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Liberal Democrats

F36: Committees

Federal Executive

Insert new Article 7, and renumber accordingly:

ARTICLE 7: Committees of the Federal Party

7.1. The Committees of the Federal Party shall be the Federal Board, the Federal Policy Committee, the Federal Conference Committee, the Federal People Development Committee, the Federal Finance & Resources Committee, the Federal Communications & Elections Committee, the Federal International Relations Committee and the Federal Audit & Scrutiny Committee. Each Committee may appoint one of more Vice Chairs to stand in for the Chair and to undertake such other tasks as the Committee may from time to time provide.

7.2. No person elected by all members of the Party to a Committee of the Federal Party may simultaneously be elected by the same method to any other such Committee.

7.3. Any member of a Committee who does not attend a meeting for 6 months without good reason shall be deemed to have resigned from that Committee.

7.4. The term of office for each Committee of the Federal Party shall last for three years. All elections to Federal Committees by party members and other Federal Committees shall be governed by this term of office. It shall commence from the first meeting of that Committee following a triennial election. The first meeting of that Committee shall take place no later than three months after the declaration of the results in the triennial election.

7.5. The Federal Finance & Resources Committee, the Federal Communications & Elections Committee, the Federal People Development Committee, the Federal International Relations Committee and the Federal Audit & Scrutiny Committee shall be accountable to the Federal Board and will report as required by the Federal Board. The Federal Board shall also have regard to the desirability of establishing a subcommittee responsible for the co-ordination of the Party's activities,

7.6. The Federal Board, the Federal Conference Committee and the Federal Policy Committee shall each table a written report at each meeting of the Conference, with time giving at the Conference to debate each report. All other Committees shall report to the Conference as part of the Federal Board's report.

7.7. Each Committee of the Federal Party shall make regulations to govern the operation of the Committee and anybody accountable to it. Such regulations must include:

(a) a transparency policy which sets out when discussions of the Committee, and papers submitted to it, shall be confidential and which keeps confidentiality to a necessary minimum;

(b) provisions for reports to be made to party members after the completion of each full meeting of the Committee, including the responsibility of the Chair to report on the meeting and the Committee's work in a manner deemed practical by the Federal Chief Executive within 14 days of the conclusion of the said meeting;

(c) a conflict of interests policy, which shall include the requirement for all members of any Committee or other body governed by this Constitution or by regulations made thereto to complete a Declaration of Interest in a prescribed form. It shall also require any member and any other person attending a meeting to declare any interest which might affect or be seen to affect their contribution to the work of that body, and in particular to declare any actual or potential conflict of interest or loyalty;

(d) provision for any sub-committees or other groups established under Article 7.10 also to have regulations covering the above three areas; and

(e) provision for:

(i) the election by the committee of a chair (unless specified elsewhere in this constitution) and, if the committee so chooses, one or more Vice Chairs;

(ii) limits on the number of terms officers of the committee can serve sequentially (this provision does not apply to the Leader, Deputy Leader or President).

7.8. The Federal Chief Executive shall make arrangements for the attendance of Party staff at meetings of Federal Committees who shall support the Committees and report to the Federal Chief Executive's management team.

7.9 The Federal Chief Executive shall be responsible for maintaining and making available to party members an up-to-date copy of this Constitution and any regulations made under any Article in it. At their discretion, this may also include rules from other parts of the Party.

7.10 Each Committee shall have the power by regulation to establish sub-committees and other groups which shall be accountable to it. They may also by mutual agreement and by agreed regulations establish such subcommittees or other groups jointly with other Committees and may include representatives of State Parties on such bodies subject to their agreement.

7.11 Any regulation establishing a sub-committee or other group shall normally set out terms of reference for that body, including the purpose of that body; its duties and powers; its accountability and reporting arrangements; its members and chair; any term limits for the body and its members; and administrative arrangements including where appropriate the member of staff responsible for providing support and reporting to the Federal Chief Executive and their management team.

7.12 In all their work, committees and other bodies shall have full regard for the diversity of the Party, including in any appointments, co-options and quotas agreed by the Party. The chair of each such committee and body shall be responsible for promoting such diversity.

Delete Articles 6.8, 7.3 and 8.3, and renumber accordingly.

In Article 12.1, line 3 and 14, delete "two" and insert "three".

In Article 12.3, line four, delete "two" and insert "three".

In Article 12.4, line two, delete "two" and insert "three".

AND

Delete Article 8: The Federal Executive, and insert new Article 6: The Federal Board:

ARTICLE 6: The Federal Board

6.1. There shall be a Federal Board ("FB"), which shall be responsible for directing, co-ordinating and overseeing the implementation of the Party's strategy and the work of the Federal Party.

