Constitution working Draft 5


This new draft of the working constitution is the one which will debated on Saturday in Manchester. We have asked for their to be two sessions as this is such a crucial part of the founding conference in November. We will now start at 13:15 and end at 17:00 with a fifteen minutes break in the middle.

The main difference with this version is it includes an Executive, an enlarged National Council.

The executive will have 14 members of which 7 are directly elected officers and shall be non-voting members of the National Council too. The other 7 of which will be elected from within the regionally elected National Council and will have an Executive and National Council vote.

Best wishes James Youd and Richard Murgatroyd



5 responses to “Constitution working Draft 5”

  1. SeanT says:

    And here is absolutely the last, I promise, iteration of one of the other drafts that will be discussed on Saturday.


    Draft constitution of [Left Unity]

    1) Name. The name of the party shall be[Left Unity]. 
    2) Membership.
    a) Membership of [Left Unity] shall be open to any individual without regard to disability, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation who:
    i. commits to further the aims of [Left Unity]
    ii. agrees to abide by the democratically decided rules and constitution of [Left Unity]
    iii. pays any membership subscription agreed by National Conference
    iv. supports [Left Unity] candidates in elections
    v. is not a member of an organisation deemed incompatible with membership of [Left Unity] by National Conference or National Council
    vi. is at least fourteen years old

    3) General structural rules
    a) The following shall apply to all party bodies:
    i. The minutes of all meetings of branches, regional and national committees or other party bodies will be published and made available to members in a timely manner and in accessible forms.

    ii. No member may hold a nationally elected post within the party for more than five consecutive years, following which s/he may not stand for election to that post for two years.

    iii. The term of all elected posts within the party shall be one year. All party bodies have the right to recall the elected delegates, officers and spokespersons accountable to them.

    iv. As part of our overall commitment to gender equality, at least 50% of those elected to regional and national party bodies should be women.

    4) Branches
    a) Branches are the basic unit of the party and bring together members of [Left Unity]on a geographical basis. Branch members, in liaison with their Regional Council, or the National Council if there is no regional council, can agree to merge their branch with others or to subdivide their branch to create new branches. Branches should have a minimum of ten members.

    b) Individual members will normally be part of the branch based on the geographical area in which they live. Where a member prefers to participate in a branch based on where s/he works or studies, this should be jointly agreed by the relevant branches. Members may be voting members of only one branch.

    c) Branches shall produce their own Standing Orders, reflecting their specific method of operation and local circumstances; however, local arrangements must not conflict with the provisions of the Model Standing Orders in Appendix 2.

    d) Branches should meet at least monthly.

    5) Sections and Caucuses
    Members of [Left Unity] have the right to form and organise in Sections and Caucuses.
    a) Sections:
    i. Sections can be established to encourage the self-organisation of party members who suffer from specific discrimination and to enable them to organise collectively in campaigns against oppression and take a lead in the party on these issues.
    ii. Sections can also be set up to bring together party members who have distinct interests (such as housing or education) and/or who are interested in campaigning on a specific issue or who are members of the same trade union. Such sections can help to bring together members who are active in campaigns in order to intervene more effectively, co-ordinate activity, promote the party’s policies and feedback experience into the party.
    iii. Sections should bring their terms of reference to the attention of the the National Council (or regional committee if regionally based) and make them available to the membership as a whole.
    iv. Youth and Student sections
    Subject to the approval of National Conference, [Left Unity] shall establish youth and student groups in local constituencies, in schools and in colleges and universities. Membership of the party’s youth section shall be open to all members under the age of 26 and its student section to all members who are full time students in any educational establishment. Members of local youth and student groups shall establish their own national sections and determine their own Standing Orders, subject to approval by National Conference.
    c) Caucuses:
    i. Members have the right to organise in Caucuses. As a pluralist party, we recognise that a range of political points of view is a necessary and healthy source of debate and new ideas.
    ii. All Caucuses should be open in that their aims and objectives should be brought to the attention of the National Council and should be available to all other party members.
    iii. Caucuses have a right to be heard, to organise meetings, to produce literature, to distribute materials at [Left Unity] meetings and, in general, to try to influence and/or change party policy. Caucuses may not, however, organise public campaigns against the overall aims or policy of the party.
    6) English Regional, Scottish and Welsh structures
    a. National Councils will be created for Scotland and Wales, comprised of elected representatives of the branches in those nations.
    b) In England, Regional Councils of representatives from branches will be organised for the following English regions London, South East, North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, Eastern, South West. Each local party will be entitled to send as many delegates as may be determined from time to time by National Conference, and as many observers as wish to attend. The party’s youth and student sections organised in each region shall be entitled to send delegates on such basis as shall be determined from time to time by National Conference.
    c) The role of English regional, Welsh and Scottish councils will be co-ordinating and prioritising campaigning and organisational activities, assisting in the creation and building of branches and encouraging political education. 
    d) Regional, Scottish and Welsh Councils shall each meet at least quarterly and adopt their own Standing Orders, subject to approval by National Council.
    7) National Conference
    a) National Conference is the sovereign body of the party. Each National Conference shall take place within 13 months of the previous one. No conference is bound by the decisions of a previous conference

