Federal People Development Committee explains supporters proposal

Last night at 6:15pm I went to the truly vast Oxford hall within the Brighton Hilton. You could almost hold the FA Cup Final in the Oxford Hall, it is so big.

There was an excellent meeting, chaired by Miranda Roberts, which explained the supporters proposal.

Miranda is the chair of the Federal People Development Committee. She took us through the process. There was a briefing on a similar scheme in Canada and within the UK Which consumer organisation.

The meeting was an hour long, very well attended, and included a brief question and answer session.

We were provided with sheets of paper to fill in feedback and hand in at the door when we left. Lots of people filled in those forms and handed them in.

The key “take away” for me is that there are two sets of proposals:

1. The supporters proposal which is being proposed by the Federal People Development Committee, for which feedback should be sent to [email protected] with “FPDC” in the title. As such, this particular proposal is fairly straight forward – a supporters scheme – pure and simple.

2. Vince’s extra proposal to give supporters the right to vote in party leadership elections and allow non-MPs to stand in party leadership elections. These elements are not endorsed by the committee. The committee states “Remember, you can email any comments on Vince’s proposals to [email protected]” (presumably without FPDC in the title because such feedback will go to Vince, not the FPDC.)

I went away with a much clearer idea of the proposals and how we got here. I think Miranda and the committee were laudably clear in their explanation. The briefings from the Canadian Liberals and Which were quite exciting. Their experience is that such schemes can be mind-bogglingly successful.

The supporters scheme proposal in its simple FPDC-endorsed form is:

-Registered supporter scheme
-free to register
-supporters can join the party’s affinity deals (like signing up with Ecoteicity)
-regular high quality email communications that includes invites to activities, fundraising appeals and political news.
-regular invites to join the party as members.

I think it is important to draw a line at this stage and say that the above bullet points are the full extent of the Federal People Development Committee consultation. That is section 1 as explained above. Feedback for this supporters scheme proposal should be sent to [email protected] with the letters “FPDC” in the subject title of the email, so that the feedback goes to the FPDC. Miranda Roberts was at pains to point out that she will read every single email which is marked “FPDC” in the title space, and will forward such emails to all members of the committee.


Now we come to section 2. Vince Cable, as leader, proposes that registered supporters should be able to vote in party leadership elections and that non-MPs should be able to stand as leader. Feedback for this proposal should be sent to [email protected] WITHOUT any markings in the title, so that the feedback goes to Vince, NOT the FPDC.

I hope I have got that all right. I will update this post during today if I have made a mistake or missed anything crucial.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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  • Thank you Paul, that is very useful. I’m glad to see those two issues are to be separated. I was worried they would be lumped together in a single “take it or leave it” decision.

  • How about making conference more (financially) accessable rather than a membership free-for-all!

  • SueSutherland 17th Sep '18 - 1:10pm

    Thank you for this clarity Paul and for the opportunity to provide feedback to Miranda Roberts.

  • Thank you for this. The supporters scheme is not really something we should be spending time on. It is obvious that with the evolving law on keeping records of people who have not agreed to this is a challenge for every organisation.
    However “high quality email communications“? If we had had that for members there would have been no need to have so much fuss. I find the communication that I receive from the national party is mainly begging emails, and even begging letters.
    Meanwhile we need a discussion about the reality of the problems facing our party. We may celebrate the increase in membership, but we need a means of having a structure for them to become active locally in places where there is no activity, for example.

  • David Evershed 18th Sep '18 - 10:53am

    There are no barriers to people becoming Lib Dem members – as demonstrated by the large number who have joined since 2015.

    So there is no need for a “supporter” scheme which just makes life unnecessarily complicated for everyone, including the proposed supporters.

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