All members of the Green Party want the party to be are as effective as possible. That means being transparent and accountable to each other; ensuring that everyone is able to contribute; and building structures and decision making processes that support this rather than present obstacles.

The Holistic Review Commission has a big task. We have been given a very broad remit and a very short timescale in which to report (to the Autumn Conference this year).

We also know that there has been a lot of discussion around organisational and structural issues and that this kind of inward contemplation can be a real switch-off.

So as part of the first phase of our work, a small group of Commissioners is leading on the consulting with grassroots members (although all the members of the Commission are doing some of the interviews in order to ensure that each of us hears directly from some members) from right across the party. This includes active members, less active members, lapsed members, elected councillors, chairs of local parties, Young Greens, Greens from liberation groups – in order to find out what members think are the key issues.

We are not presenting interviewees with a detailed list of questions or telling them what we think the issues are. We are asking a few, open-ended questions to establish the key themes and concerns that need to frame our work. Questions like:

  • How can we be as transparent and accountable as possible
  • What do you particularly like about our structures/organisation
  • What do you think are the biggest obstacles to effectiveness
  • And if there were one thing you could change, what would it be?

How you can get involved

These interviews are on-going, feeding into a collected list of themes and concerns in time for the March Conference. There we will seek more input through a  fringe event and a stall where you can ask us questions and chip into this first phase of consultation. If you are attending Conference do please come and talk to us and to tell us what you think is most important.

If you can’t be at conference (and we know that accessibility of conference in terms of cost, location and other factors is a concern) then you can also write to us at or fill in the contact form here.

We actively want to hear from you. We want to make sure that when we report back in the autumn we will be reporting on the stuff that matters to you!

Categories: Updates


Fay Belham · February 24, 2018 at 2:46 pm

As a relatively new member I have found it hard to navigate the system and apart from local party facebook I would have no idea what is happening locally. The first year I joined and added my husband to the membership – all the emails automatically were addressed to him even though I was the active member. As a result of this I did not renew jointly but just myself and have not had any emails from the Party at all! I am surprised by this as I thought diversity was embraced. Today was the first time I managed to attend a proper meeting and learnt about this review. I have a disability which means I am unable to attend evening meetings and as a result am unable to contribute to the local group. I would love to be more involved but it is difficult. I learnt a lot more about the policies etc.. today and I am glad that the environment is being put back in the fore as this is the reason I joined the Green Party. Please do not lose your Greenness as that is what differentiates you from all the other parties.

Earl Bramley-Howard · March 31, 2018 at 11:46 am

Discussion and Voting App suggestion – from the grassroots, for the grassroots.

I think the GPEW ought to get in touch with the Hedera Hashgraph Foundation and look into developing a distributed ledger voting platform for GPEW members-only to access and use for discussing, prioritising and then voting on issues – as would happen at Conference or local party meetings – but in this case it would be open to all members via an App on their smart phone or PC.

The Hedera Foundation are asking activists all over the world to reach out to them – and they have grant money available to this end. The GPEW needs to be pro-active and at the forefront of this new technology because of its potential to extend democracy to all members – if we don’t some other party *will*.

By giving every member the chance to discuss and vote on policies via a secure and cheap ‘App’, we have an opportunity to be the first truly democratic party in this country. I have been designing such an App, for some time already and I’d be happy to share the ideas I’ve developed so far. This technology makes it possible at last and very cheap compared to regular websites and voting software!

A distributed ledger platform, running on Hashgraph software, needs no central ‘server’ like normal websites and Apps do… this is new technology which enables an App to run on thousands of smart phones instead of a central server – and at the same time, to be Data Protection Act secure, with anonymous voting and members-only having access.

This is an opportunity for real radical reform of policy-making and for open and transparent democratisation of the party’s policies at all levels from local parties to Conference voting, using a 100% anonymous & secure voting system, coupled to discussion & prioritisation software.

If 2000 people turn up to Conference, maybe half of them will be at any specific vote (at most), and if it is a split decision, then possibly only 501 people will vote something through (that’s 25% of those at Conference and only 1.25% of the entire membership).

But if 40,000 members have access to the voting platform and only 25% of them participate in any particular vote, then the decisions taken will clearly be of an order of magnitude more representative of the members’ wishes, than we currently have – and at the local level this would democratise local parties and make participation in the decision-making processes both easier and (probably) more enjoyable.

Nicole Haydock · April 9, 2018 at 4:52 pm


ermalink Submitted by Earl Bramley Howard on Sat, 31/03/2018 – 14:35

By the way – reading through comments one comes across the same objections to an online voting system, time and again. Those who object suggest that it would somehow be unfair on people who don’t have phones or PCs. But clearly those people will still be able to go to local party meetings and to Conferences in order to vote.

