Labour’s next council slates

It looks like the Labour Party plan to go ahead with Candidate selections for the 2021 local authority elections and possibly the 2022 whole council elections. This is despite the lockdown, and due to the 2019 Conference Rule changes which planned to change the committee structures that manage this process, the bureaucracy’s response was to suspend the old committees and prohibit their AGMs. For most areas, this wouldn’t have mattered, since AGMs must take place after May and the meetings would have to have been postponed due to lock down although the size of the meetings would have made meeting and voting via video conference possible.

I have written previously about the rule change, in this article, which includes a link to the rule change which should now be incorporated in the current Rule Book.

I am worried about the transition to the college based LGCs and I have written a “principles” document, to highlight some outstanding issues and challenges, which includes the size, the electorate for all 3 colleges, candidate eligibility, counting abstentions, conflict of interest, the nature of the due diligence and that TU & CLP delegates are included in the selection committees and that the Procedures Secretary is not a councillor. However it seems that the selections will be done by the incumbent LCFs, so we can postpone those worries.

One area of concern, irrespective of the committee structure, is that the due diligence of candidates is often onerous and factionally biased, I believe it is necessary that candidate assessments may only withhold an endorsement on the grounds that a candidate is not eligible to stand, fails to meet the Labour Party’s eligibility rules, states that they will not conform to the rules on Group conduct and/or other Labour Party rules or for other good reason; the holding of opinions on policy shall not be a reason for non-endorsement.

Two further issues, which ideally required rule changes are the existence of trigger ballots, which it seems for Councillors are not going to be held, but we are unclear what will happen to the Borough Mayors.

The other issue is about conflicts of interest. At the moment the rules only state that familial or marriage relationships are considered conflicts of interest. We should seek to ensure that business relationships, some other commercial relationship such as a rent agreements, a supervisory/supervised relationship in employment or any other issue which might reasonably deemed to exist are declared and appropriately managed. I have written a rule change on this but it is a direct textual amendment to Appendix 4, and Conference can’t amend the Appendices, and there isn’t going to be one. The rule change can be amended to be valid by amending Chapter 5.

Labour Briefing published a scorecard on the LCF’s and found it wanting, an article called, “Local Government Committees – Has the NEC scored an own-goal?“, it seems we won’t find out. This article was written late last year after Conference changed the rules to introduce the ⅓, ⅓, ⅓ based LGC. …

Reform of Labours Candidate Selection

Reform of Labours Candidate Selection

On Saturday, Labour Conference changed the rules as it pertained to the Local Campaign Forums now named Local Govt. Committees, the Rule changes were published in CAC 1 and I have made a copy that exclusively refers to Chapter 12, LCF Rule Proposal extract from CAC1

The key reforms are,

  1. Voting power on the LGC will be ⅓ for the Council Group, ⅓ for the CLP Reps, and ⅓ for delegates from Trade Unions. This is voting power it is not dependent on the number of delegates.
  2. Councillors may only sit in the Council Group class of delegates
  3. The Leader/Deputy Leader are to sit on the LGC Executive.
  4. There are strong, or maybe weak, but at least some rules to constrain Councillors from impacting seats they are interested in, but obviously not swapping favours.
  5. CLP’s delegate numbers will be representative of the number of wards represented in the LA area.
  6. The authority for the manifesto remains unclear.

This does not increase the accountability of the Labour Group.

Have a look and make a comment if I have missed anything. …

What is to be done, with Lewisham Council?

Finally I have submitted my thoughts on Lewishams’ Democracy Review. Lewisham Democracy Review by Dave Levy V1_1. My initial thoughts were published in this article on this blog. Three things,

  1. I am shocked at the true legal position, we elect a dictator, with no recall, & no term limits. Executive Mayor’s are not just a first-amongst-equals “Leaders” with a different mandate, it’s an alien form of government, lifted from the US & France and designed to reduce the accountability of the decisions from voters and their political parties. I am equally shocked at the extent to which the Mayor’s power’s are delegated to full time staff.
  2. I have recommended that they abolish the Mayoral system, and in the expectation that this will be rejected,
  3. I recommend a series of reforms to improve the accountability and transparency of the Mayor, Council and senior officials including a recall mechanism, term limits and much improved monitoring of personnel, decisions and programmes.

The deadline is Sunday.

A URL for the document is http://bit.ly/2DA5aho, a SURL for this article is https://wp.me/p9J8FV-1IN …

One Man Rule

While talking to a friend, about Lewisham Council’s Democracy Review, I came to the conclusion that while I have opposed Executive Mayors because I feel the Labour Party is incapable of holding them i.e. Labour Mayors to account to their manifesto promises, actually the Council can’t do that either; it doesn’t have the tools; Scrutiny can only delay a decision and every decision except planning and licensing is taken by the Mayor. 💩

I need to look into the law and see if this can be changed/improved within the context of a Mayoral system, but as you may know my preference is a return to committee led councils. …

Labour and local government

I have just made my submission to Labour’s Democracy Review on Local Government. It consists of proposals about candidate selection, labour’s governance (Groups and Labour Committees), Direct Mayors and recalling/dismissing Leaders.  The current local government candidate selection process and Labour Group governance rules gives a massive advantage to incumbents vs. challengers. If we are to meet our aspirations of representing the community and its most disadvantaged, we need to do better. I say more below or overleaf … … …