    b) The National Council may call a Special National Conference on a vote of 2/3 present and voting, or if, over a three month period, 25% of branches pass a resolution or 25% of the membership sign a petition, calling for one.

    c) All members may attend National Conference and vote as individuals on the basis of one member one vote except that, in the event of the party reaching or exceeding 2,000 members, the provisions in 7d) shall come into force.

    d) National delegate conferences

    i. Conference is organised on a delegate basis from branches, with the size of delegations based on such a proportion of branch membership as shall be decided from time to time by Conference.

    ii. The party’s national youth and student sections shall be entitled to send delegates to National Conference on a basis that shall be determined from time to time by Conference.

    iii. All party members are entitled to attend National Conference as visitors. Party visitors can participate in debates but will not have voting rights.

    e) All party bodies and any group of at least that number of individual members as decided from time to time by National Conference may submit motions to Conference.
    f) National Council may submit the proposals of sub-committees, working parties or standing committees, as amended by National Council, to National Conference in the form of motions.
    g) Sub-committees or working parties established by conference motion may be charged to submit proposals directly to National Conference.
    h) A Conference Arrangements Committee, which shall consist of four members plus the National Secretary, will be responsible for all aspects of the organisation of National Conference except the organisation and timing of its agenda, which is the responsibility of the Standing Orders Committee.
    8) Standing Committees
    a) National Conference may establish standing committees to oversee specific areas of the party’s work. Standing Committees should meet at least 3 times per year.
    b) Between Conferences, standing committees shall be accountable to the National Committee, which will have the right to endorse, amend or reject the proposals of standing committees.
    c) Members of standing committees will initially be elected by the National Conference which establishes the committee, but thereafter will be nominated by branches and directly elected by national ballot, except for the Conference Arrangements Committee, which will be elected annually by National Conference.
    9) Standing Orders Committee and Disputes Committee
    a) A Standing Orders Committee shall be elected annually by national ballot. This committee will
    consist of seven people, but shall not include members of the National Committee, Executive Committee or national officers.

    i. It shall be responsible for the timing and running of the National Conference agenda, including sending out prioritised resolution ballot forms to each branch and facilitating the compositing of motions where appropriate.

    ii. The Standing Orders Committee will produce and maintain a set of Standing Orders for conducting the business of National Conference that may be amended from time to time by National Conference.

    iii. Between National Conferences, the Standing Orders Committee shall be the final authority on the interpretation and application of the party’s constitution and procedures.

    iv. The Standing Orders Committee shall adopt its own Procedures and Standing orders, subject to approval and amendment from time to time by National Conference.

    b) A Disputes Committee shall be elected annually by national ballot. This committee will
    consist of seven people, but shall include no members of the National Committee, Executive Committee or national officers. Its role will be to investigate disputes and complaints about the behaviour of individual party members referred to it by Regional Councils or the Executive Committee, who will be expected to have endeavoured to resolve the specific disputes or complaints before referring them on.

    c) A Regional Council or the Executive Committee may refuse anyone membership (or decide an existing member no longer meets the criteria for membership listed in 2a) or take other disciplinary action against an individual member. Such action may only be taken as a result of an investigation by, and recommendation from, the Disputes Committee, which must be explained in writing to the member (or potential member). The individual concerned then has the right to appeal to National Conference.

    i. If an individual member, or group of members, has a complaint against another member or members, involving an alleged failure to abide by an aspect of the constitution or the guidelines set out in Appendix 3, the first recourse should be to the relevant branch, which should attempt to resolve the issue.

    ii. Should a branch fail to resolve the issue or consider it a serious matter which may call for disciplinary action, it should refer the matter in writing to the Regional Council. If the Regional Council decides that there is a case to answer, it will refer the matter to the Disputes Committee. Should the Regional Council decide not refer the matter to the Disputes Committee, the complainant may refer the matter in writing to the Executive Committee. If the Executive Committee decides that there is a case to answer, it will refer the matter to the Disputes Committee.

    d) The Disputes Committee shall adopt its own Procedures and Standing orders, subject to approval and amendment from time to time by National Conference.

