Tag Archives: local government

Labour NEC: Report from the JPC, Equalities, Disputes and Organisational Committees

This report includes updates from the March NEC Equalities, Disputes and Organisation Committee meetings, as well as the National Policy Forum Joint Policy Committee meeting.

Policy Consultation

The Joint Policy Committee is the body which has strategic oversight for Labour’s policy development and acts as the steering group for the National Policy Forum. March’s JPC meeting agreed the policy consultation documents that will be sent to members and local parties shortly. Consultations will run in the coming months and will contribute to the policy documents prepared for the Labour Party Conference in September. The full National Policy Forum will be meet on 1 and 2 July somewhere in the North of England (I suggested Blackpool). The GMB’s Cath Speight was elected Chair of the JPC. I have written a guide to how the National Policy Forum works and how members can get involved.

New Powers for Labour Women’s Conference

The 2017 Labour Party Women’s Conference will play a formal role in the policy-making process for the first time in decades. The NEC is working through the details of how this will work. An interim Women’s Conference Arrangements Committee was approved. Members of this committee are:

  • Ann Black, NEC Equalities Vice-Chair Women and NEC CLP representative
  • Cath Speight and Diana Holland, NEC Trade Union Representatives
  • Alice Perry, NEC Local Government Representative
  • Jasmin Beckett, NEC Youth Representative
  • Shabana Mahmood, NEC Rep and NPF Vice Chair

Continue reading

Labour NEC Report – January 2017

Leader’s Report

Jeremy Corbyn’s NEC report included updates on Labour’s response to Brexit, opposing a second Independence Referendum in Scotland, reaction to the election of Donald Trump, the rise of fake news and how this is changing politics, post-liberalism, the women’s marches around the world, engaging people with politics, Melanie Onn and Keir Starmer’s private members bill protecting workers rights, investing in infrastructure to grow the economy and the cynicism and hypocrisy of the Liberal Democrats.

Labour’s response to Brexit

Jeremy Corbyn discussed the recent Supreme Court judgment, saying “The Government has today been forced by the Supreme Court to accept the sovereignty of Parliament. Labour respects the result of the referendum and the will of the British people and will not frustrate the process for invoking Article 50.

“However, Labour will seek to amend the Article 50 Bill to prevent the Conservatives using Brexit to turn Britain into a bargain basement tax haven off the coast of Europe. Labour is demanding a plan from the Government to ensure it is accountable to Parliament throughout the negotiations and a meaningful vote to ensure the final deal is given Parliamentary approval.”

Protecting the NHS

img_7204The NEC welcomed back Jon Ashworth, who gave an update about the NHS crisis in England and Scotland. He noted that this winter has seen the worst NHS crisis for 20 years. The NHS in England has run out of beds on 108 occasions and is regularly failing to meet the four hour A&E waiting time target. Tory and SNP government decisions have led to huge pressures on the NHS in England and Scotland, made worst by their cuts to social care. Kezia Dugdale and Scottish Labour have been working closely Jon and Jeremy to expose the SNP’s poor record on health.

Jon highlighted the enormous contributions workers from the EU make to the NHS and the care sector. Jon and Jeremy thanked the thousands of Labour members across the country who have taken part in NHS campaign action days. Last Saturday’s #CarefortheNHS day reached over 10 million people on Twitter.

The NEC were also reminded of comments made Stoke-on-Trent Central UKIP by-election candidate Paul Nuttall about his desire to privatise the NHS.

Policy

Ann Cryer, Chair of Labour’s National Policy Forum, gave an update on policy making. I have written a guide to how the NPF works and how members can get involved. Policy Commission meetings are taking place in January and February to agree first drafts of the policy documents that will eventually be put before Labour Party Conference in September. Labour members and voters will be asked to feed in to this process and take part in consultations. I will be Chairing meetings of the Home Affairs and Justice Policy Commission, which will look at issues like policing, community safety, prisons, domestic and gender based violence, historic justice campaigns, national security, immigration and constitutional matters. You can read more about the work of the NPF, and make policy submissions online at http://www.policyforum.labour.org.uk/.

Progressive Alliances and electoral pacts

Jeremy Corbyn and the NEC confirmed opposition to so called “progressive alliances”, with Jeremy and others agreeing that parties like the SNP and the Liberal Democrats are not progressive. Continue reading

Labour NEC Report – October 2016

This report covers NEC Equalities, Disputes and Organisational Committee meetings in October 2016:

Improving diversity of political representation

The Equalities Committee and Organisational Committee discussed various proposals to increase diversity of elected representatives. This including discussions on extending the use of All Women Shortlists in local government selections to help Labour Councillors reach a 50-50 gender balance. Jeremy Corbyn voiced his support for gender balance in both national and local government.

It is not currently possible to use AWS for Metro Mayor selections as this isn’t including in the current legislation, but Labour will continue to campaign to amend and strengthen this legislation and look at other methods of encouraging more woman, BAME, disabled, working class, LBGT and disabled candidates to stand for elections. With this in mind Labour has launched the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Programme to help train women for leadership roles and a Bursary Scheme to encourage more working class candidates.

