As previewed, the September meeting of the party’s Steering Group concentrated on how we can maximise our chances of success in the May elections. Our grassroots campaigners are on the frontline for that, but what we do centrally can help (or hinder!) their chances.
So as well as agreeing on priorities for next year’s budget, we’re also ensuring that ahead of that, our financial figures are given a really thorough shakedown to identify if any extra funds can be squeezed out for helping the elections in time to make a real difference.
Not losing sight of the longer-term picture, we reviewed progress in implementing the Thornhill Review, which had also been discussed with Dorothy herself ahead of the meeting. The need to ensure we don’t slip behind on the diversity recommendations in the report was particularly noted.
We also had our first discussion of the political outlook and strategy for the party with Ed Davey and our new Director of Strategy, Mimi Turner. The first of many, I am sure, and one where the smaller size of the Steering Group meant we could get stuck into much more detailed discussion than usual.
A very promising report was given by the Party Bodies Review Group, who presented their draft findings on how we can improve the support for and engagement with party bodies such as AOs and SAOs. A final version of their report will come back later this year, and subject to it being agreed, the implementation will be able to start soon after Christmas. You can read more about their work on the party website here.
We adopted a definition of transphobia for use in the party’s disciplinary processes. Many thanks to the members of the Disciplinary Sub Group for their hard work on this, and they’ve written up this work, including giving the definition, here.
The Steering Group agreed to ask Duncan Brack to extend his review of the 2019 internal party elections to include the 2020 leadership contest. There is rightly a requirement for a review after each such contest, and we decided it would be most efficient and effective to run one review rather than have two in quick succession. Thank you to Duncan for agreeing to take on this extra work.
Of course, the Steering Group is not the only party committee making decisions on behalf of members. We’re expanding the range of reporting back that happens via the party website, including a new series of reports starting up from the Federal Finance and Resources Committee and more frequent reports from the Federal Communications and Elections Committee.
The latest one of those reports the news that Alison Suttie has been appointed the new Chair of the Joint Candidates Sub-Committee (JCSC). The JCSC leads the national coordination of our capacity to field outstanding candidates in elections across the country. One of her first tasks is a review to ensure we learn lessons from the London Mayor selection. Thank you to Alison for agreeing to take on this role.
Not familiar with the Steering Group? My post from earlier this summer explains why it was set up, its role and its membership.