Party Constitution

2013 Labour Party Constitution

ARTICLE 1: NAME AND PRINCIPLES AND OBJECTS

1. The name of the Party is The Labour Party. The Principles and Objects of the Party are set out in Part 1 and form an integral part of this Constitution.
2. The Party is a constituent member of the Party of European Socialists (PES) and is affiliated to the Socialist International (IS). The Party adheres to a common political philosophy and set of values with its sister parties and, in particular, it co-ordinates its activities with other members of the PES, in order to realise the Principles and Objectives of the Party at European Union level.

ARTICLE 2: MEMBERSHIP

  1. Irrespective of nationality, citizenship or of place of residence, any person who –h
    1. as reached the age of 15,
    2. subscribes to the Party’s Principles and Objects and accepts this Constitution,
    3. is not a member of another political party, and is not a member of, or associated with, any organisation, publication or institution the objects or activities of which are declared by the Executive Board of the Party to be injurious to the interests of the Party or inconsistent with its Principles and Objects,

    is eligible for Party membership.

    Members outside the State

  2. A Party member living outside the State may also be a member of a political party belonging to the PES or the IS, organised in the country in which the member is resident. Similarly, a member living within the State may also be a member of a party belonging to the PES or the IS, organised in a country with which, in the opinion of the General Secretary, that member has a bona fide connection.

  3. Party members who move to live outside the State may retain membership of their original branch or join another branch, with the consent of that other branch, or be registered as individual Party members.

  4. The Executive Board may convene meetings of Party members living in an area outside the State. It may also establish support groups of such members, with power to hold meetings and elect officers and to elect delegates to the Party Conference on the same basis as applies to branches under Article 9, section 3. The principal function of a support group shall be to support the activities of the Party within the State. It shall not put forward candidates to contest elections in the jurisdiction in which it is based and it shall support in such elections only the candidates of parties belonging to the PES or the IS.

  5. Save as provided by section 2 to 5, the Party shall not establish or maintain branches or organise itself politically outside the State.

    Classes of Party Membership

  6. Persons may apply for and become individual, constituency or branch members of the Party. Branch members enjoy all the rights conferred on members by this Constitution. The rights of individual and constituency members are set out in sections 7 and 8 Individual and constituency members are not entitled to the rights reserved exclusively to branch members and may not, save as provided for in this Article, be elected to, or serve in, any other office or position provided for in this Constitution.

  7. An individual member is a person who is registered by Head Office as a Party member but who is not registered as a member of a branch or a constituency. An individual member may, subject to compliance with this Constitution –

    1. participate as a member of any Party Member Section and be nominated by the Section as a delegate to the Party Conference,
    2. be appointed as a member of the Central Council of the Party by a Section in which the member participates,
    3. be nominated by a Section in which the member participates to stand for election at the Party Conference to membership of the Executive Board or to any Party Office elected by the Conference,
    4. participate as an invited member in any committee or informal group involved in the review, development or formulation of Party policy, receive published Party policy documents and be kept generally informed on matters of Party policy and of administrative and organisational affairs,
    5. vote at elections for Party Leader and Deputy Party Leader, and
    6. if under the age of 27 and a registered student in a post-secondary educational institute where a college branch (within the meaning of Article 4.3) is established, be registered as an individual Party member affiliated to that college branch (hereafter referred to as “an affiliated individual member” in respect of the college branch concerned).

     

  8. constituency member is a person who registered by Head Office as a Party member at Dáil constituency level but who is not registered as a branch member. A constituency member may, subject to compliance with this Constitution –

    1. participate as a member of the relevant Constituency Council,
    2. participate as a member of selection conventions for Dáil elections in the constituency and for European elections where the Dáil constituency is within the European constituency (but not for local elections),
    3. together with other constituency members in a constituency, elect delegates to a Party Conference, the number of delegates they are entitled to appoint being the same as if those constituency members constituted a single and separate branch for the purposes of Article 9, section 3 (a), and provided that the number of such constituency members in a given constituency is not less than the minimum number of members required to form a branch in that constituency.
    4. participate as a member of any Party Member Section and be nominated by a Section as a delegate to the Party Conference,
    5. be appointed as a member of the Central Council of the Party by a Section in which the member participates,
    6. be nominated by a Section in which the member participates to stand for election at the Party Conference to membership of the Executive Board or to any Party Office elected by the Conference,
    7. participate as an invited member in any committee or informal group involved in the review, development or formulation of Party policy, receive published Party policy documents and be kept generally informed on matters of Party policy and of administrative and organisational affairs, and
    8. vote at elections for Party Leader and Deputy Party Leader.

    Applications for Membership

  9. Applications for membership may be made to Head Office or to the Constituency Council or branch within whose functional area the applicant resides. Every applicant for membership shall be deemed to accept this Constitution, including the Party’s Principles and Objects, and to undertake to support the Party’s candidates at elections.