It wouldn’t disempower them at all – it would only ’empower’ the tens of thousands of phone/PC-using members who cannot get to Conference or attend local party meetings.

An App can be designed to allow members to discuss the policy proposals in the App forums, for months before Conference. Prioritisation can happen this way too (as it sort of happens anyway). Members will be able to ‘vote’ (or change their vote) at any time up until Conference has voted – and their vote will not be made ‘public’ until the Conference vote has happened, so as to not sway people at Conference with argumentum ad numerum.

Then at Conference the online discussions can be summarised and discussed some more, and then the vote can go ahead as usual, with plenaries ‘streamed’ through the App as well, so that if members are persuaded by last-minute arguments, they will be able to change their vote right up to the time Conference votes.

Finally the vote happens at Conference (or at the local party meeeting) and only then the App votes are made public and added to the Conference votes (with checks and balances to ensure members at Conference don’t vote twice).

Hashgraph makes all this possible cheaply and without the need for massive servers.

I think it would be a simple matter to ammend our Terms to make it clear that, in order to participate this way, it is the members’ responsibility to ensure their contact details are up to date and correct.

reply flag as inappropriate

Sounds worth exploring
Permalink Submitted by Ian Sadler 1 on Sat, 31/03/2018 – 16:08

It covers most of the territory I would like to see covered, so worth exploring.

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Earl Bramley Howard’s picture
Job for the CEO
Permalink Submitted by Earl Bramley Howard on Sat, 31/03/2018 – 17:12

It certainly is worth exploring – and I would be prepared to do so myself, except that I could only do so as a ‘developer’ with an App design which I’d like to use Hashgraph tech, not as a GPEW representative.

It would be better (for the party) if the GPEW did so in an official capacity – demonstrating the party’s commitment to a fair voting system, and bottom-up democracy – and then developed its own App with its own ‘rights’ (develop the App from the bottom up, so the GPEW owns the code copyright).

I think this would be a job for the CEO or someone like that to contact Hedera – to explore the possibilities of the technology and look into development costs, and any on-going running costs. Then let members weigh up if it is desirable, affordable and do-able.

If acceptable to members, then a crowdfunder to cover the development costs, might be the way to go from there (we raised £250,000 in a few weeks before th 2017 elections), with any on-going costs covered by capitations, so that local parties have a version for their own use, which is ‘viewable’ by all national members (transparency), but on which only members of the local party can comment and vote.

The local and national membership lists could be the ‘key’ to getting access, & so members would need to be up-to-date with membership to be eligible for a vote or to use the App.

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Change is needed
Permalink Submitted by Olivia Palmer on Fri, 30/03/2018 – 20:41

I completely agree that we need to make sure the voting system is fair. Currently a minority of members can steamroll policies through. These are not necessarily the same people keeping our party afloat at a local level. Having jobs, children or other responsibilities can prevent many people from attending. Not to mention those of us that are too darn intimidated to go by those who put identity politics above the environment.

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Alan Borgars’s picture
Online voting will certainly
Permalink Submitted by Alan Borgars on Tue, 03/04/2018 – 18:15

Online voting will certainly help with this, although perhaps we can also change the way we decide policy by requiring that motions be submitted by working groups or local/regional parties rather than groups of individual members, which was suggested by an acquaintance of mine back when I studied in Islington.

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Earl Bramley Howard’s picture
we use this website…
Permalink Submitted by Earl Bramley Howard on Tue, 03/04/2018 – 19:05

We use this website already for discussion of proposals, and we vote online for ‘prioritisation’. A hashgraph ‘App’ could incorporate all the discussion forum features of this website, plus ways to prioritise proposals (members prioritising by democratically voting up/down for example).

I think it could change the nature of Conference a lot too, and make it more of a ‘social’ occasion with emphasis on collaboration, networking and election planning – and less about discussing policy and voting (as most members will do that online).

There has to be room for non-phone/pc users to vote, so Conference then becomes the cut-off date for online voting too – but the online vote results are only opened at Conference, and only after all those who attend to vote are afforded an opportunity to speak and vote themselves.

If Conference is ‘streamed’ live as well, then all opinions can be heard, either online or at Conference itself, before the vote result is opened and announced.

With Hashgraph it is so fast that people would be able to vote (or change their vote) right up to the last few seconds (there’s a 3 second latency when it is pushed to the limit – so if all 40,000 members voted at the last minute it would take 3 seconds to register).

Oh that we could have that many members actually participating in votes! That would be ‘Bottom-Up-Democracy” – and it could even be scaled-up to society as a whole.

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