of staggered meetings, electronic attendance, online voting and other methods of maximising participation. The NEC may immediately give effect to these pilots and may incorporate any resultant rules into this rule book, subject to approval at Annual Conference 2019, when this sub-clause shall expire.

This just populist shite! Many of the people who don’t attend may well be happy to attend and AGM and vote for delegates to represent them. Online voting is hard to do securely and there are many problems with it. Staggered meetings suffer from all the disadvantages of postal balloting; they are based on the idea that the meeting and debate doesn’t matter.

ooOOOoo

For completeness, I add two sections on Special Measures & Multi Constituency CLPs

Special Measures

A new rule states that “The NEC shall codify the circumstances and process for placing CLPs in special measures.” Let’s hope this puts a time limit on the duration of any such regime.

Multi Constituency CLPs

The establishment and management of multi-constituency CLPs will be governed by new rules.

CLP Governance 2018
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One thought on “CLP Governance 2018

  • 13th December 2018 at 12:57 pm
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    I was asked about Quorum and the “these rules are now” rule. The rules for woman and BAME forums state that their quorum is 10 members and requires 14 days notice. Since these were not amended and in the case of the BAME forum we don’t know how many people are eligible to attend and can’t calculate a 5%; I assume these rules still stand.

    Also some CLPs (and branches) may have had lower quorum’s set with agreement from the Regional Director, if lower, these might be considered to still be in place; this might be important for large branches and AMM governed CLPs .

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