  10. Where an application for membership is made to Head Office, the General Secretary may, with the applicant’s agreement –

    1. admit and register the applicant as an individual member, without assigning the applicant to a branch;
    2. assign the applicant to, and register the applicant as a member of, the constituency or branch within whose functional area the applicant resides; or
    3. assign the applicant to, and register him or her as a member of, another constituency or branch with which, in the opinion of the General Secretary, the applicant has a bona fide connection.
  11. Where an application for membership is made to a constituency or branch, it may admit the applicant to constituency or branch membership, as appropriate, only if the applicant resides within the functional area of the constituency or branch or he or she otherwise has, in the opinion of the General Secretary, a bona fide connection with that constituency or branch.

    Register of Party Members and Paid Up Status

  12. The names of persons admitted to membership by Head Office or by a constituency or branch shall be entered on a register of members (“the register”) maintained at Head Office, on receipt of their name, address and annual membership fee, and shall, on the date on which they are entered on the register, become and be members of the Party. A person who has been so admitted to membership is a member for the remainder of that calendar year and thereafter continues to be a member unless his or her membership ceases in accordance with this Constitution. In this Constitution, “member” means a person registered in the register as a member, who has not ceased to be a member in accordance with the Constitution.
  13. Constituency and branch members must pay an annual membership fee to their constituency or branch, as appropriate, (which constituency or branch shall forthwith notify Head Office) or to Head Office on behalf of the constituency or branch concerned. Individual members must pay an annual membership fee to Head Office. On payment of the fee together with any previous annual membership fees due by the person since the date on which he or she first became a member, Head Office shall record in the register that the person is a paid-up member for the calendar year in which the fee is paid.

  14. At selection conventions held under Article 15, those entitled to vote shall be members of a class (constituency member or branch member) eligible to vote at the selection convention in question, whose membership has been registered at least 6 months prior to the date of the selection convention and who were registered as paid-up members at least by the date on which the selection convention is convened by the General Secretary

  15. At an election for the Party Leader or Deputy Leader under Article 12, those entitled to vote shall be members whose membership has been registered on the register for at least 18 months prior to the date of the close of nominations and who were registered as paid up members at least 21 days prior to the election day.

    Life Membership

  16. A person who has been a member of the Party for 30 years and who is deemed by the Executive Board to be in good standing with the Party, is entitled to apply for life membership. A life member is entitled to all the rights and privileges of membership thereafter for life, unless his or her membership ceases in accordance with this Constitution. The Executive Board shall decide on any application for life membership at its own discretion and its decision as to the current eligibility of any candidate shall be final. The Executive Board may waive the membership fee and any other levy in respect of a life member.

    General

  17. If a member’s annual membership fees have been unpaid for 2 consecutive years, the member shall be deemed to have resigned from the Party.

  18. Branch members may transfer their membership to another branch, with the consent of that other branch. Subject to receipt of that consent, Head Office shall re-register that member accordingly.

  19. A person whom the Executive Board has decided is ineligible for Party membership shall not be admitted to individual, constituency or branch membership of the Party.

  20. A member whose membership is paid up as of 31 December in any year shall be deemed to be a paid up
    member until 31 March of the following year.

ARTICLE 3: GROUP MEMBERSHIP

  1. Trade unions, sections or divisions of unions that are not themselves group members, professional associations, co-operative societies and other organisations which subscribe to the Party’s Principles and Objects and accept this Constitution are eligible for group membership of the Party.
  2. Applications for group membership shall be made to the Executive Board. Every applicant for group membership shall make, through a duly authorised officer, a declaration that the group subscribes to the Party’s Principles and Objects and accepts this Constitution.
  3. Group members shall pay an annual group membership fee. A group member which has not paid its annual group membership fee by the date in each year fixed for the purpose shall have no standing in the Party for the remainder of that year and may not be represented at any Party Conference or other meeting to which it would otherwise be entitled to send delegates. A group member that is 2 years in arrears of payment shall be deemed to have resigned from the Party.
  4. The Executive Board may refuse to admit any applicant for group membership, and may cancel the group membership of any organisation, where it considers that –
    1. the organisation is not, or is no longer, eligible for group membership, or
    2. the objects or activities of that organisation are injurious to the interests of the Party or inconsistent with its Principles and Objects.
  5. A group member may appeal to the Party Conference against a decision to cancel its membership under this Article. The appeal shall be made in the manner specified by the Standing Orders Committee and the decision of the Party Conference on any such appeal shall be final.

