We’ve had a number of comments from members saying that the report lacks cost information; can we pay for the proposals? So here we’re sharing some of our thinking around that.
What are the costs that could arise?
There are long term, short term and one off costs that arise from our proposals. Some are ‘new’ costs and others replace existing ones.
The cost of holding conference in a way that includes members who can’t be at conference in person
Members were very clear with us: they feel that Conference is not accessible enough to many members who cannot afford the time or money to come. There is a sense that in the 21stcentury the technology exists to overcome this issue and that we should try to do this. It is a matter of inclusion; but it is also a matter of demonstrating that decision-making and joint working does not require travelling and spending long periods of time in conference centres and hotels with the attendant implications for CO2 emissions.
We also think that it would make a very powerful political statement if the GPEW embraced 21stcentury technology to make decisions rather than following the example of other parties for the style of conferences. It could put us on the map in a very important – and new – way.
Some of this technology is still very expensive (and not always reliable). So we don’t think that we can prescribe how we should use that technology exactly. And therefore it is impossible to say what it might cost. What we are saying is this: let us pilot test different approaches; let’s see how they work for inclusion and democratic processes; let’s see what they cost. We are proposing that Spring Conferences should be used for this pilot testing.
Each time we test a particular approach we need to think about the specific costs of that and whether that’s affordable at that time. We may need to fundraise specifically for these initiatives. We believe that there are sources of funds for this purpose out there, which we can tap into.
We think we need to work on this because it is the right thing to do.
The cost of the new structure
We hear from some members that they are concerned about the Council with 45 members. Some think it’s too big a group to make decisions. But that’s another discussion for another blog. Here, we’re responding to the ‘it is too expensive’ voices.
The current governance structure also has costs attached to it. At the moment we have
- GPRC with 20 members meeting at least 4 times a year
- GPEx with up to 22 people attending and meeting every 6 weeks (though some of those meetings are by phone conference)
- Conference Committee with more than 6 members
- Policy Development Committee with up to 10 members
- Campaigns Committee with 5 members
- Equalities and Diversity Committee with at least 5 members
- International Committee with 5 members
- Green World Editorial Board with a minimum of 8 members
The total cost of meetings of all of these bodies is likely to exceed the cost of 4 meetings of the Council.
The cost of meetings of the Management Board will be limited because of its small size; and the cost of meetings of the Political Executive will be limited because of the practical need for most meetings to be online/by phone.
There will be task and finish groups. And they will have to meet from time to time. But they won’t meet four times a year every year. The Holistic Review Commission (a demonstration case of a task and finish group) undertook the bulk of its work online and by phone. We have demonstrated that not only is it possible, it can be highly effective. So the structure should generate cost savings.
The Payment to the Leader of the Green Party in Wales and the Appointment of a dedicated Clerk to the governance bodies
We are proposing that the Leader of the Green Party in Wales should be paid. We have heard from members that the role is very onerous and very important (we agree with this). In order for that post-holder to be enabled to fulfil that role fully this is necessary.
We have also been told clearly that the governance bodies need dedicated staff support so that they can be as efficient and effective as possible.
Both of these costs are on-going but in our view fully justified.
The Costs of the referendum
The referendum was agreed at conference in Autumn 2017; we are proposing what should be put to that referendum but our remit did not include making proposals about not having one.
The referendum will be online. The majority of the members are on the Internet and will receive the information about the referendum and their voting papers (as it were) electronically. That carries minimal costs.
There are some members who do not have access to the Internet and some who have indicated that they do not wish to receive emails. We do not know what proportion of the membership that is but it is likely to be small. They will have to have the information and the voting papers sent by post and that will cost money. But it is an unavoidable cost if we want all members to be able to participate in this decision.
And it is a one-off cost.
The cost of legal work to produce the governance documents
Conference has already decided to commission a lawyer to produce the documents necessary to establish the limited liability structure. The Holistic Review Commission is proposing to build on this and to have the same lawyer draw up the governance documents that enshrine our proposals if agreed so that the sit well with the limited liability structures.
This will be a cost, but an unavoidable one-off cost.