How does a political party of around 500,000 people make policy that matters and has currency? Arguably this is one of the key challenges for Labour as membership grows (hopefully) and members’ expectations to be able to engage and influence increase. Members want a voice, and member-led democracy is a central value of the Labour Party – it separates us from other political parties.
The National Policy Forum has inevitably changed and flexed over the decades. It’s not perfect but it does have its strengths.
Formulation of National Labour Party policy is in the hands of Labour members. Policy is made democratically – again, not a perfect system – through discussion and consultation with members, the public, businesses, experts and civil society groups. The NPF has evolved into eight separate commissions; it has integrated equalities; it has an overarching policy strand to ‘knit together’ policy and it is based on the election of representatives. The NPF has a secretariat that drives forward a comprehensive work programme for each commission. Policy Forum sessions enable regional representatives, trade union and Co-operative Party members, NEC reps and MPs and Shadow Cabinet members and advisors to come together to review submissions and to take evidence to inform policy. It’s complex but it works.
The NPF also has a website where members, branches and CLPs can participate. It also serves as an invaluable resource hub.
Covid-19 lockdowns have resulted in an increase in branches and CLPs contacting their regional reps to facilitate discussions. The increased use of digital connections to extend our democracy is to be welcomed.
Also, on the policy front there will be a detailed consultation on Labour’s policy-making structures with a probable deadline of 24th June, so be sure that your CLP has a meeting to discuss this before the deadline.
See more and contribute here, or contact your CLP Policy officer.