ARTICLE 4: BRANCHES

  1. A branch may be formed in any area or any post-secondary educational institute with the approval of the Organisation Committee, after consultation with the relevant Constituency Council. Branch rules may provide for an annual payment to be made by members into branch funds.
  2. Every branch shall, after approval has been given to its formation, be registered by Head Office. A branch, in order to remain so registered, shall at all times comply with the conditions of branch registration set out in sections 3 to 8.
  3. A branch in an urban area shall consist of at least 10 members and in a rural area shall consist of at least 5 members. The Organisation Committee shall have power to determine whether an area is urban or rural. A college branch shall consist of at least 5 branch members who are registered students at the post-secondary institute in which the branch is established.
  4. Branches shall maintain an effective organisation within their areas and shall support Party candidates at elections. They shall hold an annual general meeting for the purpose of considering the state of Party organisation in their functional areas, electing branch officers and, if required, committee members and any other relevant matters.
  5. Branches shall, in addition to an annual general meeting, hold a minimum of 3 other meetings during each calendar year. A meeting of a Divisional Council to which a branch is affiliated shall be deemed to be a branch meeting for the purposes of this section.
  6. Branches shall affiliate to the relevant Constituency Council and, where established, Divisional Council. Branches shall pay the prescribed annual affiliation fee and any other prescribed levy to the Constituency Council. Each branch must also contribute to the Constituency Council, as a minimum, the amount fixed in each year by the Constituency Council under Article 5, section 2 as that branch’s share of the overall contribution to be made by that constituency to the National Election Fund.
  7. Branches shall comply with the General Rules for Branches and Constituency, Divisional and Regional Councils set out in Article 7.
  8. The records of branches shall be available for inspection at all reasonable times by the relevant Constituency Council. Each Constituency Council shall monitor compliance by its affiliated branches with the conditions of branch registration.
  9. If a branch is not in compliance with the conditions of branch registration, the Organisation Committee may suspend the branch from the register of branches. A branch which has been suspended from the register shall have no standing in the Party and, so long as the branch remains suspended –
    1. the branch shall not be entitled to submit nominations, motions or amendments, or to send delegates, to a Party Conference, and
    2. the members of that branch shall not be entitled to attend meetings of a Constituency, Regional or Divisional Council.
  10. If the Organisation Committee is satisfied that a branch suspended from the register is complying with the conditions of branch registration, it shall immediately cancel the suspension of that branch.
  11. A branch that has been suspended from the register by the Organisation Committee may appeal against that decision to the Executive Board.
  12. If a branch has been suspended from the register for 2 years, the branch shall be deemed to have been dissolved.
  13. A member of a branch which has been dissolved, or is deemed to have been dissolved may, within 3 months from the day of dissolution, transfer to, and be registered by Head Office as a member of, another branch (with the consent of that other branch). In default of such a transfer by that date, that member shall be deemed to have become an individual Party member.

ARTICLE 5: CONSTITUENCY and divisional COUNCILS

  1. A Constituency Council shall be formed in every Dáil constituency. Constituency Councils shall hold not less than 4 meetings in each year. Each Constituency Council shall ensure an effective branch structure in its area and shall advise the Executive Board on measures taken to achieve this objective.
  2. The Executive Board shall decide in each year, after consultation with Constituency Councils, the minimum sum that must be contributed by each constituency to the National Election Fund, which sum must be paid by the constituency on or before the date fixed for the purpose by the Executive Board. A Constituency Council shall decide how this contribution is to be raised and may allocate some or all of this responsibility to its affiliated branches, according to their relative strengths.
  3. The Organisation Committee may, on its own initiative or pursuant to a proposal from a Constituency Council, and with the approval of the Executive Board, establish a Divisional Council, covering a local electoral area or areas within a constituency. Where a Divisional Council is established, each branch within its functional area shall be affiliated to it. The functions of a Divisional Council shall be –
    1. to co-ordinate Party activity across its functional area,
    2. to co-ordinate a focused approach on local issues,
    3. to provide a forum for Councillors and members,
    4. to assist branches retain and recruit new members,
    5. and such other functions as the Executive Board may decide.
    4. The membership of a Constituency or Divisional Council shall consist of all members of the branches affiliated to that Council and the constituency members for the constituency or constituencies concerned.

article 6: regional councils

  1. The Executive Board shall establish a system of Regional Councils throughout the State, each covering 2 or more Dáil constituencies.
  2. The membership of a Regional Council shall consist of all members of the branches and constituencies within its functional area and all members of the relevant regional divisions of Party Sections.
  3. The function of a Regional Council shall be –
    1. to act as a local forum for policy debate within the Party and to forward the results of that debate to the Central Council, in a timely and organised manner,
    2. to co-ordinate the work of local public representatives,
    3. to co-ordinate Party campaigns in the area,
    4. to plan regional logistics for elections, and
    5. such other functions as the Executive Board may decide.

