×

We're moving to a new website

Get a sneak peak of what's coming. Just visit: beta.libdems.org.uk

Liberal Democrats

F10: Board Reform (Constitutional Amendments)

Motion passed as amended, with option 3 selected

Proposed by: Federal Board

Mover: Jeremy Hargreaves (Vice Chair, Federal Board).

Summation: Dr Mark Pack (President of the Liberal Democrats).


Conference notes that the Thornhill Review into the 2019 general election concluded that:

  1. “The lack of connection between operational, political and governing parts of the party has created structures which foster a lack of collaboration and isolated decision making”.
  2. There is no clear ‘leadership team’ where the three pillars of the party – political, operational, federal – can make cohesive decisions, simply, quickly, and effectively. The Federal Board – 40+ members – is not, cannot, and should not be that team”
  3. “The Federal Board was often a ‘rubber-stamp’ and is too large a group to be a realistic decision-making body”.

Conference believes that a democratically accountable body should be at the heart of such decisions and leadership, and that therefore the best response to those findings is to improve the way the Federal Board is structured and operates.

Conference notes that in the consultation with party members run in late 2021:

  1. Just over half (51%) of party members responding said the Board should be 10-20 in size and a further one in five (21%) members said it should be under 10 in size, adding up to more than seven in ten members saying it should be 20 or less, compared with the current 41 size.
  2. That the most popular option was a smaller hybrid Board (selected by around a third of party members responding – 32%), and nearly tied in second place were role-based Board plus a scrutiny committee and a role-based Board plus a full council, which were the first preference of nearly one in five members each (19% and 18% respectively). Bottom of the six options, with only 1 in 20 members (6%) picking it, was the current Board structure.
  3. That when an alternative vote count was conducted eliminating the least popular option in turn, the same three options came out as the top three with a smaller hybrid Board the clear winner.

Conference further notes that:

  1. The Party Leader, President and Vice President responsible for working with ethnic minority communities are all elected by all party members.
  2. The Scottish Convenor is elected by all members in Scotland, the Welsh President is elected by all members in Wales, the Chair of Young Liberals is elected by all Young Liberals members, that the councillor representative is elected by all councillors, and that the Chair of Federal Conference Committee has to come from the FCC members elected by all party members.

Votes will be taken between the options below so that one option is finally selected.

OPTION 1: SMALLER HYBRID

Conference agrees from the date of the declaration of the results in the committee elections in 2022 to replace Article 9.2 with the following and renumber accordingly:

9.2 It shall consist of the following voting members:

  1. The President, who shall act as its Chair;
  2. The Leader;
  3. The Chair of the English Party, the Convenor of the Scottish Party and the President of the Welsh Party;
  4. The Vice President responsible for working with ethnic minority communities;
  5. Three people 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 17 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;
  6. A Vice-Chair of the Federal Policy Committee;
  7. The Chairs of the Federal Conference Committee, the Federal Communications and Elections Committee, the Federal Finance and Resources Committee and the Federal People Development Committee;
  8. The Chair of the Young Liberals; and
  9. A principal local authority councillor, elected Mayor or Police and Crime Commissioner, elected by the principal local authority councillors, elected Mayors and Police and Crime Commissioners of the Party.

Voting members under A-D or F-I may nominate a voting substitute if they are unable to attend a meeting.

9.3 The Board shall invite other appropriate people to attend its meetings for relevant agenda items, including but not limited to inviting the Chief Executive, the Financial Controller for items with significant financial implications, a staff representative for issues likely to have a significant impact on party staff, the chairs of other Federal Committees andalso invite the chairs of any Board sub-groups, sub-committees or working groups to submit reports in writing and to give reports in person as appropriate. Subcommittees for items that interact with their remit, and the Chief Whip in the House of Commons (or their nominee) for items with Parliamentary or Parliamentary Office of the Liberal Democrats impact. The Board shall also invite the chairs of any Board sub-groups, sub-committees or working groups to submit reports in writing and to give reports in person as appropriate.