    10) National Council
    a) The National Council is responsible for implementing party policy between National Conferences and for monitoring the work of the Executive Committee, standing committees, sub committees and working parties. It is the body that takes stock, learns lessons and readjusts strategy where necessary between conferences as well as implementing policy agreed at National Conference.

    b)i. Subject only to the provisions contained in Appendix 1, the National Council will consist of the Executive Committee, regional representatives, and representatives from the party’s youth and student sections on such a basis as National Conference may from time to time determine. National Council will meet at least every three months.

    ii Regions may each elect such a number of representatives to National Council, or a delegation based on such a proportion of regional membership, as may be determined from time to time by National Conference, saving only that regional representatives shall always constitute at least 50% of the membership of the National Council.

    iii. Regional representatives shall be elected by a postal or e-ballot of all members in each region, organised by the respective Regional Councils, or by the National Council if no regional council exists. Regional representatives will provide written reports of NC meetings, report back regularly to their Regional Council and report personally to each branch in their region on at least an annual basis, or at the request of any of those branches.

    c) The National Council may from time to time create new National Officer posts and temporarily co-opt from within its own membership or the membership at large to fill them. However, such posts must be approved by the next National Conference and the posts thereafter filled through national ballot.

    d) The National Council may establish sub-committees and working parties as necessary to deal with at specific areas of policy development, to develop campaign proposals and to organise events. Sub-committees and working parties do not have to consist of delegates to National Council, but are accountable to it. Sub-committees and working parties should report to the Executive Committee and National Council. The minutes of sub-committee and working group meetings should be forwarded to the national Executive Committee and National Council for information.

    e) All party bodies and any group of at least that number of individual members as decided from time to time by National Conference may submit motions and amendments to National Council.

    f) All members of the party are entitled to attend National Council meetings as observers.

    g) The National Council shall adopt its own standing orders, subject to approval by National Conference.

    11) Executive Committee

    a) The Executive Committee is responsible for the day to day running of the party. The Executive Committee is accountable for all its actions to National Council and National Conference. The Executive Committee should meet at least monthly.

    b) The Executive Committee shall consist of the National Secretary, National Co-Chairs, National Treasurer, Nominating Officer and 10 members (at least six of whom should be women) directly elected at National Conference.

    d) All members of the party are entitled to attend Executive Committee meetings as observers.

    e) The Executive Committee shall produce its own Standing Orders, subject to approval by National Conference.

    12) National Officers and Spokespersons

    a) National Officers will be elected annually by national ballot. National Officers will be responsible for processing the decisions of National/Special Conferences and National Council. National Officers will be as follows, or as may be determined from time to time by National Conference:
    i. National Secretary; responsible for day to day administration of the party’s organisation; including preparation of agendas, dealing with external correspondence & communications, liaising with regional councils, reporting to the Executive Committee and the National Council on progress etc.
    ii. Two National Co-Chairs (at least one of whom should be a woman); responsible for presiding over Executive Committee Meetings, National Council meetings, conferences etc., and acting as national spokespersons for the party.
    iii. National Treasurer; responsible for keeping details of party income and expenditure, preparation of quarterly financial reports to be sent to all National Council members and Branch Secretaries, and presentation of audited accounts to National Conference and the Electoral Commission.
    iv. Nominating Officer/Elections Co-ordinator; responsible for drawing up and implementing procedures for the democratic selection of party candidates for public office and other internal election processes, and for the overall co-ordination of national election campaigns. For the technical purpose of registration with the Electoral Commission only, this post holder will be designated party leader.

    b) The National Council may elect members from within its own ranks or from the membership at large as Party Spokespersons to communicate with the media on specific topics.