Metro Mayor selections

Elections for Metro Mayors will take place across the country in May 2017. Negotiations

andy-burnham-nick-forbes-alice-perry

Greater Manchester Metro Mayor candidate Andy Burnham with Judith Blake, Alice Perry and Nick Forbes

continue in various regions to agree new devolution deals. Possible Combined Authorities due to elect Metro Mayors include Solent, Norfolk and Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, West of England, Sheffield City Region, Greater Lincolnshire Combined Authority and Tees Valley. The NEC agreed the timetable and process for these elections. Applications for candidates opens on 19 October and closes on 2 November. In line with the NEC work on gender representation and increasing diversity, the selections panels want to give consideration to the widest range of possible applications. We strongly encourage qualified candidates to apply, particularly if they are female or from under-represented groups.

Having run Metro Mayor selections for the first time this summer, we have adjusted the process based on feedback from members in the North West and West Midlands. Thank you to everyone who passed on their feedback. I proposed an amendment to allow Council Labour Groups to make supporting nominations, which the NEC agreed to trial. Continue reading

Maternity and Paternity leave for Councillors

A number of Councils have formal or informal arrangements to allow Councillors to take maternity and paternity leave. I was involved in drafting my Council’s policy.

You can view our policy here.

You can view the Manchester Labour Group policy here.

You can also view  Camden’s policy online at http://democracy.camden.gov.uk/documents/s51723/PART%206%20Members%20Allowance%20Scheme.pdf.

If your Council has a maternity/paternity policy please do get in touch and share it with me. It would be great to collect and share best practice in this area.

NEC Report – Labour Party Conference 2016

Congratulations to Jeremey Corbyn

The NEC congratulated Jeremy Corbyn on his re-election as Labour Leader. Leadership elections are resource intensive and tiring for everyone. While there are always lessons to be learned on how any process like this is administered, we look forward to moving on, uniting behind Jeremy and campaigning on the issues that matter most to our communities. Preparing for a possible snap General Election is now also a top priority.

Jeremy Corbyn’s 10 policy pledges

The NEC unanimously agreed Jeremy Corbyn’s 10 policy pledges on topics like health, housing, education, protecting the environment and building a stronger economy and fairer society. You can read the full text online. Labour’s National Policy Forum will now consider how these pledges can be delivered, costed and form a General Election manifesto.

NEC Rule Changes

The NEC meeting on 20 September agreed a package of rule changes that were put to the 2016 Labour Party Conference. All but one rule change was unanimously agreed. There was a disagreement about the implementation of the one aspect of a rule changes in the devolution section. Everyone on the NEC supported giving Scottish and Welsh Labour more power, influence and autonomy. Currently the Leader of the Scottish and Welsh Labour Parties are able to attend NEC meetings but do not have full voting rights.img_4406

The new plans grant the Leaders (or someone they appoint from their front bench) full NEC membership and voting rights. This is a longstanding issue that for many years Scottish and Welsh Labour have campaigned for. In Scotland and Wales it is not viewed as a left/right issue. While Labour is in government Wales, we face enormous challenges in Scotland rebuilding the party and winning back trust. These new powers should help this important work and demonstrate how seriously we take winning back Scotland and supporting our government in Wales.

We also agreed to give more powers to Labour Women’s Conference, a change lead by Ann Black, Chair of the Gender Representation Party Reform work. This was welcomed across the party as an important step forward.

Party Reform: Support for Councillors

Last November, Labour started a process to reform our structures so we better reflect and represent our local communities. Continue reading

Making Labour’s Selections Fairer And More Transparent

lab-conference-2016Each year Labour’s governing body, the National Executive Committee, can propose changes to the party’s rules to be voted on at Labour Party Conference. Recently there has been increased interest in what any potential rule changes might be. People have speculated about whether these changes will be used to pursue various factional agendas or “settle scores”.

In reality, the rule changes we have spent the past year working on are designed to improve campaigning, communications and engagement through digital technology and Party Reform. Key areas identified for improvement have been increasing support for Councillors, responding to devolution and doing more to ensure our MPs, Councillors, PPC and Mayors reflect the diversity of the communities they represent.

Labour’s local government representatives play a huge part in our party, and the introduction of directly-elected mayors of Combined Authorities represent an exciting, new opportunity for us.

If elected, Labour’s new Metro Mayors will make a huge positive difference to their communities, building more housing, improving transport, education and more.

So far though, our high profile Mayoral candidates have been male. It is clear we need to do more to increase diversity in local government, including increasing the number of Labour’s female Councillors and women in leadership roles within local government. This involves identifying the barriers that prevent more women (and candidates from other under-represented groups) from standing for election and fulfilling their leadership potential, and working to remove these barriers.

Equally, we need to do much more to encourage more BAME, working class, LGBT and disabled people to stand for elected office.

New measures currently being discussed by the NEC include:

  • Expand the use of all women shortlists in local government selections.
  • Increase the training and targeting currently done for underrepresented groups in local government.
  • To support new Councillors, there will be more dedicated local government materials including a pack for new councillors.
  • Council and Group executives should reflect the gender makeup of their Groups and should reflect the wider community. If an executive does not reflect the makeup of their group, this could lead to disciplinary action.
  • Work to phase out all male member Council wards.

We are also discussing how local government should be better represented within the Party. Continue reading

Thank you for re-electing me to the NEC

Thank you so much to everyone who voted, nominated and supported me. I am so honoured to be re-elected to the Labour NEC. Whatever the future holds for us, I will always stand up for Councillors and Labour in local government.

I am delighted that the LGA Labour Group Leader Nick Forbes has also been elected. We will always do our best for you.

The full results are given below: