SHA Birmingham Central Council 1.9.18 in the Birmingham and Midlands Institute. The meeting opened at 1.30

Headings, significant actions and other matters in bold

Present:   Alex Scott-Samuel Chair (ASS), Andy Thompson Vice Chair (AT), Tom Fitzgerald Treasurer (TF), Alison Scouller (AS), David Mattocks, Vivien Walsh (VW), Paul Leake (PL), Caroline Bedale (CB), Mark Ladbrooke (ML), Catherine Grundy Glew (CGG), Steve Bedser (SB), Tony Beddow (TB), Irene Leonard (IL), Mike Roberts (MR), Helen Cranage (HC), Pater Mayer, Vivien Giladi (VG), John Lipetz (JL), Brian Fisher (BF), Allison Gardner (AG), Carol Ackroyd (CA), James Williamson (JW), Gurinder Singh Josan (GSJ), Corrie Lowry (CL), Judith Varley

Apologies for this meeting: Jean Hardiman Smith Secretary (JHS), Kathrin Thomas, Chris Bain, Colenzo Jarret-Thorpe, Dave Watson, David Davies, Guy Baily, Jacky Davis, Jessica Ormerod, Jon Shaffer, Katrina Murray, Sina Lari, Stephen Warren, Tony Jewell, Lawrence Cotter, Coral Jones, Diane Jones, Jane Roberts, Nico Csergo, Guy Collis, Shaun McBride, Jos Bell, Corrie Lowry

Leeds meeting amendments: present: Vivien Walsh, Peter Marshall    Apologies: Catherine Grundy Glew

Birmingham meeting    Observers:   None

2   Minutes of Leeds meeting: Several delegates were missed off the list of those present, others said they’d sent their apologies but these had not been recorded. Delegates must take personal responsibility for signing the attendance sheet. Apologies will be recorded if they’ve been seen. The Minutes were accepted with those amendments and an understanding that they are not a record of every comment or question

VG suggested delegates who had missed 2 successive CC meetings without apologies should be removed from CC and GSJ said branch Secretaries should be informed before any action was taken against delegates elected by branches. ASS said Officers would consider these matters

ML asked if paper work could be sent several days ahead of a meeting and together rather than piecemeal

AT will be looking at the website, how it functions and to provide access passwords

CB mentioned that the final window for contemporary motions is noon 13 September

MR said the Clarke commissioned Report should be on the Agenda for the next meeting, since some elements are not fit for purpose, others are out of date and the recommendations had not been agreed by CC in 2014. This and the call for Action Report should both be addressed by CC particularly as a more intelligible version is now available

There were discussions about points of order, dispute and dissent at the Leeds meeting and about how fully these should be recorded. ASS pointed out that minutes were never to be verbatim, only summaries. GSJ asked that points of order and action should be recorded and that delegates should understand the meaning of incorporation of the association because of liability problems which might arise in future. Was it a personal decision for a delegate to be replaced by someone else? ASS said that the ‘presumptive delegate’ at the Leeds meeting was attempting to substitute for an elected delegate who hadn’t resigned, so this was unconstitutional and unacceptable. JL suggested that delegates standing down and their replacements should notify CC. TB said that as a delegate based organisation, SHA regions / branches are responsible for selecting and de-selecting delegates but resignations are accepted and new delegates normally appointed at the end of the year. Points of Order are normally challenged under Standing Orders. Points of Order or Points of Information are often used to get a voice in situations where the individual might not otherwise be able to speak. Generally, matters are understood in accordance with the Labour Party Rule book.

JW questioned the process and said it should be fair and transparent. AT replied that he had spoken of ‘back channel pressures’ operating outside the meeting and in social media with the intention of influencing the outcome of the disciplinary hearing and therefore were NOT relevant to the meeting.

BF asked how delegates could intervene in the business of the meeting without Points of Order and was assured all members were able to express their views, and unscheduled items could be raised under AoB if they weren’t on the agenda. SB said the Chair had managed time thereby frustrating delegates wishing to speak at CC. As there were no guarantees of delegates being able to express ideas or challenges at CC, perhaps agenda items should be timed in future. ASS said long discourses were inappropriate, and he’s also keen on gender balance if possible.   CGG asked if contentious issues should be high on the agenda so there’s adequate time to air views

3   Chair’s Report: The disciplinary procedure is on-going involving a huge amount of work for the Officers and Vice Chairs. ASS formally thanked and congratulated all those who have taken part and for the support they have given

4   Secretary’s Report:   JHS was absent due to illness (see apologies), so there was no written report, but she and her husband, Ken, have already done enormous amounts of SHA admin work throughout the Summer for which both are thanked. JHS is continuing to run all admin functions. Comments and articles for facebook should be sent to her. Once official speakers are confirmed, she’ll advertise in the official LP Conference material though BF asked if this would be possible since there’s still no proper access to accounts. Commitments to premises and other arrangements for the SHA fringe meeting have been met. Membership lists are up-to-date though some have multiple inaccuracies, (to be reported more fully). Claims for expenses, including any outstanding expenses from previous meetings, should be sent to Jean along with bank account details if she hasn’t got them already. The expenses listed on the Birmingham attendance sheet have been sent to Jean. VW asked about the Manchester branch meeting arranged for 2 weeks time; Jean is in discussion with members about this. GSJ asked about the website development, which subgroups have been set up, who’s doing what etc… AT said he’d been fully occupied with the panel but would be asking for working group volunteers after the LP Conference. CB asked if anything could be shared with anyone else to relieve the load on Jean and Ken, but as matters are still so tangled, that’s not possible.

