Tonight I received the following from Labour First/Progress slate candidate for the NEC, Luke Akehurst:
Dear CLP Secretary,
I hope this will be useful information for you:
Organisation Committee Report
The Organisation Committee of the Labour Party’s National Executive
Committee met on 13 March and considered a number of important reports
about internal Party democracy.
The key item was an early heads-up from Peter Hain about the direction
in which the review of Labour’s policy-making structures initiated as
part of “Refounding Labour” is headed.
Key features of the proposals sketched out by Peter were:
• Moving to a 5 year policy-making cycle from the current 3 year one,
and away from the “Warwick” style climax to the process.
• More readable, shorter, accessible policy documents for members to comment on.
• These would be circulated each year for party units to make
submissions in reaction to, and then each Policy Commission would
draft a report with options and recommendations. These reports would
be debated at a National Policy Forum (NPF) meeting each summer. The
NPF would then send the revised documents to Annual Conference for
• Party units will be able to submit a limited number of amendments.
There will be a “duty to consult” i.e. party units submitting
amendments will need to show they have sounded out stakeholders before
raising an issue. Issues raised which show clear evidence of community
support may be given more weight.
• In the final year of the cycle, Policy Commissions would draw up an
overarching document based on the policy documents agreed in previous
years. Again this would be shorter than the current style of document.
• Labour’s Policy Programme would consist of the final year documents
agreed by the policy commissions, NPF, Joint Policy Committee (JPC)
and Annual Conference. This would form the basis of the manifesto
signed off by the Clause V meeting between NEC and Shadow Cabinet.
• The role of the JPC will be strengthened. It will commission and
agree policy documents, work to increase participation in policy
debate, oversee the amendments process and agree options papers to go
to Annual Conference.
• Policy Commissions will consider submissions from party units and
come to a consensus view on whether to incorporate them into policy
• NPF members not elected to a Policy Commission will now be able to
attend one as an observer.
• Annual Conference will get to consider alternative positions, not
just one take-it-or-leave it document.
• There will be greater use of technology to facilitate discussion and
to feedback to party units about their submissions. NPF members will
also be involved in giving feedback. All NPF members will get greater
information about the work of the JPC and the Policy Commissions.
• There will be an online audit trail to track what has happened to amendments.
• Greater communication of NPF activity and support for party units to
• Policy Commissions to look more at current issues via conference
calls and online debate.
This all seemed fairly sensible and consistent with members’ calls for
a more transparent process.
This was just an initial discussion – further discussion will happen
at the NEC, leading to rule changes going to Annual Conference this
The Committee also agreed:
• To trigger a further 14 early parliamentary selections (all 3 seats
in Brighton & Hove based on the anticipated new boundaries, Carlisle,
Redcar, Crewe & Nantwich, Gillingham & Rainham, Milton Keynes N,
Reading E, Bristol S, Gloucester, Cannock Chase, Stafford, Tamworth &
• A timetable for selecting mayoral candidates where referendums
result in a “yes” vote (freeze date for being a member with voting
rights of 5 May, short-listing by panels of a mixture of Regional
Board and CLP reps on 16 May, OMOV ballot goes out on 25 May, hustings
meetings by 10 June, ballot closes on 13 June and results declared on
15 June). The same ballot dates will apply to the NEC and NPF
elections and the Police Commissioner selections.
• Labour MPs selected as Mayoral or Police Commissioner candidates
will have to resign from the Commons and trigger by-elections.
• Guidelines for reorganising CLPs in January 2013 on the new boundaries.
• Model candidate contracts which involve a commitment to a lot of campaigning!
• Labour Movement for Europe and Labour Finance & Industry Group are
to become formal affiliates of the Party.
An NPF meeting is likely to be held on 16/17 June.
CLP Rep, NEC
Note: an NPF meeting is likely to be held on 16/17 June after the ballot papers are sent to members to vote for their NPF representatives, and without any guarantee that it will not, to quote Luke previously, be another rally for the nomenklatura.
0-10 Luke for addressing the key issue for members - having a say.