Tag Archives: governance review

A way forward for the English Party

Since late 2016, the English Party has been reviewing its structure and governance. This was initiated following the consultation conducted by the Federal Party following the 2015 General Election, which revealed some considerable criticism of the English Party for a lack of transparency and accountability.

The English Party established the English Review Group towards the end of 2016, with members drawn from each of the 11 English Regions. This is chaired by Sally Symington, who has not previously been a member of any of the English Party committees. She was recommended for her common-sense approach, her fresh eye, and her experience …

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Deputy Leader Drama

A good deal of this Conference is taken up with debating the party’s Governance Review. Changes are being made to make the party’s structure more accountable, transparent and strategic. This was a key plank of Sal Brinton’s presidential campaign in 2014.

Thankfully, all the constitutional stuff has been split up and is being discussed in smaller slots at the end of each day.

Yesterday afternoon, we debated proposals to elect a Deputy Leader. This came out of a constitutional amendment last year which was referred back to the Governance Review. In the wake of an election result leaving us with eight white make MPs, there seemed to be a desire for a Deputy Leader from an under-represented group.

A subsequent consultation was inconclusive as to whether members wanted a deputy leader elected by the membership or not. Conference was given the opportunity to choose between two options – one for a deputy leader elected by the members on a joint ticket with the leader. The rationale behind that was heavily influenced by watching the relationship between Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson play out.

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Liberal Youth calls for reserved places on party committees

Liberal Youth (soon to be the Young Liberals) has called for places to be reserved on party committees for its members, citing the success of this approach in Scotland and Wales.

In an open letter to the Federal Executive, published on the Libertine blog, LY co-chair Charlie Kingsbury said:

…it feels obvious now that Liberal Youth, now being the largest voting bloc in the party, to be intimately involved in the decision-making process of the wider party.

This is already the case in both Scotland and Wales, where appropriate executive officers of the relevant state organisations of Liberal Youth (Ieuenctid Rhyddfrydol Cymru and Liberal Youth Scotland) sit on their Conference, Campaigns, Policy, and Executive Committees. In England too, LY England members sit on the English Council and Executive. It strikes us as peculiar that the same settlement is not imitated federally: if the Welsh, Scottish and English Liberal Democrats are able to trust their respective youth wings, it is surprising that the Federal Party does not do the same.

Through including Liberal Youth in the party committees of the federal party (as it already does for the FPC), it sends a clear message that Liberal Youth and the wider party of the Liberal Democrats are working together for the purposes of promoting a more liberal United Kingdom, and not in opposition to each other. This is especially important after we highlighted a number of concerns regarding ageism in the party that do not seem to be reflected in Wales in particular, where Liberal Youth membership of their main committees is automatic.

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Deadline for responses to second consultation on the governance review

You should have received an email from Sal Brinton last week inviting you to give your views on the consultation paper on the governance review. The deadline is TODAY!! So if the weather is keeping you at home you could do worse than spend a few minutes reading the consultation document and sending in your views on it.

You do need to click on the button on the email that you received, so we can’t direct you to the survey from here.

The feedback at this, the second stage of consultation, will help to determine the proposals which will be put to …

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Last chance to submit your thoughts to the Governance Review – deadline is noon tomorrow

The deadline for submissions to the party’s Governance Review is noon tomorrow. If you have strong opinions on how the party is run, you need to get them in by then. The Federal Executive will be discussing them at an away day on 5th December and proposals will then be drawn up for consultation at Spring Conference and regional and state conferences. Here’s what I wrote in September about why it’s important to contribute:

I often think that if any executive body wanted to do some real power grabs, it would circulate them in a document entitled “Governance review” in the hope that nobody would actually read them and work out what they meant.

Actually, you don’t get away with that in this party where we have been known to have quite a bit of an obsession with constitutional geekery and process. I often feel that we get too tied up in the wording of tiny parts of the constitution and not enough in its practical application and the culture we need to foster to make the party work well. In a party that values openness, transparency and accessibility for government, we don’t have nearly enough of them in the way we run our party.

Posted in Op-eds | 15 Comments

Governance review – more exciting than you think, honest.

I often think that if any executive body wanted to do some real power grabs, it would circulate them in a document entitled “Governance review” in the hope that nobody would actually read them and work out what they meant.

Actually, you don’t get away with that in this party where we have been known to have quite a bit of an obsession with constitutional geekery and process. I often feel that we get too tied up in the wording of tiny parts of the constitution and not enough in its practical application and the culture we need to foster to make the party work well. In a party that values openness, transparency and accessibility for government, we don’t have nearly enough of them in the way we run our party.

Party reform was a massive issue in last year’s presidential election campaign. We all know we want to do something different, and the Governance Review now underway is designed to work out the precise details for reform. How can we say that we are run by our members when only a select few are even eligible to stand for some of the most important power-wielders? Are we truly making the most of the talents and professional skills of our members?

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