5   Treasurer’s Report   Access to bank accounts is still incomplete, compounding current problems. We cannot pay for meetings, local or national, without being sure we have funds to cover them, and changing signatories to the accounts has been difficult and is still underway. ASS has contacted previous signatories regarding their replacement so Officers can recover control and the process is still underway too. Formal agreement to the new signatories, Tom Fitzgerald, Alex Scott-Samuel and Jean Hardiman Smith has been recorded. Previous arrangements meant Martin Rathfelder had discharge of matters costing less than £500, the Treasurer, those of greater value. This report and changes were accepted and agreed unanimously by the meeting.   IL said there’d been a similar problem in the CLP, changes to signatories had to be notified by the Secretary on headed notepaper with the appropriate Minute and it all took time. ASS commented that 3 former signatories had been supportive but progress was slow as it entailed postal mail exchanges.   For the future, we need to consider having transfer forms for signatories already prepared. TF confirmed our purpose is to run campaigns, a key one currently being to save the NHS, and to support local SHA groups, Manchester branch has funds and Martin Rathfelder is its Treasurer. However, honouring our previous commitments prevents making further financial commitments to any branch event until we have access to all accounts, and claims cannot be backdated. Current travel re-imbursements can be met. ML said Oxford branch had raised £150 in a meeting held in one of the most deprived area of Oxford, and offered to loan money to branches in difficulty, with the proviso that branches should seek to raise their own funding. CB said she had been nominated to become Manchester branch Treasurer, but Martin Rathfelder had objected. TB wondered if Martin was Treasurer by default or had been elected and then AT blocked further discussion since it might affect the current process. BF said SHA needed a proper financial policy for central and peripheral matters

6   Labour Party matters. A proposal for Contemporary Resolution, on Social Care by Brian Fisher still needed a title but was open for endorsement by CC. JL asked that it be proposed in the spirit of Nye Bevan as was done in the health motion last year, social care should be free, universally available and publically funded. CA was thanked for her contribution and seconded the proposal. It was thought there was little chance of it being discussed at Conference but social care will be a big issue over the coming year. MR mentioned refs to the Green Paper including one entitled ‘Adult Social Care and Support’; support was low whilst demand was so high, and it all meant more pressure on the health service. The problems arising from not doing anything on social care whilst the government insists it’s the responsibility of the Local Authority are immense and it’s essential to focus on the impact of the National HEALTH Service. BF said the proposal needed debate since the current incumbent had no commitment to this motion, and whilst he (BF) thought it would get through the Contemporary Motion gate, he didn’t want it framed with impact on the NHS as it’s about social care. VG thanked BF and colleagues for their work but wanted permission to ‘tweak’ it to get it through various gates at Conference. ML commented on the crisis in social care funding with many regressive ideas. ASS asked for motions to be submitted to the Conference Committee via him or JHS, and by 20 Sept. Branches and CLPs should be encouraged to support it as it will go to a priority themes ballot. JHS or Coral Jones will be invited to the Composite Committee if it’s accepted. This year’s conference has NO slot for health and social care! SB offered tactical advice that each region should have a delegate branch meeting on Sunday am as this would enhance chances of the motion being called, and we should all seek local supporters for the Contemporary Motion. JL reminded us of the inadequacies of support for children’s and older people’s support. CA commented that a Report on the Crisis on Social Care had been published on 31 Aug. Public funding, free at point of access had been addressed. The Women’s Group need to deal with the infrastructure including ‘soft’ budget funding, some minor ‘tweaking’ is necessary. BF will not be at the Composite meeting and Jean and Coral need to be briefed. GSJ asked if delegates might contribute to the tweaking if they’re present as delegates. This was accepted by the meeting.

Women’s Group meeting. Decriminalisation of abortion across the UK had been popular and support was building. One motion can be selected to take forward to the main Conference. VG thanked AS for her work preparing this doc.

SHA fringe meetings   Maternity policy and Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital 12.30 – 2.30 Monday 24 Sept, chaired by Irene Leonard

Re-nationalising Social Care 6.00 – 8.00 Tuesday 25 Sept. Brian Fisher in conjunction with Health Campaigns Together. Eleanor Smith MP will speak at this meeting

Both the events detailed above will be at the Quaker Meting House, 22 School Lane, L1 3BT. One or both of these sessions will commemorate Julian Tudor Hart; they are open to all comers.

BF will also be submitting a Contemporary Motion on Social Care to the main LP Conference as described previously.