6.2. It shall consist of:

(i) voting members:

(a) the President, who shall act as its Chair;

(b) the Leader or, if the Leader so decides or the post of Leader is vacant, the Deputy Leader;

(c) a Vice-Chair of the Federal Policy Committee and a Chair of the Federal Conference Committee, each of whom may nominate a substitute;

(d) the Chair of any other Committee established under Article 7.1;

(e) three representatives of the Parliamentary Group as set out in Article 9.4;

(f) one principal local authority councillor, elected by principal local authority councillors of the Party from among their own number;

(g) one person elected by the Specified Associated Organisation representing youth and/or students from among their own number;

(h) one more person than the total number of voting members elected or appointed under paragraphs (a) to (g) above, who shall be party members elected by all members of the Party except that persons who, at the date of the close of nominations for election under this paragraph, are members of Parliamentary Parties set out in Article 9 shall not be eligible to be candidates for election under this paragraph. Casual vacancies amongst this group shall be filled in accordance with the election regulations;

(i) the Chair of the English Liberal Democrats, the Convenor of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, the Chair of the NEC of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, and the Chair of any other State Party recognised under Article 2.1 of this Constitution, each of whom may nominate a substitute; and

(j) one member elected by all members of each State Party according to their own procedures.

(ii) non-voting members:

(a) the Chief Whip of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons or their substitute from within the Parliamentary Group as defined in Article 9.4;

(b) the Federal Treasurer;

(c) the Federal Chief Executive;

(d) one representative of the staff employed by the Federal Party or by the Parliamentary Parties and elected by such staff; and

(e) a representative of local government jointly agreed between ALDC and the Liberal Democrat Group on the Local Government Association under a protocol agreed by both. In the absence of an agreed protocol, the Federal Board shall determine the method of appointment.

The Federal Board thus constituted may co-opt such persons and for such periods not exceeding three years as it thinks fit who shall be entitled to attend and speak but not vote (but so that there shall not be more than three persons co-opted at any time).

6.3. The Federal Board shall meet at least four times in each calendar year.

6.4. Following each election for the European Parliament and the House of Commons, the Federal Board shall commission a report on the Party's work in that election and shall report to the Party on the outcomes of that review. It shall report on its work, including the work of all committees and other bodies responsible to it, to each meeting of the Conference.

6.5. The Federal Board shall have power to establish a company limited by guarantee to acquire, hold and dispose of such assets of the Federal Party as the Federal Board may from time to time direct and to undertake such work as the Federal Board may from time to time decide. The Federal Board shall have power from time to time to appoint and remove the directors of such a company, who will otherwise be appointed for a period of five years, provided always that the Federal Board shall not so appoint any person holding any public office or office in the Party which may be incompatible therewith. The Federal Board may by resolution indemnify the directors from any liability arising from decisions by the Party. The directors shall present an Annual Report to Conference. Any such company shall oversee the Party's Major Donations Protocol and the operation of the Party's Legacy Fund, ensuring that the wishes of testators are fully respected and in line with direction by the Federal Board.

6.6. The Federal Board shall have power, after appropriate consultations and subject to ratification by the Conference, to make and from time to time vary rules as to:

(a) membership, subject to the provisions under Article 3;

(b) criteria for Associated Organisation and Specified Associated Organisation status and for the regular review of bodies holding such status;

(c) party elections, with any such rules providing for the use of STV (or, in the case of a single person vacancy, the Alternative Vote) and the secret ballot;

(d) compliance with any statutory or regulatory provisions that are relevant to the party's activities, including the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act and the Data Protection Act; and

(e) such other matters as it may consider necessary or desirable to give effect to or supplement the provisions of this Constitution, including those set out in Article 13.

6.7. The right of staff to join or not to join, an appropriate Trades Union shall be recognised.

6.8. The Federal Board may, at the request of the Federal Policy Committee or of its own accord, and having considered the financial and administrative implications, resolve to conduct a consultative ballot of all members of the Party on any fundamental question where, in its judgment, the values and objectives of the Party are in issue or it is otherwise in the essential interests of the Party. Such a consultative ballot shall be in a bilingual form for all members of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

Throughout this Constitution, delete "Federal Executive" and insert "Federal Board".

In Article 12.1, delete "as provided by Article 13.8".

Delete Article 12.2.

In Article 12.3, delete "(if not already a member) a non-voting member of the Federal Executive and".

In Article 12.4, delete "odd-numbered year" and insert "term".

In Article 12.4, delete "(if not already a member) a non-voting member of the Federal Executive,".

AND

Rename Article 5 as: 'The Policy Making Process and Conference'.

In Article 5.5 (a), after "Associated Organisations", insert ", Specified Associated Organisations".

In Article 6, move clauses 6.1-6.6 and 6.9 to become clauses 5.10-5.16 of Article 5.

Delete Articles 6.7 and 6.8 and insert new Article 9:

ARTICLE 9: The Federal Conference Committee

9.1 There shall be a Federal Conference Committee ("FCC") which shall be responsible for organising the Conference. It shall be subject to the control of the Federal Board in matters of financial and other resources. Standing Orders for the Conference shall be made by the Conference Committee subject to the approval of the Conference.

