NEC Minutes for 10th April 2014

Thursday, 10 April, 2014 - 20:30
Attending: 
Loz Kaye (LK) - Leader
Jason Winstanley (JW) - Nominations
Andy Halsall (AH) - Campaigns
Sephy Hallow (SH) - Deputy Leader
Ed Geraghty (EG) - Secretary
Jack Allnutt (JA) - Deputy Campaigns & EU Candidate
Liam Dolman (LD) - Board
Apologies: 
Sam Clark (SK) - Treasurer
Observing: 
Andrew Norton (AN) - Board & Press
Thomas Gaul (TG) - PPI Board & PPDE International Coordinator

Matters Arising

  • Chase nominations papers for EU from candidates - Done

  • AN - and JW to go over the election platform - Done

  • LK to talk to JW about the NW region paperwork and nominations - Done

  • EG to update NEC when that goes out (Ruby programmers) - Going Friday

  • SH and JA to go into a coop branch with 2 forms of ID ASAP - SH needs to get valid photo ID, will be done ASAP, JW was unaware this was meant for him also (marked as JA in minutes for a while) and will chase up ASAP also

  • LK JW to talk on Monday before 1600 on Nominations. - Done

  • JW to get TB added to NEC list - Done

  • JW/TB to pass on TB's account details to AH - Not Done (will do)

  • JW to chase Mark Chapman - Done

  • JW speak to LK to discuss EU Nominations payment - (AH noted, done - will obtain Draft)

  • video/blurb/images for pozible by the 12th April - Done

  • PB to organise a meeting to drive incorporation forward - Not done - EG to chase.

  • Board to write a post for NWP on Board elections (AN lead) - Work has begun on a pad

 

Previous Minutes

4 happy - approved

 

Leader's Office

Brief update (max. 5 minutes) on actions/tasks since last meeting

LK attended the PPSE EU2014 Launch, and had a meeting with PPSE leadership, discussing many areas including bilateral PPUK, PPSE views on cooperation, incl PPI+PPEU.  LK feels that was very useful and that the PPSE view was close to PPUK's politically and in terms of the movement.

LK delivered a keynote at the beginning, which was pretty good.  LK talked to PPSE MEP's too about European Campaign, as well as issues of concern.  In particular LK was pleased that we agree broadly on some of the larger EU issues, and both PPSE MEPs are adamant that having worked in it that there is a need for reform of EU institutions and that this need is pressing.
LK felt this was useful coming into EU2014. Making connections and recieving Swag...  LK very impressed with PPSE youth movement and has found support for PPUK to help set that us with us. Although that would be later in the year.

LK happy with the good relations PPUK enjoys with PPSE.

LK had some technical issues, which puts LK and AH 24/36 hours out from where they should be.  Council nominations will still be in on time, but will be a bit of a scramble compared to normal.

LK also had interviews in Manchester on moving parliament to Manchester, as well as dealing with a number of local issues.

SH issued a blog post, and has been working with York Branch on local politics (incl bridge closures).  York is looking at talking to the Lab MP to lead some evidence based traffic policy in York.

 

Finance

Brief update (max. 5 minutes) on actions/tasks since last meeting

Sam preparing accounts, and will be available with Board on the 14th. Any other notional spending unreported for last financial 2012/13 year must be reported ASAP.

 

Campaigns

Brief update (max. 5 minutes) on actions/tasks since last meeting

EU: Filming and photos in Manchester on Tuesday. Video for funding campaign is to be edited soon. Will be delivered on the 12th/early 13th. Text timing and leaflet will be with Royal Mail tomorrow. Waiting for Accounts from SC.

Local: London working with Mark Chapman, AH asked to ensure that announce of candidacy goes out. Not aware this has happened, but will shortly. Tweeting biography. Photos available. Owns party t-shirt and a bike, and knows what potholes are! LK and SH to head to London soon.

AH will reside in Mumble for anyone to ask anything regarding EUs and will be getting a timetable out shortly.

AH has been back in contact with the Liberal Party and the NHA Party, will keep the NEC updated if anything comes from it.

AH also behind due to LK's technical issues.

 

Secretariat

Brief update (max. 5 minutes) on actions/tasks since last meeting

Been involved in the London, which is progressing well - emails etc lined up.

We need to check that the Terms of Service which have been drafted are OK - AH asks for confirmation that we are still on target to switch emails from legacy to NWP on the 18th of April, EG agrees that is still on track - AH asks whether we still want to do a brief consultation on the Terms of Service, EG agrees.

 

Nominations

Brief update (max. 5 minutes) on actions/tasks since last meeting

WRT EU2014 all three candidates have signed consent.  //ACTION LK to scan and send JA nomination to JW

JW will then complete the nominations and be ready to put the nominations when they open.