In addition, Sunday 23 Sept 11.00 at ‘The World Transformed’ at the Blackie there will be a session on NHS Campaigning with SHA, Health Campaigns Together and ‘Neon’

There will also be the march in support of the Liverpool Women’s Hospital led by Prof Wendy Savage on 22 Sept starting at 12.00 at the Hospital and arriving at the LP Conference site for speeches and the Socialist Singers at around 3.00

21 Sept   ‘Pensioners United’ screened at the Plaza in Crosby. Tickets via Eventbrite. John McDonnell likely to be present.

As we have missed the deadline to be in the printed programme, we must use social media and the app. To publicise SHA events. Targeting similar meetings and entrances with fliers works well in Liverpool. CB asked about the cost of doing this and whether personal underwriting is possible to us included in the official brochure.

7 Any Thompson’s interim Report on the Resolution of the Disciplinary Panel and Incorporation

Main points:

No one person should hold the logins, passwords and control of finances; all Officers should have access. The process and culture should be of transparency to everyone anywhere. The lack of policies has created massive difficulties. New financial arrangements will be instituted and best practices implemented.

SHA cannot continue as an unincorporated organisation; this needs urgent attention with liability / member expressly limited (likely to be £1). Employer’s liability insurance will cover risks.

The website should be bespoke, not ‘standard’; it needs urgent attention enabling Officers (and maybe some sub-groups) to access a full range of all SHA documents. Maintenance and development of the website is likely to take some time, but some immediate steps are needed.

The Disciplinary Panel work is in accordance with NHS Guidelines and is compliant with other systems. Legal advice will be sought if, when, where necessary. Several legal opinions might be sought; those associated with appointment tribunals might be appropriate. AT believes the disciplinary process is defensible, he wants prompt resolution without undue delay of the process for reasons of time, public discussion and in the interests of the members. David Wrigley who will chair the Appeal has had all the paper work and has reported to Jean.

Andy’s statement prompted comments, suggestions and questions which are summarised below.

They included recruitment procedures, affiliation to other organisations, competence, training needs for Officers, clear job descriptions – maybe needing HR analysis -, governance, accountability and responsibilities issues, and a Director subject to a contract which MUST be delivered. The Clarke Report, originally rejected, should now be revisited. SHA has an accountant, and the Labour Party can advise on some issues. For recruitment, it will be necessary to determine functions, and it seems likely that 1 person will be insufficient. MR suggested the Chair of Labour Business is a lawyer and might give cost effective advice. Sorting everything is a long process, and should not to be de-railed or fail for some minor problem. Key matters needed resolution, the 2014 report on the SHA website by a working group headed by Neomi Fabry should be looked at again.  AT’s recommendations would result in a long report, but when fully implemented, SHA would be professionally fit for the 21st century. BF commented that the process had been criticised but Andy’s recommendations should be taken seriously, and need to be seen as fair. SB said we needed to get the basics right first, and then tackle core policies; whilst robust advice must be paid for, the CVS might have some appropriate ‘off the shelf’ policies we could use alongside current practices to see if they were better. The Officers would agree how best to take forward the Report’s recommendations. JL thanked AT for his work and CC accepted and agreed his Report.

8 Policy Development Process   TB presented Kathrin Thomas’s paper which raised 3 points:   1 Individual members getting their ideas to CC via the delegate structure should first test them in the branches to remove glitches.   2 Is the policy group a filter before the policy commission?   3 new polices should be linked to those already existing. ASS said that as agreed by CC on June 9, TB is Vice Chair leading on policy and his brief includes making recommendations and picking up the work of Brian and the policy commission. ASS is the link to the shadow health team. BF commented that a rapid reaction process is needed – a turn-round of responses within half a day. Some way of CC agreeing something quickly is necessary, and a key matter is how a policy is finally signed off. It was suggested that any active policy discussion should be flagged up for delegates to contribute. CGG considered the time frame for passing policy and whether this allowed for adequate branch level discussion. Delegates were especially aware of the special situation of social care needing small group discussion. MR commented that a ‘Green Paper’ approach should be adopted; the whole of local government needs examining, public health, health inequalities, and the framework whereby best practice can be brought forward. IL proposed a discussion forum for the website. ML said consultation / engagement was very necessary and to bear in mind that International Aid under Theresa May was linked to trade deals and Trump policies. TB supported the Green Paper approach and said that CC should hold policy development sessions twice yearly. Public health gap analysis, carers issues, issues arising from combining health and social care and funding had all been addressed in the last year, all fairly heavy policy concerns yet the LP has no formal policy. What relationship did SHA have with the shadow team? Other players need to be influenced, like media, web-based discussions etc.. but may be beyond our technical competence. Volunteers? Mental health was assessed as needing £20 billion when MPs last considered NHS shortfalls. Serious debate on taxation policy was required. ASS asked for TB to develop this programme further and CC agreed this decision

AoB AT returned to technological concerns, particularly ways of engaging with members, including those in remote areas, in live discussion. Raising money is always difficult and he favoured a land value tax targeting the wealthy. CL voiced her concern about what we can all see happening in the country and hopes to see a more positive attack from the LP. AG commented that standards shpuld be developed and met, and collaborative on-line meetings should not be impossible to organise.

The meeting closed at 4.30     Date of next meeting Nov 10 London

Judith Varley   10.9.18

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