9.2 The Conference Committee shall consist of:

(i) Voting members:

(a) the President;

(b) the Chief Whip of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons or their substitute from within the Parliamentary Group as defined in Article 9.4;

(c) one representative of each State Party, elected by its internal procedures (State Parties may appoint a substitute member should the elected member be unable to attend a specific meeting of the FCC);

(d) one person elected by the Federal Board from amongst its members;

(e) two persons elected by the Federal Policy Committee from amongst its members;

(f) one person elected by the Federal Communications & Elections Committee from amongst its members;

(g) one person elected by the Federal People Development Committee from amongst its members; and

(h) 12 persons elected by party members. Casual vacancies amongst this group shall be filled in accordance with the election regulations.

(ii) Non-voting members:

(a) the Federal Chief Executive;

(b) one representative of the Federal Finance & Resources Committee; and

(c) one representative of the staff employed by the Federal Party or by the Parliamentary Parties and elected by such staff.

The Conference Committee thus constituted may co-opt such persons and for such periods not exceeding three years as it thinks fit who shall be entitled to attend and speak but not vote (but so that there shall not be more than three persons co-opted at any time).

9.3 The Federal Conference Committee, in organising the Conference, shall have due regard to the balance of state and federal policy debates in the final agenda of the Conference and in particular shall as far as possible organise the Agenda so that all matters which relate to one or more state parties but not all state parties or the Federal Party shall be considered at either the beginning or the end of the Conference.

AND

In Article 7 delete existing Article 7.2 and insert:

7.2 The FPC shall consist of the following:

(i) voting members:

(a) the Leader or Deputy Leader, who shall act as its Chair;

(b) six members of the Parliamentary Group as defined in Article 9.4, normally including at least one from each Parliamentary Party;

(c) the President;

(d) one person elected by the Federal Communications & Elections Committee from amongst its membership;

(e) two principal local authority councillors, elected by principal local authority councillors of the Party from among their own number;

(f) one representative of each State Party, elected by its internal procedures (State Parties may appoint a substitute member should the elected member be unable to attend a specific meeting of the FPC); and

(g) one more person than the total number elected or appointed under paragraphs (a) to (h) above, who shall by party members elected by all members of the Party except that persons who, at the date of close of nominations for election under this paragraph, are members of any of the Parliamentary Parties listed in Article 9 shall not be eligible to be candidates for election under this paragraph. Casual vacancies amongst this group shall be filled in accordance with the election regulations.

(ii) non-voting members:

(a) the Chair of the Federal Conference Committee; and

(b) one representative of the Liberal Democrat Group on the Local Government Association appointed through their internal procedures.

The Federal Policy Committee thus constituted may co-opt such persons and for such periods not exceeding three years as it thinks fit who shall be entitled to attend and speak but not vote (but so that there shall not be more than three persons co-opted at any time).

AND

Insert new Article 11 and re-number accordingly.

ARTICLE 11: The Federal Finance & Resources Committee

11.1 There shall be a Federal Finance and Resources Committee ("FFRC") which shall be responsible to the Federal Board for:

(a) planning and administering the budget and finances of the Federal Party for the forthcoming year and in outline for following years;

(b) presenting the audited Annual Accounts to the Conference;

(c) overseeing the administration of the Federal Party including its Chief Executive, headquarters and other staff; and overseeing the role of the Party as an equal opportunities employer and the maintenance of staff grievance and disciplinary procedures; and

(d) overseeing the Party's risk management operations and its Risk Register.

The Committee shall report regularly to the Federal Board.

11.2 It shall consist of:

(a) the Chair of the FFRC who shall be appointed by the Federal Board;

(b) the Treasurer;

(c) the President;

(d) the person registered with the Electoral Commission as the registered Treasurer for each State Party under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 and as later amended. (State Parties may appoint a substitute member should the elected member be unable to attend a specific meeting of the FFRC);

(e) the Federal Chief Executive;

(f) one representative of the staff employed by the Federal Party or by the Parliamentary Parties and elected by such staff;

(g) one representative of the Parliamentary Office of the Liberal Democrats ("POLD") appointed according to their own procedures; and

(h) five persons elected by the Federal Board. Casual vacancies amongst this group shall be filled in accordance with the election regulations.

The FFRC thus constituted may co-opt such persons and for such periods not exceeding three years as it thinks fit who shall be entitled to attend and speak but not vote (but so that there shall not be more than three persons co-opted at any time).

11.3 The Committee shall meet at least four times in each calendar year.

11.4 Subject to agreement by the Federal Board, the FFRC shall have the power to borrow money for the general purposes of the Federal Party and to secure any monies borrowed in such a manner as it thinks fit upon the assets of the Federal Party: provided always that the total amount of monies borrowed shall not exceed such amount as may from time to time be determined by the Federal Board and approved by the Federal Conference.

11.5 The FFRC shall prepare budgets to deliver the strategy of the Party and shall consult fully with the Federal Board, State Parties and SAOs before submitting its draft budget for the Federal Board's approval.

11.6 The FFRC shall each year make proposals to the FB on the minimum rate or rates of subscription for the ensuing year and the proportion of subscription income which each State Party and overseas Local Party shall remit to the Federal Party. The FB shall submit proposals to Conference which shall determine those matters.

