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Influencing Lib Dem Policy in the North West

June 23, 2021 6:17 PM

Policy MotionDo you have a bright idea or do you just want to be check what our party policies are?

As a party we pride ourselves on real member engagement with the policy making process. Key decisions are taken twice yearly at our Federal Conferences on a one member one vote basis. In a fast moving world our leadership team may need to respond quickly to a new situation but if required to make any policy pronouncements necessarily made somewhat on the hoof they will be familiar with a body of past democratically derived decisions in the relevant field.

We are currently inviting members to submit motions for debate at our Autumn Regional Conference (see here) and checking how new ideas relate to previously established policy (for past regional policy motions, see here).

For ordinary members who have an interest in a particular field, the first port of call for more detailed information on existing party policy is a set of Policy Papers covering key policy areas.

These are online on the national website here.

That set also includes past election manifestos.

Each of these policy papers would have figured at Federal Conference twice. Once as a part of the consultation process on a draft paper and later with an enabling motion to approve the final version.

A recent example of consultation involved all members in the North of England being offered the opportunity to join an online discussion of draft proposal as to how a possible Federal structure for the UK might apply in England with potentially a Regional tier of democratic decision making which it is intended to debate at our online Autumn Conference. Not all policy motions at Federal Conference have a detailed policy paper attached. Motions passed at previous Conferences are usually to be found on the Conference information/registration pages in the member's area of the Federal Party website but these are currently being reconstructed for Autumn Conference. Once available again we intend to provide links via this website to simplify what has sometimes been a complicated navigation process.

For our forthcoming Regional Conference in October the deadline for submission of motions e is July 20th. This deadline is a little earlier than in previous years. We need to publish motions in good time for other members propose amendments and sometimes we receive motions which require some clarification, drafting advice or reformatting in order to facilitate debate.

Reading other people's motions from our past Regional conferences will help both with understanding both the typical format of a motion and how your idea relates to any past decisions on your chosen topic.

There is also some very helpful drafting guidance available via the main Federal Party website. While some of the wording of this guidance references the Federal Conference context but the principles of good motion writing are equally applicable to Regional Conference motions.

This can be found on the party's website. On the home page click the top right corner to go to main site then either login as member or register. In the member's area advice on drafting motions can be found via "Get Involved" and the link to "Make Policy."

We need two members, a proposer and a seconder, to be named for each Regional Conference motion submitted. These are usually the two (essential) people who will speak to open and close the debate on the motion at Conference. We have had instances where a member involved in drafting a motion prefers not to speak in the debate, in which case they would need to identify another member supportive of the motion to undertake this on their behalf.

When selecting motions for debate we are clearly looking for policy ideas of particular relevance to the region. However, there have been occasions where the ambition of those behind a motion is ultimately to have it debated at the party's Federal Conference. In these instances, a debate at Regional Conference would help to gauge the level of support and there may be contributions to the debate or amendments proposed that you may feel would improve your motion.

Andrew Haldane
Vice Chair (Policy)
NW Regional Party