Local parties should start early when it comes to AGMs

Yes, I know that it’s only June, but have you given any thought to your Local Party’s AGM?

The Party’s Constitution specifies that it should take place between 1 October and 30 November, so it isn’t as far away as you might think. And there are things that can be done now that will help to make it more successful than might otherwise be the case.

Firstly, have you decided upon a date yet? Apart from the limitations on timing noted above, you don’t want to clash with your Regional Conference, so you might want to rule that out. Is a weekend better than a weekday? Urban Local Parties might find that a weekday is better, rural ones may find a weekend afternoon suits. And the earlier you pick a date, the sooner you can start to approach potential guest speakers.

MPs are usually quite popular, but they’re in London during the week (it never ceases to amaze me how many people forget that). But there are other potentially great people to invite. Have you thought of inviting a local Peer, or your MEP, for example? But all of them have diaries that fill up quickly, so if you get there first, the chances of getting the person you want improve.

Once upon a time, when I was a Local Party Chair, I proposed the date of our AGM months in advance and, on that basis, secured the presence of an MP from the Region. She turned up, was very entertaining, and drew a decent crowd. Her own Local Party, who had not been so prescient, picked the same date, assumed that she would turn up, and were somewhat surprised when she told them that, due to a prior engagement, she couldn’t come.

Picking a date also allows your Officers to prepare, for the Treasurer to start thinking about next year’s budget, for the Secretary to start planning the agenda, to arrange for a Returning Officer if you have contested elections.

In the coming weeks, I’ll talk about some of the preparations that Local Party Officers should be making in advance of the AGM, as part of an effort to draw up some guidance for Local Parties to help them with the bureaucracy of administering themselves. It is intended to be a collaborative process and, as it continues, I hope to use my Region as a testing ground, so think of this as a surgery for Local Party Officers.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters.
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4 Comments

  • I have a feeling that mine won’t be very well attended this year!

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