    13) Direct democratic participation, the internet and e-conferences

    a) [Left Unity] is committed to using social media, internet forums and e-voting in order to encourage free debate, discussion and decision making within the party. The National Council or such sub-committee that it may establish to deal with these issues, shall therefore regularly review this area and from time to time present reports to Annual Conference on the use of IT to enhance the party’s democratic processes.

    b) The National Council shall organise e-conferences on specific issues or questions when requested by 25% of branches in the course of a three month period. These will involve online debate and binding voting, restricted via password protection to paid up party members.

    c) Provision will be made for voting in all national and regional ballots to be conducted by online voting, although members may choose to receive postal votes instead

    14) Transparency and rights of recall

    a) Any member of [Left Unity] has the right to observe meetings of any sub-committee or working group (subject to the occasional need for confidentiality) but shall not have speaking rights unless agreed by the meeting, or voting rights.

    b) All minutes of national committees and working groups will be published in a timely manner.

    c) If 25% of branches or 3 Regional Councils or National Committees request the recall of a national officer, a member of the Executive Committee, a member of National Council or a member of a standing committee or subcommittee in the course of a three month period, the member concerned shall step down and the National Council shall organise a new election. The previous incumbent may appeal to National Conference and/or stand again if s/he so wishes.

    d) A national officer, national spokesperson or Executive Committee member may be recalled by the National Council. A recalled member has the right of appeal to National Conference.

    e) Regional officers can be recalled at a special aggregate meeting of all members in the region. A meeting to recall a regional officer must be called if requested in motions submitted by 25% of branches in the region in the course of a three month period.

    f) Branch officers and delegates can be recalled at a branch meeting specially called for the purpose.

    15) Accountability and conduct of members elected to external bodies and public office
    a) All [Left Unity] members elected to positions on any external body will adhere strictly to the nationally agreed policies, priorities and principles of the party. Failure to abide by these principles and rules, or to engage in any behaviour which brings the Party into disrepute, will incur disciplinary action (subject to the party’s disciplinary procedures).
    b) No member may stand as an official ‘[Left Unity] Candidate’ without undergoing a democratic selection process at local, regional, or national levels, as determined from time to time by National Conference and supervised by the national Nominating Officer/Elections Co-ordinator.
    c) Members standing as official party candidates for public office will be expected to sign an undertaking agreeing to abide by the following code of conduct:
    i. In cases where an elected position on a public body is carried out on a full time basis, [Left Unity] members will only draw a maximum of the median national wage, or such other proportion of average earnings as may be determined from time to time by National Conference, – donating the surplus to [Left Unity]. Where an elected position is a full time job [Left Unity] members will take on no other regular paid employment.
    ii. Members elected to public office will publish details of all their expenses and how those expenses have been spent, and publish details of any outside activities for which they have received payment.
    iii. No member will continue in any single elected public office for more than two full terms, or such other period as shall be determined from time to time by National Conference.
    iv. All [Left Unity] members serving in elected positions shall provide regular report backs at the agreed appropriate, local, regional, or national level.
    v. All [Left Unity] members serving in elected positions shall resign their elected office immediately if they cease to be party members during their term of office.
    16) Finance.
    a) The following general rules regarding finance will apply:
    i. All funds received by or on behalf of [Left Unity] shall be applied to further the aims of [Left Unity] and for no other purpose.
    ii. Any bank accounts opened for a party accounting unit will be in the name of that accounting unit.
    iii. Any cheques issued by a party accounting unit shall be signed by the Treasurer of that accounting unit and another authorised signatory.
    iv. Notwithstanding any requirement by the Electoral Commission or other external authority for an independent external audit, the party’s accounts will be independently audited, in conjunction with any finance standing committee National Conference may establish from time to time.
    b) Membership subscriptions will be determined from time to time by National Conference.
    c) Any member who is more than six months in arrears, without contacting his/her Branch Treasurer will be deemed to have resigned.
    d) All heritable and moveable property of the party shall be vested in Trustees so authorised by National Council, the Trustees’ representing and acting for the whole of the members of the party. No personal liability shall attach to any Trustee except to the extent of such funds of the party as may be actually received by him or her.

    e) The National Council shall have power to authorise the Trustees and the Trustees, when so authorised, may a) hold, purchase or take on lease any land or buildings, sell, exchange, borrow on the security of, lease or build upon the land and alter and pull down buildings and again rebuild; and b) grant security over the heritable property of the party and obtain advances of money for the purposes of the party and upon such terms as to interest and repayment of principal as the the committee may determine.

