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Governance consultation 2021

November 17, 2021 3:14 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

How the Party is run, by, and on behalf of, every member is fundamental to how successful we are at delivering our liberal vision of Britain.

The 2019 General Election Review (the Thornhill Review) set out how we must change in order to succeed at future elections. Since its publication, in many areas we have made strides, but there is still much to do.

A key recommendation was that we "Review ongoing governance" at all levels, including the Federal Board. On the Board it found that:

There is no clear 'leadership team' where the three pillars of the party - political, operational, federal - can make cohesive decisions, simply, quickly, and effectively. The Federal Board - 40+ members - is not, cannot, and should not be that team.

These problems meant that decisions were taken in more fragmented and less accountable ways. A reformed Board, therefore, might therefore both improve decision making and also make it more accountable.

The review also identified a need to improve the coordination between different parts of the party so that, for example, different committees are more clearly working towards one overall strategy.

Turnout in the last Board election was around 10%, which suggests that greater clarity around the role of Board members would be helpful to get better engagement by and accountability to members.

A key distinction between members of the current Board is their remit. Some Board members have a specific portfolio, for instance the President is elected by party members to a job that includes chairing the Board, or the Young Liberal representative is elected by Young Liberal members to specifically add their perspective. Some Board members do not have a specific portfolio, but instead are elected to be 'Board members' in general. Currently, our Board is a hybrid: it has a mix of these types of members and the combination adds up to a large Board.

Therefore, this questionnaire is based around four different possible approaches:

  • Retain the status quo - the current large hybrid Board model;
  • Retain a hybrid model (portfolio holders plus non-portfolio members) but reduce the numbers of each to make for a smaller Board;
  • Have a smaller Board, comprised of portfolio holders - with possibly an additional accountability structure to hold them to account in between conferences (this additional structure might be based on a Cabinet and full council model or on a Cabinet and scrutiny committee model); or
  • Have a smaller Board, comprised of non-portfolio members.

This consultation is designed to help understand which options are most attractive to members and therefore to help boil down the wide range of possible solutions. Based on your feedback, the Board intends to bring at least one option for reform to the 2022 Spring Federal Conference.

You can take part in the consultation by responding to this survey. Before you do, you may want to read this summary of our current arrangements, or come along to one of the consultative events:

Events list

Please note that this is a live events list and will be updated with new events as they are scheduled.

Title

Description Time Register here!

An introduction to our current structures

45 minute presentation and Q&A for members wanting to know more about our current structures. Led by our Company secretary, Jack Coulson.

18:00-19:00, Thursday 4th of November

Registration

Q&A with Baroness Dorothy Thornhill and Party President Mark Pack (1)

Join the author of the 2019 General Election review and President Mark Pack for a discussion of where the Party is and where we need to be doing.

20:00-21:00, Tuesday 9th of November

Registration

An introduction to our current structures (2)

45 minute presentation and Q&A for members wanting to know more about our current structures. Led by our Company secretary, Jack Coulson.

18:00-19:00, Wednesday 17th of November

Registration

Q&A with Baroness Dorothy Thornhill and Party President Mark Pack (2)

Join the author of the 2019 General Election review and President Mark Pack for a discussion of where the Party is and where we need to be doing.

18:00-19:00, Monday 22nd of November

Registration

Board Surgery

Join members of the Federal Board for its next surgery session. This will have a particular focus on governance reform but any and all questions welcome. If you would like to raise anything in advance, please contact [email protected].

18:00-19:00, Tuesday the 23rd of November

Registration