ARTICLE 7: GENERAL RULES FOR BRANCHES AND CONSTITUENCY, DIVISIONAL AND REGIONAL COUNCILS

  1. Each branch and Constituency, Divisional and Regional Council and its proceedings shall be governed by rules and standing orders drawn up for the purpose by the Executive Board. With the approval of the Executive Board, a branch or Council may amend its rules and standing orders to meet local needs and conditions. The Executive Board shall not approve an amendment containing anything inconsistent with this Constitution.
  2. The rules of branches and of Constituency Councils shall make provision for the annual election of a chairperson, treasurer, secretary and women’s officer, with the following functions:
    the chairperson shall preside over meetings, authenticate by signature the minutes of meetings and exercise a general supervision over the affairs of the branch or Council;
    the secretary shall write minutes of the proceedings of meetings, maintain a record of attendance at meetings and a register of members and shall be responsible for records and correspondence generally;
    the treasurer shall keep all appropriate accounts and financial books and records; and
    the Women’s officer shall keep in contact with Labour Women, attend Labour Women’s council meetings, conferences and other events, report to every meeting on the activities of Labour Women and encourage and support women members, in particular new women members, of the branch or council.
  3. (a) The rules of branches and Constituency Councils shall provide that a branch or constituency may also elect a vice-chairperson, a constituency organiser in the case of a constituency, an equality officer, a youth organiser and a public relations officer (prescribing the powers and duties of those offices) and of a branch committee or Council Executive. More than one of these offices may be held by the same person.
    (b) The vice-chairperson shall assist the chairperson in the performance of his or her functions and, in the absence of the chairperson, shall perform the functions of the chairperson at a meeting of a branch or Council.
    The constituency organiser shall be responsible for the development of the Party in the constituency and for assisting the conduct of election and referendum campaigns in the constituency
  4. The rules of Divisional and Regional Councils shall make provision for the convening and orderly chairing and conduct of meetings.
  5. Branches and Constituency, Divisional and Regional Councils may be amalgamated, divided, dissolved or suspended by the Organisation Committee. A branch or Constituency, Divisional or Regional Council may appeal to the Executive Board against a decision under this section.
  6. Upon the dissolution of a branch or Council, all monies, documents and property belonging to it shall vest in the Executive Board and may be disposed of by it at its discretion. The records of branches and Constituency, Divisional and Regional Councils shall be available for inspection at all reasonable times by the Executive Board, or by its nominee, and shall be forwarded to it for inspection if so requested. Branches and Councils shall maintain and retain records to demonstrate their existence as functioning units of the Party, including in particular records of meetings held during the previous and current calendar year, and shall carry out all duties imposed on them as accounting units under the Electoral Acts.
  7. The Executive Board may direct that a meeting of a branch or a Constituency, Divisional or Regional Council take place at such place and time as it directs, and may direct the postponement or adjournment of any such meeting, or any other meeting of a branch or Council, to a time and place fixed by it.
  8. Members of the Executive Board may attend and speak at any meeting of a branch or a Constituency, Divisional or Regional Council, or of a committee or Executive thereof. The General Secretary may, in accordance with such procedures as may be decided by the Executive Board, confer on any other person the right to attend and speak at any such meeting.
  9. Branches and Constituency Councils shall pay an annual affiliation fee to Head Office. A branch or Council which has not sent its affiliation fee and the names and addresses of its serving branch or Council officers, by the date fixed for the purpose by the General Secretary in a particular year, shall have no standing in the Party for the rest of that year and –
    1. in the case of default by a branch, the members of that branch shall not be entitled to attend meetings of a Constituency, Regional or Divisional Council, and
    2. in the case of default by a branch or a Council, that branch or Council shall not be entitled to submit nominations, motions or amendments to a Party Conference or to send delegates to that Conference.
    A branch or Council which is 2 years in arrears of payment of its affiliation fee shall be deemed to be dissolved.

ARTICLE 8: PARTY SECTIONS

  1. The following shall be recognised as Party Sections:


Public Representative Sections

  1. the Parliamentary Party comprises all Party members who are members of Dáil Éireann, Seanad Éireann or the European Parliament and who comply with the rules and standing orders of the Parliamentary Party,
  2. the Association of Labour Councillors comprises all Party members who are members of a local authority and are members in good standing of the Labour Party group, where established, on that local authority,

    Party Member Sections
  3. Labour Youth comprises Party members under the age of 30 years who opt to participate in the section,
  4. Labour Women comprises all party members who are women and other members who opt to participate in the section,
  5. Labour Trade Unionists comprises all party members who are members of trade unions and who opt to participate in the section,
  6. Labour Equality comprises all party members who opt to participate in the section and who share a commitment –
  1. to promoting equality of respect, status and opportunity for all persons, so as to enable their individual and full participation in the social, economic and cultural life of the nation, regardless of considerations such as marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, colour, nationality or national or ethnic origins, including membership of the Traveller Community, and
  2. to dismantling invidious discrimination against persons by reference to such considerations.

2. Each Party Section may make and amend its own constitution or rules and standing orders, which shall not contain anything inconsistent with this Constitution, and which may include provision for the expulsion or suspension of members from the Section in the event of breach of that constitution or those rules or standing orders. Where any Party Section, other than the Parliamentary Party, adopts a proposal to amend its constitution or rules or standing orders, it shall submit a draft of the proposed amendment to the Executive Board and the proposed amendment shall come into operation immediately after the next following meeting of the Executive Board unless at that meeting the Executive Board decides that the proposed amendment is inconsistent with this Constitution.

