Minutes of Central Council June 2016

Internal governance

Minutes of the meeting held at St Lukes Birmingham on 18th June 2016

Apologies for absence: Tony Beddow, Guy Collis, Barrie Brown, Alison Scouller, David Taylor-Gooby, Dr Mike Grady, Katrina Murray, Dr Doug Naysmith, Caroline Walsh, Alan Wenban-Smith

Chair Chris Bain

  1. Apologies: as above
  1. Minutes of last Central Council Meeting: 09/01/2016:

Several points were brought up by members:

  1. More detailed notes of the meeting were required
  2. There should be a longer meeting of the Central Council at the AGM
  3. That the notes of Central Council meetings should be sent to all Central Council Members in a Word Doc form

Response: Martin Rathfelder: There was a lack of time at the AGM for a longer Central Council meeting. The AGM is where policy is set, and all members can put forward a resolution and change the constitution. These decisions are binding on Central Council. Policies decided at the AGM are immediately valid.

The minutes of the Central Council Meeting 9th January 2016 were accepted as a true and accurate record.

It was agreed that that the notes of Central Council meetings should be sent to all Central Council Members in a Word Doc form

  1. Matters Arising not on the agenda:
  1. The progression of the Devolution Working Group. There has been no progress, but it will be reviewed.
  2. The NHS Commission: The Labour Party are opposing it now; Jane Roberts (Central Council) has produced a paper. Martin Rathfelder to distribute details if it progresses.
  1. The NHS Re-Instatement Bill:
  1. Support for the NHS re-Instatement Bill was passed by the AGM at 30 to 1. It was agreed that more in depth discussion was needed dependent on the timetable as the bill progressed.
  1. The McDonnell NHS Focus Group:
  1. John McDonnell had requested a SHA presence on this focus group. Vivien Giladi was moved (CB) seconded (JL) and agreed as mandated to represent the SHA at the focus group.
  1. Sustainability and Transformation Plans:
  1. It was agreed that Brian Fisher would take a list of questions from members on STPs to Heidi Alexander before the end of July.
  1. Co-option to Central Council
  1. It was agreed to co-opt Catherine Grundy to the Central Council
  1. Procedural Proposal
  1. It was proposed that we consider an electronic voting system be established to cover matters of policy which cannot wait for the next Central Council meeting. Policy would only be adopted with a positive vote of 21 votes out of 40.

Members made the following points:

A question was raised as to what kind of policy issue would be covered. The response was that it would be a matter of policy which could not wait for the next central council meeting and which had been vetted by the officers. The policy could be discussed within Socialist Health Association groups. There will be times when it would be a useful mechanism to make SHA policy making more flexible and agile. The proposals could come from any member, but would be vetted by officers.

21 people was more than the number present at the meeting, and therefore would be more democratic, but could it be negated by a small number at a Central Council meeting?

There would be no proper interactive discussion if it was done online, so we should raise matters in our own way. There is no point in a discussion without providing information. Time deadlines are useful and it is a digital age.

We should keep within the parameters discussed and the remit for accepting submissions should be clear. The meeting agreed that the proposal should be  accepted, with the amendment that any policies decided in this matter should be reported on and discussed at the next Central Council meeting.

  1. Vice Chairs Positions
  1. Alex Scot-Samuel had self-nominated for a position as Vice Chair of the SHA

Members made the following points:

The SHA is not obliged to have Vice Chairs and Central council has not chosen to appoint any in the last few years.

Alex Scot- Samuel has talked about doing a significant amount of work for the SHA, and Vice Chairs should demonstrate they have a lot to give to the organisation.

Would the Branches (Scotland and Wales) want to nominate a Vice Chair to Central Council, or are they already part of the team? Is the person chairing the Wales Branch a part of the Council?

Response: The Welsh Branch decides who represents it at Central Council

How do you identify Vice Chairs? Perhaps a national weakness in our policy? Also there could be a position of Deputy Chair

There are arguments on both sides, but socialism is not about elites. We are not as democratic as we would like to be.

We could consider using the title “Policy Leads” and have one proper Vice Chair

It was agreed there would be a Policy Lead for Equalities and Public Health, Alex Scot- Samuel, to start immediately.

It was agreed there would be one Vice Chair role to deputise for the Chair to be voted on at the next meeting in September.

It was agreed Brian Fisher would take the position as Policy Lead for Social care to start immediately.

MR: We would want to agree SHA policies by 25th September 2016, but until the Policy Summary being worked on by Brian Fisher (BF) is modified and approved it should not be circulated, and this will not be done before the Labour Party Conference.

BF: The policies are contradictory. We can use the document as a basis for discussions internally. There may also be some drafts in progress I can circulate.

It was agreed BF should complete the Policy Review process by 17/09/2016

The following points were made:

The Policy Document should be circulated to the whole membership, and we should consider workshops or conferences in the regions.

We need an acceleration process in the light of a possible General Election

  1. Labour Party Matters:
  1. It was agreed that Jean Hardiman Smith and Chris Bain would be the official delegates to the Labour Party conference in September 2016
  2. It was agreed that Alex Scot-Samuel and Brian Fisher would attend as observers (to apply online)
  3. It was agreed to support the Scientists for Labour candidate as an internal auditor.
  1. Mental Health
  1. SHA members attended two conferences on mental health recently: Easington and Norwich. MR has written a report and will write a policy proposal to put to members together with Dr Judith Varley (JV)
  1. Any Other Business
  1. Junior Doctors Dispute; The point was made that this was not on the agenda, and that now Dr Khan has been elected as a Labour MP to Tooting, should we engage with her as a Labour MP and medical practitioner.  MR responded that there had not been a doctor on the Labour benches for some time, (about 5 years) and that perhaps she could be considered as a future speaker – possibly the Council Meeting on 24/09/2016. This was agreed.
  2. The item had not been on the agenda because of timing and because nobody proposed it at the AGM, but a lot of members had been on the picket lines including MR, and the SHA supports the Junior Doctors.
  3. The point was raised that we should not just support the Junior doctors, but nurses, bursaries, physiotherapists and so on.
  4. It was agreed to delegate the issue to the Officers and Brian Fisher for further and more in depth consideration