Alice Perry, the Labour national executive committee (NEC) member for local government, has written a preview of the national policy forum (NPF) which is happening this weekend.
What is the National Policy Forum?
Labour’s National Policy Forum plays a key role in drafting policy documents, which are agreed by Labour Party Conference and form the basis of the Party’s General Election Manifesto. The NPF is responsible for ensuring the Labour’s policy direction reflects the broad consensus in the party.
Who is on the NPF?
The NPF includes representatives of CLPs and regions, councillors, affiliated trade unions and socialist societies, the PLP, the EPLP and other stakeholder groups within the Party. Current NPF members are listed online. Members of the NEC are also automatically members of the NPF.
How does the NPF work?
The NPF has a number of Policy Commissions that review various policy areas. The eight current Policy Commissions are:
- Economy, Business and Trade
- Health and Care
- Early Years, Education and Skills
- Justice and Home Affairs
- Housing, Local Government and Transport
- Work, Pensions and Equality
- Environment, Energy and Culture
Members of the NPF sit on these commissions, which are co-chaired by members of the Shadow Cabinet and members of the NEC. The Policy Commissions meet throughout the year to discuss their policy areas. The National Policy Forum meets as a whole once or twice a year for a broader policy conference.
The next full NPF meeting is this weekend, the 19 – 20 November. This meeting will discuss Labour’s response to Brexit as well as the work of the various commissions and Jeremy Corbyn’s 10 policy pledges.
As Labour gets closer to the 2020 election, the NPF will develop the policy documents that will form the basis for Labour’s manifesto. (The manifesto is eventually formally agreed by a special meeting known as the Clause V manifesto meeting.)
How can members get involved?
Members can make submissions to the NPF as individuals via the Labour Policy Forum website. Branches, CLPs, council Labour groups, socialist societies, trade unions and other organisations can also make submissions online. These submissions will be considered by the relevant policy commission. Members can also contact their regional NPF reps to advocate for particularly policies. Contact information for NPF reps is available on the Policy Forum website.
Are there any planned changes to Labour’s policy making process?
The NEC has been considering ways to open up the policy making process and make it easier for members to feed in their views both in person and online. November’s NPF meeting may also be discussing this. A rule change from September’s Annual Conference may also change the way policy documents are debated at future Conferences. Another recent rule changes restores a policy making role for Women’s Conference.
Jeremy Corbyn’s 10 Policy Pledges
Jeremy Corbyn stood on a platform of 10 policies pledges, which were endorsed unanimously by the NEC in September. These 10 pledges included achieving full employment, housing, security at work, health and social care, education, protecting the environment, devolution, tackling inequality and foreign policy. The NPF is being asked to build on these ten pledges and translate them into official Labour policy.
For further information, and to get involved, visit policyforum.labour.org.uk. You can also sign-up to receive my reports from NEC and NPF meetings or get in touch with any questions.