ARTICLE 9: THE PARTY CONFERENCE

  1. Control of the policy, organisation and affairs of the Party is vested in and exercisable by the Party Conference; its particular function is to debate, set the general direction of and formally adopt the policy of the Party. Every Party member shall abide by the decisions of the Party Conference.
  2. (a) An Annual Conference shall be held once in every calendar year, at a time and place decided by the Executive Board. In a case where unforeseen circumstances arise, the Executive Board may decide to postpone an Annual Conference, to a date that is not later than the end of April in a following year; in such a case, the postponed Conference shall count as an Annual Conference for the year in which it is held.
    (b) A Special Party Conference may be summoned at any time by the Executive Board, to consider only those proposals that are submitted to it by the Executive Board.
  3. The Party Conference consists of –
    (a) delegates elected by branches, in accordance with the following scale of branch membership (and, in the case of college branches, affiliated individual membership):

    membership not exceeding 10:2 delegates; and
    for every 5 additional members:1 delegate; and
    for every 10 affiliated individual members1 delegate;

    (b) delegates elected by constituency members in accordance with the terms of Article 2, section 8 (c);,
    (c) delegates elected by group members, in accordance with the following scale of individual members of each group member who are branch members of the Party:


    not more than 50:1 delegate for every 5; plus
    above 50 but not more than 500:1 delegate for every 10; plus
    above 500 but not more than 1,000:1 delegate for every 15; plus
    for additional Party branch members above 1,000:1 delegate for every 20;


    (d) 1 delegate elected by each Constituency Council and by each Party Section.
  4. Members of the Parliamentary Party, the Central Council and the Executive Board have the right to attend and speak at a Party Conference but may not vote unless attending as delegates.
  5. Only bodies which, in the case of branches and group members, have been registered at Head Office and, in every case, have had standing in the Party, for at least 6 months prior to the date of a Party Conference may send delegates to that Conference.
  6. To qualify as a delegate, a person shall, for not less than 2 months prior to the date of a Party Conference, have been registered as a member of the body which elected or appointed him or her as a delegate and shall be a paid up member as of the date of the delegate’s attendance at the Conference.
  7. Conference delegate fees may be fixed by the Executive Board. The names and addresses of delegates, such other information as the Executive Board may prescribe and their delegate fees shall be transmitted to Head Office not later than the date fixed by the Executive Board for that purpose.
  8. Every person elected by the Party Conference to a Party Office or to the Executive Board shall remain in that office or position until the conclusion of the next Party Conference, unless he or she dies, resigns, is removed from office or ceases to be a member. In the event of a vacancy so arising, the Executive Board may appoint a person to fill that vacancy; provided that, in the case of a vacancy arising in the office of Party Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson shall fill the vacancy.
  9. Every Annual Conference (and, with such modifications as may be necessary, every Special Party Conference) shall be conducted in accordance with the Standing Orders set out in the Schedule.

ARTICLE 10: THE EXECUTIVE board

  1. Subject to the ultimate control exercised by the Party Conference and save as otherwise provided for in this Constitution, the Executive Board has the function of overseeing, directing and co-ordinating the organisation and affairs of the Party. Party members shall abide by decisions of the Executive Board.
  2. The voting membership of the Executive Board consists of –
    1. the Party Leader, Party Deputy Leader, Party Chairperson and Party Treasurer;
    2. 6 delegates (none of whom may be members of the Parliamentary Party) elected by the Party Conference;
    3. 2 delegates (one man and one woman) elected by the Parliamentary Party;
    4. 1 delegate elected by the Association of Labour Councillors;
    5. 1 delegate elected by each of the Party Sections: Labour Youth, Labour Women, Labour Equality and Labour Trade Unionists.
    The General Secretary is a non-voting member of the Executive Board.
  3. For the purpose of electing 6 delegates to the Executive Board by the Party Conference, the candidates shall be divided into a panel of men and a panel of women. 3 candidates shall be elected from each panel, delegates at the Conference having 2 votes and being entitled to cast a separate vote for the candidates from each panel.
  4. A person who is a member of the Party staff, within the meaning and for the purpose of rules made by the Executive Board under Article 11 (4) (e), and who is elected or appointed to membership of the Executive Board or to any office entailing membership of the Board shall not be entitled to retain that membership or office unless, within 14 days of the person having being elected or appointed to such membership or office, he or she resigns or is seconded without pay from the Party staff.
  5. The Executive Board shall meet not less frequently than once in every month other than the month of August, at such time and place as it decides unless the Executive Board or the Party officers (or a majority of them) decide to postpone the next meeting of the Executive Board until the following month: Provided that, on receipt of a written request for a meeting, for a stated purpose, signed by not less than 4 members of the Board, the General Secretary shall summon a meeting, to take place within 2 weeks of the receipt of that request.