A higher recommended rate or rates of subscription may also be determined by the same procedure. Nothing in this Constitution shall prevent a State Party from setting a recommended rate or rates of subscription by its internal procedures which is higher than that agreed by the Federal Conference under this Article.

Delete Article 3.9 and renumber accordingly.

In Article 12.3, line 1, delete "FAC" and insert "FFRC".

In Article 12.4, line 4, delete "FAC" and insert "FFRC".

AND

Insert new Article 12 and renumber accordingly:

ARTICLE 12: The Federal Communications and Elections Committee

12.1 There shall be a Federal Communications & Elections Committee (FCEC) which shall be accountable to the Federal Board and shall report to each ordinary meeting of the Board. The Committee shall oversee the implementation of the Party's strategy in relation to elections, campaigns and communications.

12.2 The Committee shall consist of:

i. Voting members:

the Chair of the Committee who shall be elected by the Federal Board;

The President;

The Leader, who may nominate a substitute who shall have the power to vote;

The Chief Whip of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons, or their substitute from within the Parliamentary Group as defined in Article 9.4;

Two representatives of the Parliamentary Group as defined in Article 9.4;

One person nominated by the SAO representing councillors;

One person appointed by each State Party according to their internal procedures, who will normally be the Chair of the relevant Committee of that State Party; and

Two members elected by the Federal Board from among its members. Casual vacancies amongst this group shall be filled in accordance with the election regulations.

ii. Non-voting members:

The Chief Executive of the Party as defined in Article 12.5; and

The Chief Executive of ALDC.

The FCEC thus constituted may co-opt such persons and for such periods not exceeding three years as it thinks fit who shall be entitled to attend and speak but not vote (but so that there shall not be more than three persons co-opted at any time).

12.3 The Committee shall be responsible for the organisation of all elections for the House of Commons and the European Parliament and the Chair of the FCEC shall chair any group responsible for the management of those elections.

12.4 The Committee shall manage as one of its functions a Joint Candidates Sub-Committee ("JCSC"), which shall include one representative, with a power of substitution, from each of the State Candidates Committees. The Chair of the JCSC shall be appointed by the FCEC from amongst its members.

a. The JCSC shall maintain oversight of the Party's readiness to field candidates in all elections to the Westminster and European Parliaments and shall co-ordinate the maintenance of standards and the performance of the functions specified in Article 11.1 and 11.8, including for the first elections to the House of Lords (or any fully or partially elected replacement second chamber of the Westminster Parliament).

b. If it is not possible for there to be an appropriate constitutional amendment before the first elections to the House of Lords (or any fully or partially elected replacement second chamber of the Westminster Parliament), the procedures to be adopted for the purposes of article 11.1 shall be based as far as possible on the provisions of clauses 11.5 and 11.9 as appropriate. It shall receive reports from States Candidates Committees to that end.

c. In accordance with article 11.8 (a), the JCSC may instruct a State Candidates Committee to take appropriate action or may take over its functions if the Federal Board so decides, after due consultation with the relevant State Party.

Delete Article 11.2 and re-number accordingly.

In Article 11.8 (b), before "Committee" insert "Sub-".

AND

Insert new Article 13 and renumber accordingly:

ARTICLE 13: The Federal People Development Committee

13.1 There shall be a Federal People Development Committee (FPDC), which shall be accountable to the Federal Board and shall report regularly to it.

13.2 The functions of the FPDC, working with State Parties and other Party bodies as appropriate, shall be:

a. Coordinating, planning and supervising the training strategy for the Federal Party;

b. Coordinating, planning and supervising the diversity engagement strategy for the Party;

c. Coordinating, planning and supervising the membership recruitment, retention and activation strategy for the party; and

d. Working with AOs and SAOs as set out in Article 13 to support them in recruiting and maintaining membership and implementing the Party's policies on diversity.

13.3 The Committee shall comprise:

(a) The President;

(b) the Chairs of those AOs and SAOs as set out in Article 13 and the Annexe to this Constitution which represent under-represented groups and the Chair of the SAO representing Youth and/or Students, each of whom may nominate a substitute who shall have the power to vote;

(c) Six members elected by the Federal Board, one of whom shall be elected by members as Chair. Casual vacancies amongst this group shall be filled in accordance with the election regulations;

(d) One person nominated by each State Party according to its internal procedures; and

(e) The Chair of the Campaign for Gender Balance.

The FPDC thus constituted may co-opt such persons and for such periods not exceeding three years as it thinks fit who shall be entitled to attend and speak but not vote (but so that there shall not be more than three persons co-opted at any time).

13.4 The FPDC shall meet at least four times in each calendar year.

13.5 The FPDC shall establish a sub-committee which shall include 2 representatives from each State Party and shall co-ordinate the promotion of membership throughout the United Kingdom.

13.6 The FPDC shall also have regard to the desirability of establishing sub-committees responsible for diversity; training; and membership recruitment, retention and activation each of which shall contain relevant representatives from each State Party appointed by their own procedures.

