Posts Tagged ‘partnership in power’

Policy-making can’t just be a partnership with ourselves

18/11/2010, 07:00:30 AM

by Peter Watt

“Partnership in power” was established in 1997 as a way of maintaining a dialogue between the three main stakeholder groups which would determine the success or otherwise of a Labour government. The theory was devised in opposition. If the government, party members and, of course, the public could keep talking, then when inevitable tensions occurred they could be handled so that they didn’t become crises. Keeping all three groups involved in the process was seen as essential to its success. If any one of the three groups walked away, then the government would struggle. In essence, it was simple: the government had the right to govern, but also a responsibility to listen to the party and the public. The party had the right to be heard by the government and the responsibility to…. you get the idea.

In the heady post-election days of 1997, anything seemed possible. You couldn’t help but get caught up in the overwhelming sense of optimism. The early local policy forum pilots were large events with multiple facilitators and enthusiastic members. There was a requirement for a minister at every one and head office even paid for some of it. Complex “how to” guides were devised and the public and third parties (no, not the Lib Dems) were invited to take part. And then local parties began spontaneously holding their own smaller events – ”partnership in power” seemed infectious and all seemed to be going well. It might not have been perfect, but our hearts were in the right place. New ideas seemed to be emerging from forums around the country.  Government ministers were queuing up to pepper their speeches with examples of new policies that they had adopted from local policy forums. (more…)

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We’ve had dissent and discipline, it’s time for debate and dialogue

05/11/2010, 03:00:08 PM

by Jessica Asato

This week I did something 99.9% of the population didn’t. I took part in a Labour party branch discussion about reform of partnership in power (PiP) – the party’s policy-making process introduced in 1997.

Liam Byrne has been put in charge of leading the review process which will conclude in June next year and changes to policy arrangements will be agreed by party conference. As Pat McFadden states at the start of the consultation document, “now, in opposition, the time is right to have a fundamental review of our policy making process”. Actually, I don’t quite agree with that. We should have reviewed and improved policy making when we knew the top of the party was failing to communicate with the membership and nipped it in the bud. If your footsoldiers are unhappy about the direction of the top brass they will be less willing to do their best in the fight on the ground.

In fact, a number of things about the document don’t quite make the grade. It states “Partnership in Power has in most people’s eyes been considered a success”. What, seriously? No one at my branch meeting seemed to think it had. Even its assertion that PiP helped to “deliver election winning manifestos in 2001 and 2005” is pushing it a bit far when a) most of the new policy in those manifestos were formulated in the Downing St policy unit and b) PiP also helped to procure an election losing manifesto in 2010. (more…)

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