    Board Committees
  6. The Organisation Committee and the Finance Committee are standing committees of the Executive Board and the following provisions apply to them:
    1. the Finance Committee assists the Party Treasurer in the oversight and regulation of the Party’s finances and advises him or her on levels of membership, group membership, affiliation and Conference delegate fees and on fund-raising and expenditure targets;
    2. the Organisation Committee advises the Executive Board on matters relating to the organisation of the Party. It shall, in particular, work with the General Secretary in formulating and implementing plans for the development and expansion of the Party at branch and constituency level, membership recruitment and electoral strategy (public representatives may appointed to membership of the Organisation Committee but not to serve as chair of that committee);
    3. the members of each standing committees are appointed by the Executive Board and the Board may at any time appoint an additional member or members to either standing committee, or may cancel the membership of any person of either standing committee;
    4. subject to paragraph (c), the members appointed by the Executive Board of each standing committee remain in position until the first meeting of the Board after the next following Party Conference.
  7. The Executive Board, on the proposal of the Party Leader, may appoint additional committees as it thinks fit and may assign or delegate to a committee the performance of such of the management functions of the Board or of the Party Leader as it decides. The Board may dissolve any of its additional committees as and whenever it thinks fit.
  8. Each Party Officer (Article 13 (1)) shall ex-officio be a member of every committee of the Executive Board.
  9. Persons who are not members of the Executive Board may be appointed to membership of any committee.
  10. In the performance of their functions, all committees are responsible to the Executive Board and bound by its decisions. Each committee shall report on the performance of its functions to every meeting of the Board.
  11. The Executive Board may from time to time borrow or receive money, with or without security, from such bank, company or person as it thinks fit, and may mortgage or otherwise charge the assets of the Party, or any part thereof, as security for the repayment of such monies.
  12. The Party Chairperson shall preside over meetings of the Executive Board. In the event of his or her absence, the members present shall, in accordance with the appropriate rules and standing orders, appoint a person to preside over the meeting.
  13. The Executive Board may make its own rules and standing orders, which shall not contain anything inconsistent with this Constitution. Those rules and standing orders may include provisions enabling the Executive Board to permit persons who are not members to attend and speak, either at a specified meeting or at its meetings generally, subject to such conditions as the Executive Board thinks fit..