Delete Article 3.10.

AND

Insert new Article 14 and renumber accordingly:

ARTICLE 14: The Federal International Relations Committee

14.1 There shall be a Federal International Relations Committee ("FIRC") which shall be responsible to the Federal Board for:

(a) generally managing the Party's relationships with like-minded parties and individuals in other countries and international institutions, including managing the Party's relations with the European and international organisations of which the Party is a member and the Party's participation in their meetings and events;

(b) overseeing the Party's relationship with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and projects arising therefrom;

(c) advising the Party, including the Parliamentary Parties as set out in Article 9, on European and international policy;

(d) advising the Party on campaigning for European Parliament elections and other organisational matters which relate to the Party's international work;

(e) co-ordinating the work of internationally-minded organisations within the framework of the Party; and

(f) overseeing the organisation and provision of training for like-minded parties and individuals outside the UK.

14.2 The Committee shall consist of:

(i) Voting members:

(a) one person elected by the Federal Board from amongst its members;

(b) one person elected by the Federal Policy Committee from amongst its members;

(c) one person elected by each State Party according to its internal procedures;

(d) one person elected by the SAO representing youth and/or students;

(e) one person elected by Members of the European Parliament as set out in Article 9.3.

(f) one person representing Foreign Affairs spokespeople in the Westminster Parliament; and

(g) six members who shall be elected by all members of the Party. Casual vacancies amongst this group shall be filled in accordance with the election regulations.

(ii) Non-voting members:

(a) one representative of the Liberal International British Group;

(b) one representative of the Liberal Democrat European Group;

(c) one representative of the Committee of the Regions;

(d) one representative of the Brussels and Europe local party; and

(e) any member of the Bureaux of the Liberal International or the Alliance of Liberals & Democrats in Europe or the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe who is currently a member of the Liberal Democrats and normally resident in the UK.

The Chair of the Committee shall be elected by the Committee from amongst the members elected under Article 14.2(i)(g) above.

The FIRC thus constituted may co-opt such persons and for such periods not exceeding three years as it thinks fit who shall be entitled to attend and speak but not vote (but so that there shall not be more than three persons co-opted at any time).

14.3 The Committee shall meet at least four times in each calendar year.

AND

Insert new Article 15 and renumber accordingly:

ARTICLE 15: The Federal Audit & Scrutiny Committee

15.1 There shall be a Federal Audit & Scrutiny Committee (FASC) which shall be responsible to the Federal Board and shall report regularly to it.

15.2 The FASC shall be responsible for commissioning the Party's auditors and for representing the Party in any matters arising from the annual external audit. It shall report through the Federal Board to Conference including comment on the annual audited financial statements. It may also commission and oversee internal audit work related to the work of the Federal Party either on its own initiative or as requested by the Federal Board. It shall oversee the Party's compliance with external regulatory bodies, including the Electoral Commission and the Information Commissioner, as well as associated risk management, and shall carry out the responsibilities established in Articles 8.5 and 12.3 of this Constitution in relation to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 and as later amended.

15.3 It shall comprise:

(a) Six members, who shall be appointed by the Federal Board. Casual vacancies amongst this group shall be filled in accordance with the election regulations. Any company established under Article 8.4 shall also be entitled to make nominations for membership of the Committee. Members appointed under this clause may not have held office or been a member of any Federal Committee or a member of Federal Party staff during the two years preceding their nomination to the Committee.

(b) The following shall also be invited to attend meetings of the

Committee, but shall not have the right to vote:

(i) The President;

(ii) The Leader, who may nominate a substitute to act on their behalf;

(iii) The Treasurer;

(iv) The Chair of the Finance & Resources Committee; and

(v) One person nominated by the Federal Communications & Elections Committee from amongst their members.

The Chair of the FASC shall be elected from amongst the members appointed under Article 15.3(a) above.

15.4 The Committee shall meet at least four times in each calendar year.

AND

In Article 9: The Parliamentary Parties, insert new Article 9.4:

9.4 For the purposes of representation on Federal Committees, the Parliamentary Parties listed in Article 9 shall form the Parliamentary Group. The Chief Whips of each Parliamentary Party shall agree how many places each Parliamentary Party shall occupy on each Federal Committee, having due regard to the size of each Parliamentary Party.

AND

In Article 13, rename Article 13 as: 'Associated Organisations and Specified Associated Organisations'.

AND

In Article 4.3 (a), delete '4.3: (a)' and insert '4.3'.

The existing text of relevant articles of the Federal Constitution:

ARTICLE 3: Membership

...

3.9 The Federal Executive shall each autumn, after consultation with all State Parties and SAOs, recommend to the Federal Conference, and the Federal Conference shall determine the outline budget for the Federal Party in the forthcoming year (including the financing of the SAOs) which shall include:

(a) the minimum rate or rates of subscription for the ensuing year; (b) the proportion of subscription income which each State Party and overseas Local Party shall remit to the Federal Party;

(c) a statement agreed by the Federal and all State Parties about the organisation of fund-raising activities for the forthcoming year; and

(d) a statement of the strategic and political priorities upon which the proposals are based.