    17) Alterations to the Constitution
    Any changes to this Constitution must be proposed to a National Conference by the National Council, a branch/branches or in a motion signed by no less than 20 members. Any change must be agreed by at least two-thirds of those members present and voting. The proposed changes must be included in the notice posted announcing the Conference in good time to allow proper consultation.
    Appendix 1
    National Council – transitional arrangements

    a) Upon the adoption of this constitution at the party’s founding conference, the existing Left Unity National Coordinating Group shall take on the role of Transitional National Council. This body shall operate until the next National Conference, which shall take place within four months of the founding conference, when it shall dissolve and Clause 10 of the constitution will come fully into operation.

    b) The Transitional National Council will appoint, from its own number (or in the case of the Standing Orders Committee, from the membership at large), such acting national officers and temporary standing committees as are legally required by the Electoral Commission and as it may deem necessary for the efficient administration of the party. These will include Acting National Secretary, Acting Treasurer, and Acting Nominating Officer and members of Conference Arrangements and Standing Orders Committees, who shall remain in post only until the next National Conference.

    Appendix 2

    Model standing orders?
    These model standing orders are designed to provide a framework for well-ordered party meetings. Party branches and other party bodies may adapt these standing orders to reflect their specific method of operation and local circumstances; however, local arrangements must not conflict with the provisions of these model rules.
    1 The Annual General Meeting of [name of party body] shall be held each year in [month]. A Secretary, Treasurer and any other positions agreed to be necessary shall be elected. Vacant positions, or positions created to meet a newly identified need, may be filled by election at an ordinary branch meeting if members have been given proper notice.
    2 A formal notice of the annual meeting shall be sent by the secretary to all party members entitled to attend at least 14 days prior to the meeting.
    3 Ordinary meetings shall be held on the following regular basis [i.e. the first Tuesday of each month]. Formal notice of all meetings shall be sent out by the secretary to all those entitled to attend at least seven days prior to the meeting. Such notice shall as far as possible include an indication of the business to be transacted at the meeting.
    4 Meetings shall commence at [time]. Business meetings shall not be held if a quorum is not present within 30 minutes of the appointed time; always provided that in special circumstances members present may agree to transact pressing business subject to the ratification of the proceedings by the next quorate meeting. Meetings shall close two hours from the notified starting time, except that a particular meeting may be temporarily extended for a specified period with the support of two-thirds of the members present.
    5 The quorum for business meetings of [name of party body] shall be 25% of those members entitled to vote in attendance, or a fixed number agreed with the Regional Council or National Council.
    6 All members of [name of local party] living or registered as electors within the area covered by it shall be entitled to attend meetings and to vote, as well as any members living elsewhere whose membership of the local party has been agreed with the Regional Council or National Council where no regional council exists. Other members, potential members and supporters, may attend but shall not vote. When an annual or special meeting is not held for any reason or is abandoned without completing the business on the agenda, such meeting must be reconvened in order for any necessary outstanding business to be transacted.
    7 An elected Chair of shall preside at all meetings, except where otherwise provided for in the rules. In the absence of the chair the Vice-Chair shall preside if such an officer has been previously elected, but in the absence of both the secretary or other officer shall call on those present to elect a member to take the chair of the meeting. Should the office holder arrive once a member has been elected to preside in her or his place then she or he may claim, if they wish, the right to preside at the meeting once the current item of business has been disposed of. At the annual meeting the Chair shall preside until a successor is elected. The new Chair shall take over the conduct of the meeting forthwith and proceed to the election of other officers and further business.
    8 The prime function of party meetings is to provide members and supporters with the opportunity to participate in party activities through social contact, political debate and policy discussion, to assist in the political self education of members and to further for the party’s objectives in the area through campaigning and the promotion of links with sympathetic individuals and bodies within the wider community. Party meetings shall be drawn up to give due priority not only to organisational matters, but to the introduction of new members, the discussion of resolutions, party policy items and other matters of interest to party members and the receipt of reports from public representatives.
    9 Original motions for the general meetings of [name of party body] must be received by the secretary in writing not less than 7 days prior to the meeting for which they are intended. Motions for discussion shall be made available to those entitled to attend with the notice and agenda of the relevant meeting, except for emergency motions which must be sent in writing to the secretary as soon as the nature of the emergency allows before the commencement of the meeting. Emergency business may be accepted by the majority of the meeting on the recommendation of the chair who shall interpret the term ‘emergency’ in a bona fide manner.