9.4 The Federal Board may co-opt people 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 two persons co-opted at any time).

OR OPTION 2: BOARD PLUS SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

Conference agrees from the date of the declaration of the results in the committee elections in 2022 to replace Article 9.2 as above in Option 1 and in addition to insert a new Article 17 and renumber accordingly:

ARTICLE 17: The Federal Scrutiny Committee

17.1 There shall be a Federal Scrutiny Committee (FSC), which shall be responsible to the Federal Conference.

17.2 It shall be responsible for scrutinising the work of the Federal Board, including ensuring that decisions are being taken in line with the party strategy as voted for by Conference, and may require a response on any issue from the Board.

17.3 It shall consist of the following voting members:

  1. Nine people 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, have during the previous three years held Federal Party office or been a member of any Federal Committee or been a member of the Parliamentary Parties set out in Article 17 or been a member of Federal Party staff shall not be eligible to be a candidate for election under this paragraph. Casual vacancies amongst this group shall be filled in accordance with the election regulations.
  2. Eight people who shall be appointed for their relevant scrutiny skills by the Federal Board subject to ratification by the Federal Conference.

The Chair of the FSC shall be elected by its members.

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

Conference also agrees to:

  1. In Article 6.5 of the Constitution, before ‘and Federal Conference Committee’ insert ‘Federal Scrutiny Committee’.
  2. In Articles 5.3 and 8.1 of the Constitution, after ‘the Federal International Relations Committee’ insert ‘, Federal Scrutiny Committee’.
  3. Rename the existing Federal Audit and Scrutiny Committee by changing all mentions in the Constitution of the ‘Federal Audit and Scrutiny Committee’ to ‘Federal Audit Committee’ and all mentions of ‘FASC’ to ‘FAC’.

OR OPTION 3: BOARD PLUS FULL COUNCIL (Selected)

Conference agrees from the date of the declaration of the results in the committee elections in 2022 to replace Article 9.2 as above in Option 1 and in addition to add the following:

9.9 There shall be a Federal Council which shall consist of the following voting members:

  1. Twenty-one people 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 17 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;
  2. Three members from each State Party, elected according to their own procedures;
  3. Three principal local authority councillors, elected Mayors or Police and Crime Commissioners, elected by the principal local authority councillors, elected Mayors and Police and Crime Commissioners of the Party;
  4. Three members of the Young Liberals, elected according to their own procedures;
  5. Three representatives of the Parliamentary Group as set out in Article 17.5; and
  6. The Chair of the Federal Audit and Scrutiny Committee.

9.10 The Chair of the Federal Council shall be elected by its members.

9.11 Members of the Federal Board may attend and speak at meetings of the Federal Council but may not be voting members of the Federal Council.

9.12 The Council shall be responsible for scrutinising the work of the Federal Board, including ensuring that decisions are being taken in line with the party strategy as voted for by Conference, and may require a response on any issue from the Board.

9.13 The Council shall be considered to be a Committee of the Federal Party for the purposes of Articles 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 8.2, 8.5, 8.8 and 8.9.

Conference also agrees to in Article 6.5 of the Constitution, insert ‘Federal Council’ before ‘and Federal Conference Committee’.

OR OPTION 4: STATUS QUO

Conference agrees to leave Article 9.2 unamended.

OTHER

In addition, Conference, believing that power should be accountable inbetween elections, agrees to add a new Article 20.2 to the Constitution (and to renumber accordingly):

20.2 The Federal Board shall have power to vote on a motion of no confidence in the party’s President. Such a vote may only be taken with at least seven days notice to all Board members and shall require a twothirds majority of voting Board members (with vacancies, abstentions or absences counted as votes against). If the vote passes, a casual vacancy shall be deemed to have occurred and the processes in Article 20.1 shall be followed. The President deemed to have vacated office in this way shall have the right to seek nomination in the subsequent election. If they win re-election, this shall not count as a re-election for the purposes of the term limit in Article 20.1, and they shall not be eligible to be subject to a further vote of no-confidence for the remainder of that term.