JW has been working with MC in London and the nominations paperwork will go in when it opens.  JW is chasing up the Lambeth electoral register.  JW is also following up with Mctr ESU to get hold of a current register. //ACTION JW to call Manchester ESU 11th to chase up ERoll request

BoG election nominations still ongoing, still no candidates.

 

EU 2014

LK is chairing Mctr ESU on MA candidacy.

LK stated that PPUK had notionally launched with PPSe, but we will be pushing this campaigns from the 12th.

LK felt that Tuesday had given him an idea as to what issues the candidates were working on.

Being in it to fix it.  LK felt that we needed a few things that the party would run with.

 

PPI Conference

(Max 10 minutes)

NEC discussed PPI and the advisability to get involved with PPI and offer a submission.

LD advises his intention to stand for a board position and asks for the NEC's backing to do so.  AH suggests a maximum two minute introduction from Liam, followed by one minute from each NEC member and then discussion before the vote.

LD would like to work to improve procedural issues and build on original ideas of cooperation and collaboration in PPI, moving away from NGO things until International Cooperation is working.

AH - Serious issues with structure - I am aware that PPI is working to remedy that, but given the last few weeks and the discussions I have had I can't see anything positive on the horizon. If anything, positive engagement with PPI seems less likely.  It is up to the board to deal with that organisationally, but given that there is a disconnect between what PPUK would like PPI to be and what PPI seems to suggest it is for, we have a problem.  In short, we have coordination despite PPI not because of it.
That problem is exacerbated by the fact that last time we urged someone to go and get involved with PPI, the result was broadly negative with entrenched positions making it almost impossible to get anything done.  That led to the PPUK running a referendum on PPI membership and eventually to our change of engagement. 

I would reiterate that we had to push to have PPI act in its own interests on its organisational issues.  Issues I still don't feel are resolved.  I also feel that PPI will be better supported externally than internally, personally I still see the organisation as toxic.  That said, I have been talking to and working with Thomas over a period and can see that there is a desire to get more done, even where 'more' doesn't necessarily mean more of what we would like to see.

At the end of the day, I would see a nomination of a UK member, or any direct involvement beyond attending the GA as negative.  Right now we have PPNL asking for a ruling on the legitimacy of the GA, we have massive disputes about the structure and legitimacy of PPI as an organisation and we have very little progress.  We also have a major issue with the lack of transparency with regard to financial processes, accounting, tax returns and legal status - even with our support.  

On that basis I would recommend to the NEC not to support Liam's candidacy but to advise him and the NEC board that we are better placed working to get the PPI into shape and then, once that is complete, to ask them to set up a GA, with the relevant advance notice, so that we can get to the next stage.

LK asks if EG would like to say anything given his experience in PPI, but stresses he doesn't want to put him on the spot about it

EG - Cannot, in good conscience, endorse anybody to stand for PPI board.  I realise that the individuals who stand for the board are generally doing it because they want the international movement to be better, however anyone who stands with the intention of making things better will have zero backup - despite the promises which may be made, the parties do not back you up.

As someone who went into this wanting to make a difference, and leaving after one term when it was apparent I could not, if you get in it will most likely seriously damage your confidence as you will not be able to get anything done.  This is not necessarily a reflection on the Board, the individuals or the Parties within PPI, however the entire organisation is so toxic now that if I, for instance, were to go back in (as I was asked to do in the current iteration of the board) I would still not be able to get anything done.  It is not a good idea.

LK - This is one of my biggest regrets, as someone who doesn't much deal in regret, I very much regret what EG went through and feel somewhat personally responsible - the problem is that people basically get cast into these situations.

The problem is we have a very clear member mandate to be in PPI, and the expectation was that we would address the issues.  AH & I went to a meeting where we set out a lot of things we wanted to see, that the membership expected and were entitled to see.  I do not see any progress on this, it's a shame SC is not able to be here, he was vehement from the financial side that we have offered our support and will continue to do so, but nothing has been done in a real sense.  I profoundly resent my time and AH's time being wasted.

Your instincts are right, all the things you want are right - I agree with you completely with what you want to achieve, which is why I went to Sweden.  It's not saying that we can't do this stuff, but that I cannot in any good conscience endorse the Party sending anyone formally to this organisation at the moment - I am entitled to say that it falls below the standards that I would expect.  If we don't have our standards and integrity, in this movement we have nothing.

LK reiterates that none of this is any reflection on LD, and it's unfortunate that it seems that LD is being punished for something which is not his fault.

