Statement from the Socialist Alliance National Executive

October 31, 2002 We know that members may be frustrated that the statement issued by the national executive did not go into the details of the matters that seem to have led to Liz Davies resigning. Liz's concerns related to problems with a breach of agreed procedures relating to authorising expenditure and use of the Socialist Alliance cheque book. There was no question of individual or organisational financial gain being involved. All monies spent were for legitimate and proper SA activities. All EC members including Liz have agreed on this from the start. The national executive has acted decisively and promptly to rectify these problems which it regards as serious and is putting in place a whole range of measures to ensure the better functioning of our very limited and over-stretched administrative apparatus. The passed resolutions are at the end of this statement. A difficulty we faced was that Liz resigned at the executive meeting on Sunday 13 October before any resolutions had been voted on. Having resigned Liz left the meeting. During the meeting one other member of the executive submitted their resignation but stayed (one other, who had not been at the meeting, also resigned on the Monday). After Liz had left, the meeting came to a halt as we felt unable to pass any further resolution on the matter without Liz being part of the process. We then began a discussion about what to do next but ran out of time so we carried the discussion on the phone over the next week to try and get Liz back into the process. In the light of the events the national executive was recalled for 19 October. At this meeting, two of the members of the executive who had resigned attended this meeting, voted on the resolutions passed (these are at the end of this statement) and subsequently withdrew their resignations. It was unfortunate that Liz did not attend this meeting since the substance of her resolution to the previous executive was in fact passed. Liz has also raised issues concerning accountability. Here the facts are disputed in a number of ways. Questions regarding these issues were referred to a small sub-committee of comrades who were not involved in any of the events that led to Liz's resignation. These comrades will report to the November national executive in an attempt to clarify these issues. It has spoken to all of those who feel they are involved in the situation - including Liz. In this context it would be prejudicial to all sides to comment further on these matters at this stage. This is why the first statement did not go into any detail. We are trying to get the facts straight first, to be fair to all involved, to move as quickly as possible and we ask for your understanding in this matter. It has been extremely difficult and has taken more time than we would have liked. A report will be made to the next executive and further steps taken, including a report to the national council in December. Resolution unanimously passed at emergency Socialist Alliance executive committee meeting October 19, 2002 The following measures will ensure that the office functions in a way to prevent any further problems arising. It is agreed that the office worker has: a) A job description finally agreed by the executive (but perhaps drawn up by the suggestion sub committee as in the motion from Liz, Lesley, Steve and Tess) that covers a balanced range of tasks (we suggest 50% campaign work and 50% everything else) but including: 1. Key administrative processes with finance, legal requirements and electoral commission work as priorities. 2. Campaign work. 3. Infrastructure building - developing the office systems. 4. Volunteer recruitment and retention to help with all aspects of office work 5. Maintaining and encouraging regular communication with and between all exec members. 6. A weekly office meeting with agreed SA officers to plan upcoming work and discuss resource implications and the need for signed cheques that are issued only after written or e-mail authorisation by the treasurer. 7. Within the executive a small secretariat or officers group able to meet frequently should be established for day-to-day business. It should keep minutes of its decisions and be accountable for them to the executive. b) An employment contract - drawn up by the sub committee and agree by the national executive. In the employment contract the person will be paid by cheque on the 15th of each month for that month. The contract should include disciplinary and grievance procedures. c) A schedule of agreed tasks that the office implements to ensure the proper functioning of the SA including: 1. Immediate typing up (Monday am) and distribution of the minutes of both ECs and NCs to all relevant parties. 2. A focus on chasing up action points agreed as prioritised at the Exec or NC and those who have agreed to undertake the activities. 3. A post EC/NC information e-mail to all those on the SA email list (now over 600) with a regular request that these are printed off and taken to and distributed at monthly SA meetings and the placing of this information e-mail on the SA Web site for that month and other information e-mails as seen necessary. Further: We ask that the temporary sub-committee appointed on 13 October [Mandy Baker, Tess McMahon, Will McMahon] to address issues of procedure and accountability to continue its work and report in detail to the November EC. We ask it to develop recommendations to implement along the following guidelines: a) All important decisions should be made in writing by identifiable committees or officers which can be held accountable for them. b) All important decisions should be fully minuted and promptly communicated to the membership. c) Within the executive, a smaller secretariat or officers' group, able to meet frequently, should be established for day-to-day business. It should keep minutes of its decisions and be accountable for them to the executive. d) Employees of the alliance should work under the direction of named officers, normally the secretary, who will be politically accountable for those employees' work. We also ask for recommendations on ensuring that the following clauses of our constitution as passed at our annual conference on December 1, 2001 are followed: Points 8 and 9 of Charter of Members' Rights 8. The Socialist Alliance must be a model of civilized democracy in contrast to the control-freakery of New Labour. We need efficient decision-making on the alliance's responses to political events; transparency and accountability in decision-making; maximum discussion before all important decisions; decision by consensus wherever possible; and autonomy for groups within the alliance. 9. All important decisions should be taken through written resolutions of appropriate conferences or committees. All decision-making bodies of the alliance must keep minutes of their proceedings which include the text of all proposals adopted, defeated or remitted and details of those votes. These minutes must be circulated promptly to all Socialist Alliance members who request them, either free by e-mail or, on payment of an extra subscription sufficient to cover costs, by ordinary mail.