In summer 2019, the Liberal Democrats introduced a new independent complaints process. The independence is an important part of the process, reflecting lessons all political parties have learnt the hard way in recent years.
The rules the independent process uses are set by the party – via the Federal Board and party conference. The Disciplinary Subgroup (DSG) oversees the administrative aspects of the disciplinary process (including training and drafting guidance). It has no input into individual cases. The DSG is running a survey to get feedback ahead of drawing up proposals for improvements to the system.
As its members (Alice Thomas, Candy Piercy, Simon McGrath, Stephen Harte, April Preston and Cadan Ap Thomas) explained over on Lib Dem Voice:
The new process introduced in July 2019 is much more transparent – with published rules and regular reports of its outcomes reported by the independent Lead Adjudicator to conference. It is independent of the federal party, being run by volunteers who don’t hold party office.
Unfortunately, though, a combination of poor administration in its first year meant it was not quick or effective for a lot longer than was expected. Some members have also found the published rules too legalistic and difficult to follow.
At Spring Conference 2021, members voted again to look at the complaints process and that is what we want to do now. We want to hear from party members about how they want it to change. Whether you’ve been involved in a complaint (as a complainant, respondent, supporter, witness or volunteer) or not, if you have thoughts on how we can improve the process please let us know.
The recent independent report on the Conservative Party’s approach to complaints highlights how important it is to fix things quickly when they go wrong.
Help us to do the same.
You can send in your views via the online survey here.
Note: complaints dating from before the introduction of the new system are being wrapped up under the previous systems that were in place at the time they were raised.