article 11: the central council

  1. Subject to the ultimate control exercised by the Party Conference and save as otherwise provided for in this Constitution, the Central Council is responsible for the development, formulation and publication of Party policies and for ensuring, through the Regional Councils and otherwise, participative, focused and results-oriented debate throughout the Party on matters of policy. Specifically, the Central Council –
    1. shall consider for approval all policy proposals formulated by the Policy Committee,
    2. may from time to time publish such additional statements of policy as are, in its opinion, in accordance with the Party’s Principles and Objects and the decisions of the Party Conference,
    3. shall supervise, in consultation with the Parliamentary Party, the preparation, revision and publication of the Party Programme, setting out Party policies in relation to the principal issues of the day, and
    4. shall be responsible for the establishment and control of Party periodicals.
  2. The Central Council shall, in consultation with the Parliamentary Party and in accordance with Party policies, approve and publish the Election Manifesto.
  3. The Central Council shall meet not later than 10 days after polling day in any general election which results in no party, or no group of parties which contested the election under a pre-election agreement, having an overall majority in the Dáil. The Central Council shall receive a report from the Party Leader on the political strategy proposed to be followed in negotiations on the formation of a government. The Central Council may accept or reject the report from the Party Leader but may not amend it, other than with the agreement of the Party Leader.
  4. Membership of the Central Council consists of –
    1. representative elected by each Constituency Council,
    2. 1 delegate elected by each Party Section,
    3. the members of the Executive Board,
    4. not more than 3 persons (of whom, if there shall be more than one, at least one shall be a man and at least one shall be a woman) co-opted as members by the Central Council, to represent areas of specific expertise, or for such other purposes as the Central Council may think fit, and
    5. one person who is a member of the Party staff (including staff directly employed by members of the Parliamentary Party in their capacity as such), who shall be a member of the Party, elected by the Party staff in accordance with rules made by the Executive Board after consultation with staff trade unions.
    6. Each of the units entitled to elect a member of the Central Council referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) shall, at the Annual General Meeting at which the member is elected, elect an alternate person of the other gender to the member, who will be entitled to attend and vote at any particular Central Council meeting in place of the member when the member is unable to attend such meeting
  5. The Central Council shall be summoned by the Executive Board to meet not less frequently than once in every quarter (excluding the quarter in which an Annual Conference is to be held), at such time and place as the Executive Board decides unless the Executive Board or the Party officers (or a majority of them) decide to postpone the next meeting of the Central Council until the following month: Provided that, on receipt of a written request for a meeting, for a stated purpose, signed by not less than one-quarter of the members of the Central Council, the General Secretary shall summon a meeting, to take place within 2 weeks of the receipt of that request.
  6. Elections to the Central Council by the Party Sections shall be held in accordance with the constitution or rules and standing orders of those Sections. Provision may be made by each Section for the tenure of those appointments and the filling of casual vacancies. Casual vacancies in constituency or staff representatives shall be filled by the Constituency Council or by a fresh election by staff as the case may be in the same manner as the original position was filled.
  7. Casual vacancies among co-opted members shall be filled by the Central Council.
    Central Council Committees
  8. The Policy Committee and the International Affairs Committee shall be standing committees of the Central Council and the following provisions apply to them.
    1. the Policy Committee, comprising 3 members of the Central Council and 3 members of the Parliamentary Party, as well as the Party officers, shall assist the Central Council in policy research and in the development and co-ordination of policy generally. The chair of the Committee shall be appointed by the Central Council, on the nomination of the Party Leader. Where that person is not a member of the Council, he or she shall have the right to attend and speak at meetings of the Central Council. The Policy Committee shall report and make recommendations within an agreed time-scale on matters referred to it by the Parliamentary Party or the Council. Relevant parliamentary spokespersons or Ministers shall, where appropriate, attend its meetings and provide advice and assistance. The Policy Committee may appoint sub-committees in relation to particular areas of policy, to which persons who are not members of the Parliamentary Party or the Central Council may be appointed. The Policy Committee shall submit a report to each meeting of the Central Council on the progress of its work.
    2. The International Affairs Committee shall develop policies for the approval of the Party in relation to international affairs, including in particular policies relating to the State’s participation in the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the European Union. The Party Leader shall, after consultation with the International Affairs Committee, appoint a member of the party with appropriate experience to the post of International Secretary. The International Secretary shall be the primary representative of the Party in relationships with sister parties in international organisations to which the Party is affiliated, shall carry out such functions as the Central Council shall approve, and shall report on his or her work, in the first place, to the International Affairs Committee. Where the International Secretary is not in his or her own right a member of the Central Council, he or she shall have rights of attendance and audience. The Committee shall also be responsible for ensuring the maintenance of fraternal relations with the international organisations of which the Party is a member, or to which it is affiliated, and with the other members or affiliates of those organisations. The international officers of Labour Youth and Labour Women shall be ex officio members of the International Affairs Committee.
    3. The members of the International Affairs Committee and the Central Council’s nominees to the Policy Committee shall be appointed by the Council and the Central Council may at any time appoint an additional member or members to the International Affairs Committee, or may cancel the membership of any person so appointed by it to either standing committee.
  9. The Central Council may appoint additional committees as it thinks fit and may assign or delegate to any committee such of its functions, powers or duties as it decides. The Council may dissolve any of its additional committees as and whenever it thinks fit, and may appoint or remove any or all of the members of an additional committee.
  10. The chairperson of the International Affairs Committee shall be elected by that Committee. The chairperson of each additional committee shall be appointed by the Central Council.
  11. Each Party Officer shall ex-officio be a member of every committee of the Central Council.
  12. Persons who are not members of the Central Council may be appointed to membership of any committee.
  13. In the performance of their functions, all committees shall be responsible to the Central Council and bound by its decisions. Each committee shall report on the performance of its functions to every meeting of the Central Council.
  14. The Party Chairperson or, in his or her absence, the Vice Chairperson, shall preside over meetings of the Central Council. In the event of the absence of both Party Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, the members present shall, in accordance with the rules and standing orders of the Council, appoint a person to preside over the meeting.
  15. The Central Council may make its own rules and standing orders, which shall not contain anything inconsistent with this Constitution. Those rules and standing orders may include provisions enabling the Council to permit persons who are not members to attend and speak, either at a specified meeting or at its meetings generally, subject to such conditions as the Council thinks fit..