Conference, noting the importance of winning elections to the party’s reason for existing, agrees to add to the list of bodies which report to conference by amending Article 6.5 of the Constitution as follows:

After ‘Federal Policy Committee’ insert ‘, Federal Communications and Elections Committee’.


For the text of the existing Federal Constitution, see www.libdems.org.uk/constitution.

 

Notes for F10 and F11:


Applicability: Federal.


Mover: 7 minutes; summation of motion and movers and summation of any amendments: 4 minutes; all other speakers: 3 minutes.

There will be votes taken on the options in F10 so that only one option is one is selected.

Votes taken on the options in F11 correspond to the option selected by conference in motion F10 Board Reform (constitutional amendments). If option 1 (smaller hybrid) or option 4 (status quo) in F10 are selected by conference, only lines 1–12 in motion F11 should be voted on.

For eligibility and procedure for speaking in the debates on F10 and F11, see page 9. To submit a speaker’s card go to: www.libdems.org.uk/speakers-card.

The deadline for amendments to F10 and F11 – see page 12 – and for requests for separate votes – see page 9 – is 13.00, Monday 28 February. Those selected for debate will be published in the Conference Extra and Friday Conference Daily updates to the Conference Agenda.

Constitutional and standing order amendments require a two-thirds majority to pass.

Items F10 and F11 will be debated and voted on together. The votes on all the amendments and options in F10 and F11 will be taken at the end of the combined debate, in the following order:
1. Amendment One to F10 and Amendment One to F11.
2. Amendment Two to F10.
3. Amendment Two to F11.
4. Between Option 2 and Option 3 in F10.
5. Between Option 1 in F10 and the winner of Vote 4.
6. Between Option 4 in F10 and the winner of Vote 5.
7. A vote on the whole of F10 and F11 as amended by Votes 1-6.

Votes 1-6 will be by simple majority, Vote 7 will require a two-thirds majority to pass.

The Federal Conference Committee has also been notified of a request to refer back F10; this will be dealt with in accordance with the standard procedure set out in Standing Order 11.2.


Amendment One (passed)

Proposed by: 16 members

Mover: Dr Phil Bennion.

Summation: Joyce Onstad.

In line 80, after ‘the chairs of’, insert ‘the Federal International Relations Committee and of’.

In line 178, after ‘Elections Committee’, insert ‘, Federal International Relations Committee’.


Amendment Two (passed)

Proposed by: 14 members

Mover: Stephen Robinson.

Summation: Cllr Lucy Nethsingha.

Delete line 112 and insert:

17.4 Members of the Federal Board may attend and speak at meetings of the Federal Scrutiny Committee but may not be voting members of the Federal Scrutiny Committee.

17.5 The members of the Federal Scrutiny Committee shall be sent the Board agenda, decisions and relevant papers. Within five working days of the publication of the decisions any 6 members can request that the Chair of the Scrutiny Committee call in any decision by the Federal Board to a meeting of the full Scrutiny Committee.

The President of the Party will be required to attend this meeting and can bring any others they feel relevant in order to speak in favour of the decision. Any decision of the Federal Board called in can be overturned by a vote in favour by at least 12 members of the Scrutiny Committee.

After line 152, insert:

9.13 The members of the Federal Council shall be sent the Board agenda, decisions and relevant papers. Within five working days of the publication of the decisions any 13 members can request that the Chair of the Federal Council call in any decision by the Federal Board to a meeting of the full Federal Council.

The President of the Party will be required to attend this meeting and can bring any others they feel relevant in order to speak in favour of the decision. Any decision of the Federal Board called in can be overturned by a vote in favour by at least 27 members of the Federal Council.

In line 153, delete ‘9.13’ and insert ‘9.14’.