Co-op Party NEC Report | March 2016

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National Executive Committee (NEC) Report | March 2016

NEC Meeting
The NEC met on 07 March 2016

New member of NEC
Following his election as President of The Co-operative Group’s Members’ Council, Nick Crofts has had to stand down as North West representative on the NEC. Gary Booth was elected by an OMOV ballot of members in the North West region.

Strategic Plan
I just wanted to remind you that there is still time for you to comment/feedback to me on the Party’s strategic plan for the next 3 years.

As the Co-operative Party heads towards our centenary, the NEC has been renewing our strategic objectives and reviewing how we continue to be the Party that our members and our movement want and need.

We are now seeking views on the new draft Strategic Plan:

Read the strategic plan (PDF)

It would be very helpful if we could receive feedback by the end of April.

You can of course structure your comments in any way you wish, but you may want to consider the following:-

  • What else does the Party need to do to meet our objectives?
  • Is there anything in the draft Plan that we should not be doing?
  • Overall, do you think the Plan is taking the Party in the right direction?
  • How can we work together to ensure the Party achieves our objectives?

If you have any questions about the plan or the consultation then please do contact Karen Wilkie on mailto:k.wilkie@party.coopk.wilkie@party.coop

We look forward to hearing your views.

Coop Councillors Network
We now have a dedicated Local Government Party officer – Emma Hoddinott

Emma is forward to helping promote the work of Labour and Co-operative Councillors up and down the country. Please feel free to get in touch e.hoddinott@party.coop

There is a dedicated twitter feed: @CoopPartyLocal

The Co-operative Councillors Hub can be found here: https://party.coop/2016-council-hub/

Deadline to stand as a Co-operative and Labour Council candidate -30th March
If you want to stand as a Co-operative candidate the deadline for the local party to submit a certificate request form is 30th March.

Learn more about standing here

Co-op Bank
I know many Party members have express unease at the Co-op Bank’s decision to close the account of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign

The General Secretary has contacted the Co-op Bank for further information, and this is the response

Our recent decision to close the accounts of some charity customers is not a reflection on the work carried out by many of our customers throughout the world, or a statement about the causes they support. We remain a committed supporter of many charities which can meet the industry level requirements.

 In common with all banks, we have to perform due diligence on our customers, their accounts and the payments they make to ensure the Bank complies with anti-money laundering obligations and to manage the Bank’s risk. This is part of our normal banking processes and is an area where the Bank has made some changes recently to bring it into line with the industry generally. You may have seen in the press recently that there can be significant financial penalties when banks do not have adequate controls in place so these changes are timely and appropriate.

For customers who operate in, or send money to, high risk locations throughout the world, advanced due diligence checks are required by all banks to ensure the funds do not inadvertently fund alleged or proscribed activities. Depending on the particular circumstances it may not be possible for us to complete these checks to our satisfaction and the decision to close a number of accounts, including the PSC and some of its affiliates, is an inevitable result of this process. Unfortunately, after quite extensive research, the charities involved did not meet our requirements or, in our view, allow us to fulfill our obligations.

This is not a political or discriminatory decision but one based on our obligations. Clearly we have to meet our legal and regulatory requirements and we believe in the round our decision is consistent with our Ethical Policy. Our position has been discussed with and has the support of the Values and Ethics Committee,which noted this is primarily a matter of adhering to banking regulations. I would also like to emphasise that these decisions have been made by the Bank’s management and have not been influenced by external agencies or our shareholders.

 This does not mean that we cannot or will not facilitate humanitarian, educational, medical and human rights donations to the Gaza region. Many well-known, national, registered charities do excellent work in these fields in Gaza and elsewhere and we make regular donations to some of these organisations through our current account and credit cards.

#KeepItCoop
Last May, Co-operative Group members voted resoundingly to continue 100 years of partnership with the Co-operative Party.

With this year’s vote fast approaching, I am writing to ask for your help again:

Click here to add your support

Whether via the shopping basket or the ballot, the savings account or on the street, co-operators have always shaped and challenged the world in which we live. But there’s so much still to do.

In the run-up to this year’s AGM on the 21st of May, members of the Co-operative Group will once again vote on whether to continue the partnership with the Co-operative Party.

Between now and then, we need you to join us once again making the case for a co-operative movement – with the Co-operative Group at its heart – actively building a world where power and wealth are more equally shared, with the Party as a strong voice in the rooms where decisions are made.

Plymouth Local Organiser
Funded by the National Party and the new SW Peninsula Party Council, there will be a Plymouth Local Organiser to assist in the election of Labour and Co-operative candidates in winning the local elections in Plymouth in May 2016.

The job description can be found HERE.

Applications closed on 06 March and Vince Barry was appointed to the position.

I wish Vince and the team in Plymouth all the very best – let’s #KeepItCoop in Plymouth as well!

Co-operative Party Policy Process 
The Policy Sub-Committee has agreed an approach to taking forward the Party’s policy process this year – following the very successful session at Conference.

Information has been sent to Party Officers setting out how they and their members can get involved in the process ahead of this year’s annual Conference.

The topics for discussion this year are:

  • Creating a more equal society
  • Developing a shared economy
  • Safer, stronger and more confident communities

Labour Party Policy 
The Co-op Party has 3 representatives on Labour’s National Policy Forum [NPF] – Claire Mccarthy [Gen Sec], Clare Neill [East Midlands] and Sarah Gill [North East & Cumbrian].

After some delay in the re-establishment of the NPF after the elections, we have been informed that we will have seats on the following Policy Commissions:

  • Business and the Economy
  • Transport
  • Communities

Given these are areas of co-operative activity, this is a very welcome step.

We will, of course, look to influence the policy agenda across the full range of issues as the process continues, and as part of our-on-going engagement with Shadow Ministers.

Membership
Total number of members in SW Region on 31 January 2016 was 641

Total Party memberships on the same date = 8635 [same date in 2015 = 7816]

Dates for your diary:

21 May                                     Co-operative Group AGM [Manchester]

17 – 18 June                            Co-operative Congress [Wakefield]

19 June – 03 July                     Co-operatives Fortnight

02 July                                       International Co-operatives Day

09 July                                       Durham Miner’s Gala [Durham]

15 – 17 July                               Tolpuddle Festival weekend [Tolpuddle]

09 – 11 September                Co-operative Party Conference [Cardiff]

25 – 28 September                Co-operative Party Conference [Liverpool]

20 October                              International Credit Union Day

Yours in co-operation,

Paul Bull
NEC, South West

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