Tag Archives: internal party organisation

What do you think of the revamped Members’ area of party website?

The digital geniuses at Party HQ have been giving a New Year Spring clean to the Members’ Area of the party website.

If you’ve never had a wander around there, why not make yourself a cup fo tea and go and have a wee look.

There’s all sorts of information there. For a start, I realised how outdated my profile was and changed it.

The site is organised into sections for conference, policy, campaigning and training, If you’re interested in what’s going on in the party, you can find committee reports there.

The training section is brilliant, with all sorts of webinars and training presentations. The old OSKAR (Online Skills and Resources) is becoming Lib Dem Learning, which makes a lot more sense and there will be a whole load more information there in the months ahead.

Anyone who has any access to any party data needs to keep an eye on their new responsibilities under GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulations. There’s some very important information that every single local party executive will need to read and act upon in the next few weeks which you can find here. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Sal Brinton writes…We must have a politics in which everyone feels able to be involved free from abuse or harassment

Over the last ten days the country has been rocked by the revelations of sexual harassment at Westminster.  Let me be clear that the Liberal Democrats believe harassment and abuse of power are unacceptable in any situation, and especially at Westminster.  Whether the allegations are about groping, inappropriate remarks or texts through to possible criminal offences of sexual assault and rape, any complaint needs to be listened to, taken seriously and investigated. Since these incidents are often about abuses of power, it is crucial people have an independent, confidential route to report incidents when they happen.

This week the Chief Whips in the Commons and the Lords have met with staff twice to hear their views and to ensure everyone is aware of how to make a complaint, and assured they will be taken seriously.  We are also reviewing our procedures in Parliament with a view to broadening the involvement in investigations to include some of those most likely to have a lived experience of this type of behaviour. There have also been meetings with both groups of MPs and peers to review their responsibilities to staff and volunteers.

Vince Cable will be meeting with the other party leaders on Monday to discuss how Parliament and the political parties can work better together to rid Parliament of the scourge of harassment.

In doing so, he will draw on the lessons our own party has learned.  In 2013 the Liberal Democrats commissioned Helena Morrissey to conduct a Review which changed fundamentally the party’s process and attitude towards sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power. The Federal Executive (now the Federal Board) accepted all her recommendations, and also asked Helena Morrissey to review progress against her recommendations, which the FE also reviewed at the end of 2014.

We re-wrote our Code of Conduct for members  and made it clear what the rights and responsibilities are of members.  There’s a page that has links to specific responsibilities for people with different roles here. We encourage people to report incidents – without a complaint it is very hard to investigate – and put in place arrangements to ensure that complainants feel supported.  Some people have been expelled from the party since strengthening our rules.

We have a professional Pastoral Care Officer, Jeanne Tarrant, who is not a party member.  She is trained to handle complaints fairly and independently, whether they come from inside or outside the party. Complaints come to her via the website  or by emailing her at [email protected].  She will contact the complainant to get more information if necessary and guide them through the process. Where she believes that a crime has been committed, she will also encourage the complainant to go to the police.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 15 Comments

Opinion: Time for a real English party

It’s time for Liberal Democrats to get serious about England. Although we are, in theory, a federal party, we certainly don’t act like it in practice. In Scotland we stand as the Scottish Liberal Democrats. In Wales we stand as the Welsh Liberal Democrats/Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru. But in England we just stand as the Liberal Democrats.

We have Scottish and Welsh conferences to handle Scottish and Welsh policy but no English conference so our “federal” conference is dominated by policy on England only matters. We have federal committees in the party but they have Scottish and Welsh representatives added on separately. We have Welsh and Scottish Lib Dem HQs but the greatest concentration of our staff and resources is at party headquarters in London where there’s no distinction between staff focusing on federal matters and England matters.

Posted in Op-eds | 47 Comments

Opinion: Time to address our “Woman Problem”

Two out of four candidates for the UK Labour leadership are women. This remarkable fact has arisen with little comment. It seems normal and there is no suggestion that either Yvette Cooper or Liz Kendall’s names on the ballot are tokenistic.

In contrast, no women are eligible to stand for leadership of the Lib Dems as we have no female MPs. We have two strong candidates for leader in Tim Farron and Norman Lamb. I feel, however, that it’s unacceptable to have got ourselves into a position where there is no possibility of voting for a woman leader.

The front-runner to be next Labour leader in Scotland is a woman. The Scottish First Minister is a woman, as is the leader of the Scottish Conservatives. The Scottish Greens have Co-Convenors with a man and a woman jointly holding the post. So it is likely that in Scotland we will soon be the only party not to have a woman leader. Indeed, unless there is a considerable change in our fortunes  before the Holyrood elections next year we will soon have no women in the Scottish Parliament either. Our current sole female MSP, Alison McInnes, has been voted number 2 on the North East list and there is only 1 region, out of 8, where we have a woman at the top of the list.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 50 Comments

Opinion: Issues for the promised party governance review

Before the election we were promised a review of how the party operates, and if the Federal Executive is doing its job properly then we should be hearing at some point in June how each of us can contribute to that process.  Here is a little bit of my input as to where we can go from here.

Firstly we need to commission the development of a registered voting system for the Conference app that can be used for all internal elections.  The BBC and ITV have managed to develop such apps for voting in their competitions and shows and registering the vote to an individual shouldn’t be that difficult.