    10 No motion shall be discussed at a meeting until it has been moved and seconded. Where a motion has been submitted by an affiliated body it must be moved by a delegate from that body. Speakers shall address the chair and shall only speak once on any motion except by permission of the chair, providing that the mover of a motion or an amendment may reply to the discussion without introducing new matter for debate; such reply shall close the discussion. No speaker shall be allowed more than five minutes, unless agreed by the meeting to be ‘further heard’ for a specified period. Amendments to any motion may be moved and seconded from the floor of the meeting but shall be handed to the secretary in writing. Amendments shall be taken in order with one amendment being disposed of before another is moved. If an amendment is carried, the amended resolution becomes a motion to which further amendments may be moved.
    11 A motion of ‘next business’ shall not be taken until the mover and seconder of a motion have been heard. Any motion ‘of next business’, ‘that the vote be taken’, ‘to adjourn’, ‘of no-confidence in the chair’ shall be moved, seconded and put to the vote without discussion; after such a vote the chair need not accept a further procedural motion for a period of 20 minutes.
    12 No motion to rescind a resolution of this body shall be valid within three months from the date on which the resolution was carried. Notice of rescinding motion must be given in writing and made available to those entitled to attend the relevant meeting in line with rule 8 above.
    13 Voting shall be by show of hands except where the constitution of the party provides for a ballot vote or where this body decides otherwise. In the event of there being an equality of votes on any matter decided by a show of hands, the chair may give a casting vote provided that s/he has not used an ordinary vote. If the chair does not wish to give a casting vote, the motion is not carried.
    14 The election of officers and/ or representatives of [name of party body] shall be by secret ballot using STV if necessary. Any quotas for women laid down in the party constitution which apply to this body shall be incorporated in the arrangements for the secret ballot. Ballot votes shall be held at meetings to select candidates and where otherwise provided for in the party constitution; and where requested by any member supported by at least two others. In the event of a tie on a secret paper ballot the chair shall not have a casting vote. Where appropriate, the ballot shall be retaken and in the event of a continual tie lots may be drawn. In a preferential ballot the tie shall be broken by establishing which candidate had the highest number of first preference votes or took the earliest lead on transfers.
    15 Any breach of or question to the rules or standing orders may be raised by a member rising to a point of order. The chair’s ruling on any point arising from the rules or standing orders is final unless challenged by not less than three members; such a challenge shall be put to the meeting without discussion and shall only be carried with the support of two-thirds of the members present.
    16 Party meetings and events shall be conducted in a friendly and orderly manner and organised in such a way as to maximise participation from members. No member shall be precluded from attendance because they cannot gain access to the meeting place for any reason. Physical or verbal harassment or intimidation of any member is unacceptable, as is any form of discrimination on the basis of gender, sexuality, disability or race. Smoking or drinking is not permitted at [name of party body] meetings. Any member acting in an unruly or disruptive manner, in contravention of the standing orders, may be removed from the meeting by action of the chair. The chair shall put such a motion to the meeting, which to be carried shall require the support of two-thirds of those present and voting.
    17 [name of party body] accepts the principle of minimum quotas for women at all levels of representation within the party and shall take steps to ensure that 50 per cent of any delegation shall be women and, where only one delegate is appointed, a woman shall hold the position at least every other year.
    18 No alterations shall be made to the rules and standing orders of [name of party body] except at an annual or special meeting called for this purpose and carried with the support of two-thirds of the members present and the general provisions of the constitution and rules of [Left Unity] shall apply to it.
    Appendix 3
    Safer spaces guidelines
    Under construction.

  2. John Penney says:

    A superb piece of work guys, well done, and all who contributed. This would serve LU very well. Such a pity it looks like endless debate and alternative (inferior) alternatives will have to be argued over too. Unfortunately I’ll miss the Manchester meeting due to personal matters. I hope that sense prevails and unity around this eminently useable Aims and Constitution proposal can be reached. One things for sure, if November Conference doesn’t end with a useable Constitution adopted, we are dead in the water !

  3. TimP says:

    As I too will not be in Manchester, I would like to add my appreciation. I’m a bit sorry at the addition of the Executive, another decision-making layer but practicalities may require it. However, the case for direct election of all senior posts becomes more important. I wish you well for tomorrow’s discussions.

