Chair – Jos Bell
Secretary – Sina Lari
Treasurer

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News from the London SHA 2 March 2014

We had our first meeting of the revived London SHA branch on Tuesday 25th. Yesterday, for better or for worse, marked a significant new phase in the Labour Party’s history.

As long as something lives and breaths, it is never static. It is never still.

Following election of the London SHA branch officers, concerns were voiced from the floor about the stated difficulties concerning the various problems with the website and the development of a good governance model – both of these task groups having been agreed within the CC it was seen as of a major concern that such protestations had emerged and been aired in public.

It was agreed that these matters should be grounded in objective functionality rather than largely focused on subjective reactions and there was a joint hope that matters could be settled within as short a timeframe as possible.

Since then, we now know that the technical expertise of the developer of the Word Press system will be fully deployed for our organisation’s website – which should hopefully help to ameliorate the difficulties with this vital aspect of our organisations’ public interface.

To turn to the future. Once upon a time the SHA had a much better gender balance. (Please note the eventual 11:2 represtentation for the final part of the London meeting reflects the 23:4 attendance at the last CC.). The voting took place on a 11.1 ratio. The large and sadly increasing imbalance in active members was seen as a serious matter of concern, likewise the overall lack of diversity – and one which it was agreed needs to be rectified by a cultural shift.

Yesterday Ed re-iterated that he wants the Labour Party to look like the people it represents and was able to roundly mock Cameron for his shoulder to shoulder male front bench. Dave Prentis reminded everyone in his speech how many women are employed within the health service. Thus the gender discrepancy amongst SHA members is brought into sharp focus.

You will therefore understand, I hope, when I say that I thank the otherwise all-male London delegates ( at the point of the vote ) with all my heart for putting their faith in me to help us through into the next phase of the organisation.

We agreed that the SHA should be a welcoming place for new members and in particular should be attractive to younger members, reaching out to both individuals and to other common interest organisations.

We proceeded to develop a set of key principles by which we would wish the SHA in London to operate. These were quickly agreed as accepted practice – and indeed have already been utilised with respect to individual feedback on the Collins Report. The same can then apply to the Oldham Review and other emerging reports/policies.

5 POINT GUIDING PRINCIPLES :

A fully democratic approach to decision making
Respect for members’ interests and expertise
Transparency of process and declaration of interest
Promotion of equality and diversity
Respect for experiences, views and concerns.

As our Principles illustrate, we wish the London branch to demonstrate contemporary socialism in action – broadening out the potential for engagement, for collective and collaborative working and for purposeful utilisation of our considerable joined up talents.

We would invite all members of the organisation – both London and national, to refer to them when considering both how to make use of votes for the CC and the governance review in the coming week as well as in terms of the future development and operation of the organisation.

We hope that this will proceed into the creation of an environment of openness and trust, which will result not only in effective policy making but also the sharing of knowledge and wisdom for its own sake.

We seek to work constructively with all members. We hope the majority already share these values and hope others will come to see the worth of this approach and thus create an organisation we can be proud of – one which contributes to the sustainability of the NHS in the traditions of its founders, operating in the light of accumulated knowledge and acknowledged best practice and able to offer a full range of support and input to the Labour Party and to Andy Burnham’s team, in the run up to the GE and beyond.

Meanwhile, I know that you will deploy your votes thoughtfully – both in the overall CC election and also in terms of members attending to vote at the AGM. I look forward to being part of the team.

I also hope that we can jointly deliver a vibrant new phase in our organisation’s history for the greater good.

best wishes
Jos Bell
Chair, London branch

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