Secondly, all committees should be elected on the basis of one member one vote.  The idea that vested interests such as parliamentarians, councillors or specified organisations can have places reserved at the top tables in a party that prides itself on every member having the same say is nonsense.  Our elected representatives should be answerable to the party that secured their election, not stacking its committees to make it answerable to them.
Posted in Op-eds | 14 Comments

How not to motivate your exhausted, defeated candidates…

Let’s be honest, every single person who stood for the Liberal Democrats at the last election is a superstar. It would have been all to easy for people to decide to sit this one out because it was unlikely that we were ever going to make much in the way of progress outside our held seats. As it turned out, despite all the effort that wonderful teams on the ground put in, our parliamentary ranks were much depleted.

Yes, we will fight back, but we are all still really feeling it. Ed’s poignant piece On Being Beaten outlined the far-reaching effects of a bruising electoral defeat. At this time the Liberal Democrat family needs to be pulling together and looking after each other.

Sadly, looking after each other is something we haven’t been so good at in the past. We’ve tended to leave people who have put everything into their campaigns to lick their own wounds when they’ve lost, without showing enough appreciation and gratitude.

I thought we’d done better this time. Our peers, who were also campaign superstars, campaigning up and down the country, spent the weekend after the election phoning and thanking every candidate. I know how much that meant to my two.

It really looked like we had learned something. Another good thing about this election was that there were no inappropriate campaign emails to devastated members, candidates and activists. That is, until yesterday.

After every election, candidates are always asked to give feedback on the campaign and local parties are asked to give a report on their candidates. So far, so routine. Except yesterday’s “invitation” to participate was written in a most unappealing and demotivating manner, threatening people that if they didn’t complete the process (with one deadline being next Monday), they’d be dumped from the approved list. Here’s an excerpt:

Posted in News | Also tagged | 68 Comments

Opinion: Time for constitutional reform..but not the way you think

It’s time for constitutional reform – of the Liberal Democrats. We need to redesign our party structures to make them fit for the challenges we face.

While there has to be a big debate on what needs change and what the best options are, here’s a rundown of options worth considering:

1. Either abolish membership fees or create an associate membership which costs nothing and has some of the privilege of full members. Why should you have to pay to join our movement instead of donating when you wish and are able to?

2. Reduce barriers to participation within the party. This means introducing one member, one vote everywhere in the party and should involve eliminating, or heavily reducing, the period of membership required to be able to vote in internal elections. In the Canadian Liberal’s leadership election the winning campaign signed up over 100,000 new members alone with the incentive of being able to vote for the party leader – why can’t we do something similar?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 59 Comments

While we’re talking about deadlines….

We told you about the secret elections earlier, but there’s something else you might want to think about. The deadline for submitting motions for the Spring Conference in Liverpool is less than 8 days away. It’s 1pm on Wednesday 14th January so if you are keen to see a change in policy, now is your chance. Get it drafted and get 10 voting representatives to sign it.

The party website has some tips for writing motions here.

Posted in News | 3 Comments

Opinion: Does our party’s structure and constitution need an overhaul?

Liberal Democrat Conference 2011There are many issues facing the Liberal Democrats at the moment and there has been much discussion about these issues. But one which has been overlooked, in my opinion, is the need to apply our traditional enthusiasm for constitutional reform to ourselves

At the moment the structure of the party is essentially a replica of a national political system. We have constituencies of local parties whose members (the voters) elect a local government in the form of a party executive and who also elect voting representatives (MPs) by proportional representation to send to conference (parliament) where they in turn elect the Federal Executive and the Federal Policy and Conference

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | 35 Comments

Nick Clegg announces review into local and Euro election campaigns

Nick Clegg LBC squareOn his weekly phone-in today, Nick Clegg announced that the Chair of the party’s Campaigns and Communications Committee, James Gurling, would lead a review into our election campaign and strategy which would take advice from a  wide range of party members in all parts of the country where we did well and where we did badly.

I was very keen that the grassroots should be able to contribute to this and James Gurling replied to me on Twitter to say that this would be the case:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 65 Comments

Opinion: In coalition, more than ever, our leadership must listen to party members

lib dem conf votingThe Maria Miller furore has recently highlighted how voters between elections are powerless to change their MP, once they’re ‘in’ that’s it – you have to wait another five years to give your judgement on how they’ve performed.

In our ‘always on’ modern culture this is unusual. People can cancel utility contracts or switch broadband suppliers within days if they’re unhappy with the level of service, or give instant feedback online or over the phone which is listened to and actioned.  Shouldn’t we be able to …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 18 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDave Page 22nd May - 4:52pm
    Link to Colin Rosenstiel's copy (with apologies for typo in previous comment): http://www.rosenstiel.co.uk/aldc/commpol.htm
  • User AvatarLaurence Cox 22nd May - 4:25pm
    It might be a good idea to download it; following Colin's sad demise, we don't know how long the Rosenstiel web site will last. [Note...
  • User Avatarpaul barker 22nd May - 4:08pm
    @ Katherine Pindar & the 6% was quickly followed by another 9% Can I appeal to everyone to either ignore Polls or look at them...
  • User AvatarDave Page 22nd May - 4:01pm
    "Theory and Practice of Community Politics" is pretty much my go-to book as a Lib Dem and I'd advise anybody read it (IIRC there's a...
  • User AvatarJennie 22nd May - 3:59pm
    ♡♡♡
  • User AvatarMichael 1 22nd May - 3:17pm
    @Katharine Pindar Obviously the most important thing we can all do is get down to Lewisham East (and I need to wean myself of LDV...