Mandate

This is becoming a rules compendium, I really should build a rules wiki.

Here’s a rule from Conference 2016

Chapter 13 Clause II 2. A Aims and Values

NEW CLAUSE v. Members of the Labour group in administration must comply with the provisions of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 and subsequent revisions and shall not vote against or abstain on a vote in full Council to set a legal budget proposed by the administration. Members of the Labour Group shall not support any proposal to set an illegal budget. Any councillor who votes against or abstains on a Labour group policy decision in this matter may face disciplinary action.

What’s the penalty? This is worse in a Mayor led cabinet, because of the Mayor’s relationship with the budget, which can only be overturned by a ⅔ majority. Much then depends on the Group’s rules and transparency.

Mandate

Toxic Combinations

I have written a piece about Segregation of Duties and Toxic Combinations on my linkedin blog. The bulk of the article talks about how to organise staff roles and responsibilities to meet the standard admin/developer segregation of duties rules in IT organisations but it also talks about the need to apply segregation of duties in the justice system. I say a bit more here and comment on lessons for the Labour Party.

In the world of police and justice, the need for a segregation of duties has been long understood. It is known that an uncontrolled police force is the mark of a totalitarian society. In most democracies, the police investigate a crime identifying witnesses and evidence, independent prosecutors take the decision to prosecute, and courts hear the case with the role of Judge who issues penalties, and jury who assess the facts and determine guilt being an additional separation of duties. Measures are taken to eliminate conflicts of interest by having judges step down if there is a conflict of interest, for instance if they are a participant in the case as either complainant/defendent or a witness, and to ensure that crimes committed within each of these roles cannot be covered up. Whether the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the Bar Association, the Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman or their international equivalents are enough is a question for debate, but their existence is a crucial part of the defence of justice.

In the febrile atmosphere of the Labour Party today, the lack of control over the General Secretary and his staff together with the failure to adopt a modern segregation of duties, means the General Secretary acts as investigator, and prosecutor. He is also the employing manager of the Regional Directors who often also act as Judge & Jury. This growing and serious problem is, in many cases, compounded by a lack of grievance and whistle-blower processes. The aggressive use of the complaints process and the often, dual role of complainants and role holders in the process is also a problem. The Chakrabarti report saw the lack of professional lawyers, a legally qualified Head of Legal, partly as a skills issue but a professional lawyer’s strong binding to act both as an officer of the court and to preserve their professional registration would be a significant advance to what we have today, a bunch of people trained in the worst of student and trade union politics where winning counts for more than justice and there is no accounting of collateral damage.

Toxic Combinations

Eliminating ballots

Another version of a counting system is used by the Labour Party; they call it an eliminating ballot. In order to understand it, one needs to consider a system, used in multi-seat council elections where each voter can cast as many votes as there are vacancies, using a X to indicate their votes. If there are three seats to win, as in ward councils, then each voter gets three votes. In my book, this is a counting system called multiple block. This is a majoritarian system; one Party can win all three seats on a plurality of support and it’s one of the reasons that Lewisham Council has only one opposition councillor.

In the Labour Party’s eliminating ballot system as used for borough council slates, the balloting is conducted in rounds, each voter has the number of votes equal to the number of winners. Those candidates at the bottom, i.e. all of those candidates whose votes if summed, are not greater than the candidate above them are eliminated and a subsequent round is undertaken. This continues until the required number of winners is chosen.

This allows people to change their minds and thus enables some quite dangerous games to be played, as we saw with the last Tory Party leadership election.

Eliminating ballots

More

Lewisham Deptford CLP’s AGM has been postponed in order to allow its biggest branch to rerun its delegates election. However, the Regional Director has also been asked to audit the 2017 affiliations to ensure that these confirm to Labour’s rules. The outrage I feel and the solidarity expressed by comrades in Newham has led me to support their crowd justice campaign to undertake a judicial challenge to the Newham Mayoral trigger ballot.; their complaints are about questionable exclusions and bogus affiliations.

The image above is hyperlinked to the appeal.I suppose I should add that they’d better get a move on as the election campaign starts in the New Year.

More

Equifax

Bruce Schneier testified to Congress on the Equifax Breach and posted his testimony onto his blog. .Because of the political nature of the content, he is frequently much more technical some of the the comments are very superficial, complaining about the need for more regulation.

The problem is, as he says, that without regulation business wont keep personal data secure. The problem is bad corporate behaviour.

His testimony, in my mind, shows the weakness of seeing this as a consumer protection issue. Much of the bad behaviour comes from 3rd parties; the data subject is not the customer and thus have no rights of tort and in the US, the FTC can’t pursue the data controllers. By placing privacy in a consumer protection framework, they also leave it to the victims of breaches to prove harm.

In the EU, our rights based legal framework means that a breach is harm, because our human rights to privacy have been infringed.

Schneier raises the GDPR as an example of how companies can confirm to better standards and raises the spectre of the EU imposed fines on US companies. He also hints at the fragility of safe harbour/privacy shield.

Equifax

Again

Over the summer, the balance of power on Labour’s NEC changed and it decided to increase the cadre of CLP representatives by three. We are now in the process of nominating candidates. Here’s the Centre Left Grass Roots Alliance slate.

  • Yasmine Dar – who is a member of Gorton CLP and a Manchester councillor.(Membership Number: L1173052 )
  • Rachel Garnham – who is secretary of Mid Bedfordshire CLP and a member of the National Policy Forum. (Membership Number: A777413)
  • Jon Lansman – who is a member of Bermondsey and Old Southwark CLP and a long standing campaigner for progressive policies and democracy within Labour.(Membership Number: A018501)
Again