Briefing:
Update: Annual Conference 2020

From:
Issy Oozerally
For attention of:
Published:
27th May 2020
Last updated:
1st June 2020
Printed:
29th September 2020
Other formats:
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Update on plans for an online Annual Conference 2020, in light of Covid-19 restrictions

Coronavirus has quickly changed the ways we all live and work, and has impacted on the Co-operative Party and how we operate too but we will still bring together members from across the country to discuss and debate our work and priorities. 

As previously advised we will now be holding an online only Annual Conference 2020 which will take place over the weekend of Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 October, with a series of interactive workshops taking place in lunchtime and evening slots w/c Monday 12 October. 

You may be taking part from the comfort of your own home, but we want this to be an opportunity to bring more of us together than ever before. 

Programme 

A programme including a series of keynote speakers, policy debates, panel discussions, fringe workshops and interactive Network sessions (BAME, LGBT+, (Dis)Ability, Women’s and Youth) is being drawn up.  We are consulting with web-based platforms to determine the best way to achieve this.  More information will follow. 

The deadline of 14 June remains to submit responses to the policy consultation.

Deadline for nominations for the achievement awards, is 3 July.

Do continue to hold Party Council meetings as usual by Zoom, WhatsApp (video conference calls) or WhyPay (telephone conference call) to discuss these.  If you need any help organising these or setting them up, please contact Shane Brogan at s.brogan@party.coop. 

Organisational motions can’t be debated at the on-line event so these will go directly to the NEC for consideration and action.  Please send these to Karen Wilkie, Board Secretary by Tuesday 1 September. 

Conference Arrangements Committee 

The Conference Arrangements Committee elected at Glasgow 2019 will serve for an additional year.  These are Lis Telcs – chair, Peter Smith, Stephen Powers, Theresa VaughanJean Nunn-Price (NEC representative) and Sabiha Shahzad (BAME observer) . 

Annual General Meeting 

As you know, we have postponed the AGM of Co-operative Party Ltd that was planned to take place in Birmingham in June. We will keep Party and Society Secretaries updated on the new arrangements for this, but it will take place either physically or online (dependent of government advise) in October.  Exact date tbc

Accessibility 

We will make provisions for members who are deaf to take part. 

We are also considering ways to support members who do not have access to computers to participate.  Details will follow. 

Why are we making this change now? 

We are unsure if social distancing guidelines will have been relaxed by the autumn to permit a Conference such as ours with 500+ attendees to go ahead. 

As Conference brings together members from across the UK it also poses a risk of spreading infection, and would likely exclude many people who may still be self-isolating. 

Annual Conference is also the single biggest expenditure for the Party nationally and for party councils. Many event insurance policies, including ours, will not cover the cancellation of events due to Covid-19. That means if we didn’t cancel the Conference venue until later in the year, it would not be possible for us to secure a partial refund of the costs incurred. 

By cancelling the physical element of Conference now, we are able to reduce the financial loss that the Party will incur. Importantly though it gives us time to focus on developing a new type of Conference, that will be accessible to more people and ensure everyone can take part safely. 

If the guidelines are relaxed by October, we hope to be able to organise local events that bring together members in smaller groups to take part in the Conference. We’ll also be looking for your ideas on the type of conference you would like to see. 

For more information

s.brogan@party.coop

Shane Brogan

Membership Manager