27 Dec 2014

Green Party to review its internal democracy and structures!

Well with over 30,000 members the Green Party of England and Wales is reviewing its structures, do we need to change Green Party Executive, Green Party Regional Council and reboot are internal democracy?

I have been sent the following and would value you other suggestions on governance if you have them I will blog!  This is one perspective parts of which I agree others of which I don't.

IMPORTANT! You probably know that the party is currently consulting on future governance structures. This affects all of us, and the consultation ends on 31st December.
At the heart of this are some really deep questions of principle, as well as specifics of how the party is structured. On the principles, I've consulted with a few like-minded colleagues and put together this charter which I hope will help people (if they agree with any of it) respond to the consultation. I would recommend you all to respond to the consultation, but whether you have time or not, I would encourage you to pledge support for part or all of the charter by emailing greencharterbox@gmail.com or leaving a comment here: https://my.greenparty.org.uk/forum/national-forums/general-member-discussion/6885
The governance consultation can be found here: https://my.greenparty.org.uk/news/governance-review-consultation

The Green Charter
We firmly believe in the need to review and reform Green Party governance. The current Party governance systems and structures are often insufficient to cope with the demands that a democratic, inclusive and participatory political party places on them. We believe that any changes proposed should adhere to the following principles:
1) We must retain the principle of a member-led Party with local decision-making taking precedence, and of a decision-making structure in which our leaders and officers work to empower the members, rather than exercise power over them.
2) Members should be first and foremost members of their local parties, then of regional parties, then of GPEW. Democratically agreed decisions and strategies at a local level should be made by local parties, subject to the need for local parties to cooperate with one another and subject to formal and transparent safeguards that core Green Principles are being adhered to.
3) The Party Conference must remain the sovereign decision-making body of GPEW, agreeing all policy, organisational and constitutional changes. But all efforts should be made to increase the numbers and diversity of members who attend.
4) Responsibility for the management of GPEW between conferences must lie with bodies that are directly elected by the entire Party membership, a GPEW conference, or an England-and-Wales-wide conference of an organised section of the party (such as Young Greens).
5) Members of all elected decision-making bodies must all be accountable to, and recallable by, the Party members that elected them.
6) Green MPs, MEPs, Assembly Members, and councillors should be accountable to both their electorate and - with power of recall as a last resort- the Local or Regional Party that selected them as candidates, but there should be a formal link between the party on a national level and all elected Greens (and Green Peers) with ultimate power of recall held by conference.
7) All decisions at conference and within elected bodies should be made democratically following standing orders and a full and inclusive debate, with diversity of participants maximised.
8) GPEW elected bodies should, as far as this can practically be achieved, seek to contain a minimum quota of members who identify as non-male, BAME, LGBTIQ, disabled and other groups that are disadvantaged in society and are underrepresented within the party and/or in politics. These must, where possible, be directly elected by members of an appropriate self-organised group. The party should also seek to maintain a good geographical spread of members of elected bodies.
9) Paid staff should be employed to support and/or advise on democratically agreed policies and strategies. In order to remain a member-led party, the decisions of officers elected by members should always take precedence over non-elected staff, although those staff will often be expected to give expert advice.
10) Powers of any disciplinary bodies should be limited to taking action where members are in breach of core Green principles or preventing the party from being a safe space for members. Genuine political disagreements, where all members are acting in accordance with core party principles, should be kept separate from this process.
11) Members who are not elected to a specific committee should find it easy to be aware of the work of that committee, and all papers, agendas and minutes (except anything referring to staffing, disciplinary or sensitive personal issues, or to sensitive electoral strategy decisions) should be made available to all Party members.
12) The party's governance structure should remain geared towards affecting change through both electoral and extra-electoral methods. The structure must help the party to be an outward looking, cooperative part of a wider movement, seeking to work with like-minded groups and bodies where possible.

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