A higher recommended rate or rates of subscription may also be determined by the same procedure. Nothing in this Constitution shall prevent a State Party from setting a recommended rate or rates of subscription by its internal procedures which is higher than that agreed by the Federal Conference under this Article. 3.10 There shall be a Joint State Membership Committee which shall consist of two representatives from each of the State Parties. The Committee shall co-ordinate the promotion of membership throughout the United Kingdom.

ARTICLE 5: The Policy-Making Process

...

5.5 In the course of developing policy the FPC shall:

(a) consider policy proposals submitted to it by State Parties, Regional Parties in England, Local Parties, Associated Organisations and individual members of the Party; together with the responses to the consultations carried out according to Article 5.5 (b); and

(b) ensure consultation generally with, including making consultation papers available to members, State Parties, Regional Parties in England, Local Parties and Associated Organisations. Such consultations shall include responses to references under Article 5.7.

...

ARTICLE 6: The Federal Conference

6.1 The Conference shall consist of party members.

6.2 The Standing Orders of the Conference shall provide for consultative sessions of the Conference at which any member of the Party may speak, but such provisions shall not prejudice the right of the chair of a session to select speakers.

6.3 The Conference shall normally meet twice a year, for a week in the early autumn and a weekend in the early spring; additional meetings may be summoned upon the requisition of the Federal Executive or the Federal Policy Committee or the Conference itself or 200 members, in not fewer than 20 local parties . A meeting may be cancelled by the Federal Executive in exceptional circumstances.

6.4 Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Conference shall be the sovereign representative body of the Party, and shall have power to determine the policy of the Party in accordance with and subject to the provisions of Article 5.

6.5 There shall be a business session at each Conference, to which the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons, the Parliamentary party in the House of Lords, the Parliamentary Party in the European Parliament, the Federal Executive, the Federal Policy Committee and the Federal Conference Committee shall report. The business session at the autumn meeting shall constitute the Annual General Meeting of the Party, before which the Annual Report and Accounts shall additionally be laid. The Conference shall have the right to approve or reject each such report, or to refer it back with recommendations. Business motions may be submitted to the Federal Conference by the Federal Executive, the Federal Conference Committee or any other persons or bodies entitled to submit motions or amendments under Article 5.6.

6.6 The Standing Orders of the Federal Conference shall allow for meetings of Conference or Council of the State Party within whose boundaries the Federal Conference is being held, at the request of that Party, either immediately prior to, or immediately after, the Federal Conference and in the same place as the Federal Conference.

6.7 The Conference shall be organised by the Federal Conference Committee, which shall be subject to the control of the Federal Executive in matters of financial and other resources. Standing Orders for the Conference shall be made by the Conference Committee subject to the approval of the Conference. The Conference Committee shall consist of:

(a) the President; (b) the Chief Whip (or nominee, who shall be a member of the Parliamentary Party as defined in Article 9.1); (c) one representative of each State Party, elected by its internal procedures (State Parties may appoint a substitute member should the elected member be unable to attend a specific meeting of the FCC); (d) two persons elected by the Federal Executive; (e) two persons elected by the Federal Policy Committee; (f) the Federal Chief Executive (who shall not be entitled to vote); (g) a representative of the staff employed by the party at federal level or by or on behalf of either or both parliamentary parties in Westminster and elected by such staff (who shall not be entitled to vote); and (h) 12 persons elected by the Federal Conference (causal vacancies shall be filled in accordance with the election regulations).

The persons elected in accordance with (d), (e), (g) and (h) above shall be elected in evennumbered years and shall serve for a term of two years from the date of election. The Conference Committee thus constituted may co-opt such persons and for such periods not exceeding two years as it thinks fit who shall be entitled to attend and speak but not vote (but so that there shall not be more than three persons co-opted at any time). The Federal Conference Committee, in organising the Conference, shall have due regard to the balance of state and federal policy debates in the final agenda of the Conference and in particular shall as far as possible organise the Agenda so that all matters which relate to one or more state parties but not all state parties or the Federal Party shall be considered at either the beginning or the end of the Conference.

6.8 ...

6.9 The Conference may resolve to conduct a ballot of all members of the Party on any fundamental question where, in its judgement, the values and objectives of the Party are in issue or it is otherwise in the essential interests of the Party, and shall at the same time as considering the related resolution consider also a statement from the Federal Executive as to the financial and administrative implications of such a ballot. Such a ballot shall be in a bilingual form for all members of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

ARTICLE 7: The Federal Policy Committee

...