EG reiterates to LD, as he already has to the NEC, that he does not blame LD for wanting to make PPI better, having himself been elected to the PPI board saying almost exactly the same things, but he will get nowhere and it will be through no fault of his own, he can try as hard as he likes, but if he has no back up he is doomed to fail.  It is debilitating, and EG cannot let him do that to himself.

AN - As you'll know, I was an alternate Board member and headed the first iteration of PPI.  I agree with LD, I agree with EG - we all have the same issues of what's wrong, what's right, what's happening and what's not happening.  In order to fix this, what needs to happen first is that the rules which are already in place need to start being followed.  Instead of trying to change the leadership, the existing rules need to be enforced to make sure that what's supposed to be happening actually does happen, which is why I suggest to LD that he may be better placed to implement the reforms from the Court of Arbitration rather than the Board.

TG - I have to work out which role I need to play here - PPI or PPDE.  I'll go with PPI.  I do agree with most of the problems brought up - they are still there.  We have had some improvement, WIPO etc but this is just the start.  PPI needs a bigger team and backup - we have asked for help in the past, and we all know it went down the drain - apart from the UK, who have done a good job supporting PPI in the last year and hopefully that will continue and will solve the things we have discussed.  The problems have been there for years, starting, I believe, with the first board who were eager to do things and stuck PPI with formalities, but we have now started to get access to other NGOs etc, I believe that small steps of success will get us more support from the wider movement.  This will not be solved in a short period of time, but we have to keep going forward.  I'd like to have someone from the UK on the board to push things forward - you'll have support from your party, but that's an outside view.

LK thanks TG for his input, and for the communication PPUK have with him.

LK is aware that this is not positive or productive, but doesn't think that we can do much about that right now.

AH asks if LD has anything he'd like to say on what has just been discussed

LD - There have been some good points, the main one is that people haven't been doing anything to move things on - I don't care about not having internal or external support, I'll be working to do things.  There are ways around things not being done, such as the CoA to deal with internal disputes.

EG - You can go in with all of the enthusiasm in the world, but if you have no backup and are working against the rest of the board, it won't work.  I'm sorry.

NEC Vote on submitting LD as a candidate to PPI board

  • JW - No
  • LK - No
  • EG - No - but would have full support
  • AH - No - AH reiterated hope for PPUK support.
  • (SH) - Doesn't feel NEC should curtail LD, but doesn't feel it is a good choice (abstention from official opinion)

Doesn't carry, LD will not be a PPUK nominated candidate for the PPI board

AN & TG stated that LD is invited to put himself forward to get a different sponsor. //ACTION LD to do what he wishes.

Membership Fees

Additional note, I have also begun to lobby PPI members on the membership fee issue, it seems that it may be a way to push for change within PPI and I think the PPUK position I would like to adopt today is one that is more than justifiable.

It is likely that the UK party would oppose membership fees without several guarantees from PPI that would be linked to phasing them in.  If they are brought in immediately, we'd have to look at ways of mitigating our issues with PPI financial management, potentially with an escrow requirement or some other mechanism to protect our reputation, and the reputation of the movement.

Our issues are essentially the following, to our knowledge:

  • PPI has no published accounting processes
  • PPI has not published its accounts for the last financial year (or ever)
  • PPI has not completed any financial, including tax, returns for the last financial year (or ever)
  • PPI currently has no access to banking services
  • Published PPI budget documents are inadequate (its a shopping list not a budget)

If these were addressed we would be able to support membership fees:

That is to say accounting processes were adopted (We worked with PPI to put these together a while ago..) and adhered to
and
if the last years accounts were published 
and 
if a tax return and/or appropriate financial return were released
and
if the PPI shows it is maintaining a bank account (directly or otherwise, again, PPUK has provided support to set this up)
and
A proper budget, with a proper budget process (i.e. proposals, discussion and release) were released

We could have some confidence that PPI can manage its money in a manner that is open and transparent and not open to abuse, negligence or accusations of mismanagement.
I would note that PPUK exceeds the UK minimum reporting criteria for financial reporting and has processes in place to deal with travel expenses, reimbursement, purchasing, tax and accounting reporting etc and again, our documentation is available and public (via the Electoral Commission in the UK and at request from us, as well as in references to our published minutes etc..) - see attached SOA from 2012 (2013 due this month).

Additional support - I have also been asked to see if the UK would support the candidacy of Jay Emerson of the US Pirate Party - but having not had a response from Jay I am unable to present that to the NEC with any kind of confidence.

 

Actions

//ACTION LK to scan and send JA nomination to JW

//ACTION JW to call Manchester ESU 11th to chase up ERoll request

 

Date of Next Meeting

17th April 2014

 

Any Other Urgent Business

None