By Carol Turner
There’s a national consultation on Labour policy for the post-Covid era going on, though you’d be forgiven for not knowing it. It opened with a whimper on 4th June and will close just as quietly on the 30th. Nevertheless, in a year when no annual conference will be held, this could be the only opportunity for local parties and individual members to make their views heard. There’s a reminder of how to do so at the end of this article.
The consultation is being conducted under the auspices of the National Policy Forum (NPF). Despite the many and evident problems with the NPF process, we urge you to take the opportunity to submit your views and those of your CLP or party branch. Not only can you make a submission, you can also vote to agree or disagree with a submission and/or make a comment on it. Most CLPs and branches won’t be meeting during the lockdown, but you can submit motions recently passed as evidence of local views.
Each of the eight policy commissions will meet in July to agree a report that becomes part of the National Policy Forum’s annual report for 2020. Your submission will help demonstrate the strength of feeling among members on a particular issue. It will add weight to those of us on the commissions seeking to uphold the progressive policies of the 2017 and 2019 manifestos.
Regional parties have been encouraged to hold meetings to discuss the consultation. Not every Labour Region is doing so, and those which are have been slow off the ground. In London for instance, there will be a consultation meeting next Wednesday, 24 June, but with little notice. Watch out for activity in your region.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
First find your way to the website. Google Labour Policy Forum, or enter https://www.policyforum.labour.org.uk/ in your browser.
Anyone can access the site and read the submissions, but if you want to take part you must register or log in either as a Labour Party member or a guest.
Using the drop-down menu, you can access:
– the consultation documents and the submissions that have already been made
– a series of policy statements from the Labour Party
– a searchable list of NPF reps and their contact details, and
– a postal address for submissions, for anyone who’s not internet connected
Once you’re logged in, you can contribute your views to any or all of the eight commissions, and there’s no limit on the number of submissions you can make. The eight areas are Economy, business, and trade; International; Health and social care; Early years, education, and skills; Justice and home affairs; Housing, local government, and transport; Work, pensions, and equality; and Environment, energy, and culture.
You can express your views in three ways:
–by submitting a comment of no more than 600 words. You can also attach a document, but our advice is keep it short, better to submit two or more comments than attach a long document for download
– by commenting on the submissions others have made, and
– by voting on submission, you can register agreement or disagreement with what’s being said.
Carol Turner is a member of the Executive Committee of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy and London CLPs rep on the NPF.