7.2 The FPC shall consist of the following:

(a) the Leader; (b) one other MP elected by and from the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons; (c) one MP each elected by and from members of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons representing constituencies in England, Scotland and Wales respectively; (d) one Peer elected by and from the Parliamentary Party in the House of Lords; (e) one MEP elected by and from the Parliamentary Party in the European Parliament; (f) the President; (g) three principal local authority councillors, elected by principal local authority councillors of the Party from among their own number; (h) one Representative of each State Party, elected by its internal procedures (State Parties may appoint a substitute member should the elected member be unable to attend a specific meeting of the FPC); and (i) one more person than the total number elected or appointed under paragraphs (a) to (h) above elected by the Federal Conference (which shall be filled in accordance with electoral regulations) except that persons who, at the date of close of nominations for election under this paragraph, are MPs shall not be eligible to be candidates for election under this paragraph.

The persons elected in accordance with (b), (c) (d), (e), (g), and (i) above shall be elected in even-numbered years and shall serve for a term for two years from the date of election and its chair shall be elected every two years by the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons from among those of its members who are members of the FPC by virtue of paragraphs (a) through (c) of this Article. The FPC thus constituted may co-opt such persons and for such periods not exceeding two years as it thinks fit who shall be entitled to attend and speak but not vote (but so that there shall not be more than three persons co-opted at any time).

7.3 The Chair of the Federal Policy Committee shall, within 14 days of each committee meeting, make available to party members and other Federal Committees a written report on the proceedings of the meeting, including reports from their established sub-committees with delegated responsibility, in a manner deemed practical by the Federal Chief Executive.

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ARTICLE 8: The Federal Executive

8.1 There shall be a Federal Executive, which shall be responsible for directing, co-ordinating and implementing the work of the Federal Party. It shall consist of the following:

(i) voting members: (a) the President, who shall act as its chair; (b) the Vice-Presidents; (c) the Leader; (d) two other MPs elected by and from the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons; (e) one Peer elected by and from the Parliamentary Party in the House of Lords; (f) one MEP elected by and from the Parliamentary Party in the European Parliament; (g) two principal local authority councillors elected by principal local authority councillors of the Party from among their own number; (h) one representative of each State Party, elected by its internal procedures (State Parties may appoint a substitute member should the elected member be unable to attend a specific meeting of the Federal Executive); (i) one more person than the total number of voting members elected or appointed under paragraphs (a) to (h) above elected by the Federal Conference (casual vacancies shall be filled in accordance with the electoral regulations) except that persons who, at the date of close of nominations for election under this paragraph, are MPs shall not be eligible to be candidates for election under this paragraph. (ii) The persons elected in accordance with 8.1(i) (d), (e), (f), (g) and (i) above shall be elected in even-numbered years and shall serve for a term of two years from 1st January after the date of election. (iii) non voting members: (a) the Chief Whip (or his substitute from within the Parliamentary Party as defined in Article 9.1); (b) the Chair of the Finance and Administration Committee and the Treasurer in accordance with Articles 12.4 and 12.5; (c) the Federal chief executive and a representative of the staff employed by the Party at federal level or by the Parliamentary Parties elected by such staff; and (d) the chair of the Federal Policy Committee.

The Federal Executive shall elect at its first meeting in every odd-numbered year and who shall serve for two years a deputy chair from amongst its members who shall chair meetings in the absence or at the request of the President. The Federal Executive thus constituted may co-opt such persons and for such periods not exceeding two years as it thinks fit who shall be entitled to attend and speak but not vote (but so that there shall not be more than three persons co-opted at any time).

8.2 The Federal Executive shall have power from time to time to establish, appoint and remove members of, and vary committees and sub-committees, which shall be responsible to it and which shall report regularly. In particular, it shall establish a Finance and Administration Committee ("FAC") whose members shall serve for a term of two years and which will be responsible to the Federal Executive for:

(a) planning and administering the budget and finances of the Federal Party; (b) directing the administration of the Federal Party including its chief executive, headquarters and other staff; and (c) overseeing the role of the Party as an equal opportunities employer and the maintenance of grievance and disciplinary procedures, (d) ensuring the compliance of the Party at all levels with the provisions of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 and shall consist of: (a) the Chair of the FAC; (b) the Treasurer; (c) the President; (d) one representative of each State elected by their internal procedures (State Parties may appoint a substitute member should the elected member be unable to attend a specific meeting of the FAC); (e) the Federal chief executive; (f) two representatives of the staff employed by the Federal Party or by the Parliamentary Parties and elected by such staff; and (g) five persons elected by the Federal Executive (casual vacancies shall be filled in accordance with the standing orders of the Federal Executive).

The FAC thus constituted may co-opt such persons and for such periods not exceeding two years as it thinks fit (but so that there shall not be more than three persons co-opted at any time) who shall be entitled to attend and speak but not vote. The FAC shall have the power to borrow money for the general purposes of the Federal Party and to secure any monies borrowed in such manner as it thinks fit upon the assets of the Federal Party: provided always that the total amount of monies borrowed shall not exceed such amount as may from time to time be determined by the Federal Executive and approved by the Federal Conference.

The Federal Executive shall also have regard to the desirability of establishing subcommittees responsible for publicity and broadcasting, campaigning and elections, and international relations. The members of such sub-committees shall be elected at the first meeting of the Federal Executive in every odd-numbered year and shall serve for a term of two years.