  4. Mike Scott says:

    As expected, the time available in Manchester was nowhere near enough to go through the various issues! Having now had the chance to look at Draft 5 in detail, I’d like to post a number of points for consideration. A lot are about clarification or emphasis, but important none the less. If they are brief, I’ve just made the suggestion and left it at that; if not, I’ve included some justification. Sorry if any of these have already been raised – I missed one of the Workshop sessions!

    2(a): We need to sort out a definition of who we’re representing and stick to it! This para includes both “ordinary” people and “working” people. My strong preference is to use the former, as a lot of people aren’t working, either because they’re unemployed, long-term sick or have retired.
    2(b): I’m sure I can’t be the only one who would prefer the last sentence to end “…an inclusive welfare state which operates on the principle of ‘from each according to ability, to each according to need’ “!
    3(b)(ii): This isn’t clear. Amend to read: “…but shall not enjoy voting rights…”
    4(a)(iv): It might be better to have 5 years and a one year break – but I can see the arguments both ways.
    4(a)(ix): What does “geographically convenient” mean? For who?
    5(e): Add in “or postal” after “on-line”.
    6: It is important that branches aren’t left entirely to their own devices: there have already been some serious problems in some and we haven’t even got going properly yet! I propose that we produce Model Rules and Standing Orders for branches, that they can amend with local and Regional agreement (see also the reference to Standing Orders below).
    6(a): Reword to say: “Branches bring together members and supporters of LU, along area, Constituency or Ward lines.” The original wording is too prescriptive.
    6(c): What happens if numbers drop below this?
    6(d): As above, I don’t think branches should “manage their affairs as they see fit” and that this phrase could be used to justify all sorts of abuses. While they should have a certain amount of room for manoeuvre, there is also a need for some sort of oversight.
    6(e): Add in “normally” after “should”.
    6(g): Add at end: “in addition to money received for various purposes from National level”
    7(a)(iii): In second to last line, replace “are encouraged to” with “should”.
    7(b)(ii): I do think this is going to have to be reconsidered. It’s no good saying that caucuses shouldn’t become permanent factions, as if that will stop it actually happening! In fact, unless there is some mechanism to achieve this, it certainly will happen. I haven’t got a particular proposal to put here, but we will need to come up with something.
    7(c)(i): In the last line, add in “or part” after “full”.
    9(b): Before the last word, add in “at a quorate meeting”.
    9(j): What does “most easily geographically accessible” mean?
    10: There is an inconsistency between (b) and (d): having recognised that not everyone has access to the internet in the latter, there is still a provision for binding e-voting in the former, from which many people will be unfairly excluded.
    12(i): Presumably, people standing down after a year will be able to stand again? Or not?
    13(f): I can’t quite remember the outcome of the debate about this at the Workshop, but anyway, as this is written, it is clearly discriminatory and would need to apply to both men and women.
    16(a)(iii): Amend to read “…Treasurer and at least one other…”.
    16(v): Replace “may” with “will”(!)
    16(d): We will need to put some figures in here – what happened to the ones in the earlier draft?
    16(e): I’m not sure how well this will work and suggest that it is reviewed after the first year and every two years after that.
    17(b): In second last sentence, after “necessary” add in “or should it be considered inappropriate for the matter to be referred to the branch, it should be referred in writing…”. This would apply when for instance, someone has a complaint against all the Branch officers.
    Appendix 1: We need to make sure that the wording of the final draft of the Safer Spaces Policy is consistent with the rest of the Constitution.
    Appendix 2(6): There needs to be a Model List of Officers, to make sure everything gets done and ensure proper accountability to members.
    (9): In the second sentence, after “motion” add in “or amendment”. This will allow someone to speak both on an initial motion and on a subsequent amendment, which I think is fair and democratic.
    (9): I don’t think all amendments should have to be handed in in writing, especially if they’ve only arisen as a result of discussion at the meeting.
    (12): When I was a Trade Union Branch Chair, I never voted unless there was a tie and I don’t think it’s democratic for anyone to have two votes!
    (15): In the third sentence, after “harassment” add in “bullying”.

    I realise that some of these points may seem nitpicking, but they are based on bitter experience and it’s better to get a Constitution right at the beginning than have to change it afterwards!

    Cheers, Mike

    • Richard Murgatroyd says:

      Thanks Mike – as ever this is really useful

      We are in the process of putting together Working Draft 6 to seek convergence as far as possible between the three alternatives put forward so far AND take in comments/suggestions such as yours and points raised at Manchester.

      Hopefully we will be posting WD6 asap.



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