8.3 The Chair of the Federal Executive shall, within 14 days of each committee meeting, make available to party members and other Federal Committees a written report on the proceedings of the meeting, including reports from their established sub-committees with delegated responsibility, in a manner deemed practical by the Federal Chief Executive.

8.4 The Federal Executive shall have power to establish a company limited by guarantee to acquire, hold and dispose of such assets of the Federal Party as the Federal Executive may from time to time direct. The Federal Executive shall have power from time to time to appoint and remove the directors of such a company, who will include the Chair of the FAC ex-officio and will otherwise be appointed for a period of five years, provided always that the Federal Executive shall not so appoint any person holding any public office or office in the Party which may be incompatible therewith. The Directors shall present an Annual Report (including audited financial statements) to the Federal Conference.

8.5 The Federal Executive shall have power, after appropriate consultations and subject to ratification by the Federal Conference, to make and from time to time vary rules as to membership, criteria for Associated Organisation and Specified Associated Organisation status and for the regular review of bodies holding such status, elections and such other matters as it may consider necessary or desirable to give effect to or supplement the provisions of this Constitution or to ensure its compliance with the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. Any election rules must provide for elections to be by STV and secret ballot.

8.6 There shall be a Joint Employment Council ("JEC") which shall constitute a forum for discussions and negotiations between management and staff. It shall consist of equal numbers of representatives of staff and management respectively; the number of representatives of each shall be determined from time to time by the Federal Executive in the light of the number of employing bodies within the Party which join the JEC (and agree that it shall constitute a negotiating forum). The Federal Party shall join the JEC. The right of staff to join, or not to join, an appropriate Trades Union shall be recognised.

8.7 The Federal Executive may, at the request of the Federal Policy Committee or of its own accord, and having considered the financial and administrative implications, resolve to conduct a consultative ballot of all members of the Party on any fundamental question where, in its judgement, the values and objectives of the Party are in issue or it is otherwise in the essential interests of the Party. Such a consultative ballot shall be in a bilingual form for all members of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

ARTICLE 11: Parliamentary Candidates

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11.2 There shall be a Joint Candidates Committee, which shall consist of one representative, with a power of substitution, from each of the State Candidates Committees and shall be chaired by the Chief Whip or nominee from the Parliamentary Party as defined in Article 9.1. (a) The Joint Candidates Committee shall co-ordinate the maintenance of standards and the performance of the functions specified in Article 11.1 and it shall meet at least once a year. (b) The Joint Candidates Committee shall co-ordinate the maintenance of standards and the performance of the functions specified in Article 11.1 for the first elections to the House of Lords (or any fully or partially elected replacement second chamber of the Westminster Parliament). If it is not possible for there to be an appropriate constitutional amendment before the first elections the procedures to be adopted for the purposes of article 11.1 shall be based as far as possible on the provisions of clauses 11.5 and 11.9 as appropriate.

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11.8 (a) The requirements of Article 11.5 may be modified so far as necessary to accelerate selection if a general or by-election has been called or appears likely to be called in the immediate future.

(b) If necessary the Joint Candidates Committee shall produce an emergency set of procedures for the first elections to the House of Lords (or any fully or partially elected replacement second chamber of the Westminster Parliament) if an election has been called or is likely to be called in the near future.

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ARTICLE 12: Officers

12.1 The President shall be the principal public representative of the Party and shall chair the Federal Executive. The President shall be elected by the members of the Party for a term of two years starting from 1st January in the year immediately following the election and shall hold office until death, incapacity, resignation or the election of a successor; the President shall be eligible for re-election once only. A candidate for the office of President shall require the nomination of not less than 200 members in not less than 20 Local Parties (including, for this purpose, the Specified Associated Organisations representing youth and students as provided by Article 13.8). The President shall report to the annual meeting of the Conference and may make reports to any other meetings of Conference. The Federal Executive shall have the power, in the event of a casual vacancy, to elect an Acting President from any of the Vice-Presidents and to determine a convenient date for a ballot to elect a successor who shall serve for the remainder of the term, except that if the remainder of the term is less than twelve months, the successor shall serve for the remainder of the term plus a period of two years thereafter.

12.2 Each of the State Parties shall, by its internal procedures, designate one of its officers to be a Federal Vice-President.

12.3 The Chair of the FAC, who shall be responsible for the overall budget and finances of the Party, shall be its treasurer for the purposes of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 and shall be responsible for its compliance with the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, shall be elected for a term of two years by the Federal Executive and shall, upon election, become (if not already a member) a non-voting member of the Federal Executive and a member of any fund-raising committee established by the Federal Executive.

12.4 The Treasurer, who shall be responsible for fund-raising, shall be elected by the Federal Executive at its first meeting in every odd-numbered year and shall serve for a term of two years and shall, upon election, become (if not already a member) a non-voting member of the Federal Executive, a member of the FAC and chair of any fund-raising committee established by the Federal Executive.

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ARTICLE 13: Associated Organisations

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Applicability: Federal.

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