ARTICLE 12: THE PARTY LEADER AND DEPUTY LEADER

Functions of Party Leader

  1. 1. The Party Leader has overall executive responsibility and authority –
    (a) to serve as principal representative and spokesperson of the Party, nationally and in the Oireachtas,
    (b) to advance the well-being of the Party and to ensure that it makes a leading contribution to national life,
    (c) subject to Article 14, section 3, to direct the management of the financial, personnel and political resources of the Party on a day-to-day basis, ensuring there is –
    (i) liaison, co-ordination of activities and transmission of information between the Party leadership and the members,
    (ii) a management framework for major projects such as conferences, policy initiatives and public campaigns,
    (iii) a timely and focussed deliberation on key strategic issues, including in particular the formulation and implementation of plans for the development and expansion of the Party at branch and constituency level, membership recruitment and electoral readiness, and
    (d) to undertake any other tasks that may be deputed to him or her by the Executive Board.
  2. In the performance of these functions, the Party Leader is accountable to the Executive Board. Subject to the ultimate control exercised by the Party Conference and decisions of the Executive Board, the Party Leader is entitled to the support of every Party member in the performance of these functions.
  3. The Party Leader is assisted by the Deputy Leader in the performance of his or her functions.
  4. The Party Leader, having consulted the Parliamentary Party and the Executive Board, shall submit to each Party Conference a report on the current political situation, dealing with major political developments since the preceding Party Conference and setting out the general strategy to be followed by the Party over at least the following 2 year period. The Party Conference may accept or reject the Report but may not amend it, other than with the agreement of the Party Leader.
  5. Save as provided for in this section, the approval of the Party Conference, which can be given only on the recommendation of the Party Leader, shall be required for the entry of the Party into Government. Approval may be given either by –
    1. a Party Conference approving a agreement between the Party and one or more other parties for a common platform on which to contest the next general election, or
    2. a Party Conference held following a general election approving the Party’s entry into Government with one or more other parties.
    However, in the event of a Taoiseach resigning and a new Taoiseach being elected otherwise than subsequent to a general election, the approval of the Party Conference for the Party’s participation in the new Government shall not be required if the Party has participated in Government immediately before the change of Taoiseach, the Party Leader recommends participation in the new Government and, in the opinion of the Executive Board, the programme of the new Government is not materially different, in terms of attainment of the Party’s objectives, to the programme of its predecessor.

    Terms of Office and System of Election
  6. The Executive Board shall appoint a returning officer for elections to the office of Party Leader and Deputy Leader and may make rules for the conduct of elections held under this Article.
  7. Only members of Dáil Éireann shall be eligible for the office of Party Leader and Deputy Leader. Candidates shall be proposed and seconded by members of Dáil Éireann. A candidate may propose himself or herself.
  8. The closing day for nominations shall be a day determined by the Executive Board, being not more than 45 days before the date of the election.
  9. If there is more than one candidate for either or both positions, a poll shall be held. Standing orders made by the Executive Board may make provision to determine the date of commencement of office and the date deemed to be election day for the purposes of this Article in the event that, following close of nominations, one or more candidates withdraw and there is no longer a contest.
  10. Polling day (i.e., the day by which votes must be received and on which votes are counted and results declared) shall be fixed by the Executive Board but, where the vacancy arises upon the expiration of the term for which the Party Leader and Deputy Leader were elected, polling day shall be the day on which the terms of office of the outgoing Party Leader and Deputy Leader expire.
  11. (a) Where a poll is required for elections to both the office of Leader and Deputy Leader, the polls shall take place on the same day.
    (b) Where a poll is required for Leader but not for Deputy Leader, the unopposed candidate for Deputy Leader shall be deemed to be elected on the day that the Leader is elected.
    (c) Where a poll is required for Deputy Leader but not for Leader, the unopposed candidate for Leader shall be deemed elected on the closing day for nominations, but the calculation of the 10 year period referred to in section 12 shall run from election day for the Deputy Leader.
    (d) Where no poll is required either for Leader or Deputy Leader, the closing day for nominations shall be deemed to be election day and both candidates shall thereupon stand elected.
  12. (a) The terms of office of the Party Leader and Deputy Leader shall (subject to the early taking of office by an unopposed candidate for Leader) both commence on the day after the election day within the meaning of this Article
    (b) Following a general election in consequence of which the Party does not enter into Government, the terms of office of the Party Leader and Deputy Leader shall end on the date which is six months after the polling day in that general election.
    (c) Following a general election in consequence of which the Party enters into Government, the terms of office of the Party Leader and Deputy Leader shall end on –
    (i) the next occasion to which paragraph (b) applies or
    (ii) the date that is 10 years after those terms of office commenced,whichever is the earlier.
    (d) If the last day of office under the provisions of this section is not a Friday, the terms of office shall continue until the first Friday following the end of the relevant period.
  13. Votes in the election to the office of Party Leader shall be counted first. If a successful candidate for the office of Party Leader is also a candidate for the office of Deputy Leader, the preferences marked in favour of that person in the election for Deputy Leader shall be disregarded, in favour of the next available preferences marked on the relevant ballot papers.
  14. The counting of votes shall (with such modifications as the returning officer decides are necessary) be conducted according to the statutory rules for the time being in force for the counting of votes at Presidential elections.
  15. Subject to the foregoing provisions, the candidates who have been declared elected shall enter into office on the day following the day of the election.
  16. (a) If a vacancy arises at any time in the office of Party Leader otherwise than by expiration of the term for which the Party Leader was elected, whether arising from the removal from office of the Party Leader or his or her death, resignation, ceasing to be a member of Dáil Éireann or to be a member or otherwise, the Deputy Leader shall be acting Leader until such time as elections to the offices of both Party Leader and Deputy Leader have been held and both vacancies have been filled accordingly. On the assumption of the position of acting Leader by the Deputy Leader, the office of Deputy Leader shall be deemed to be vacated.
    (b) The Executive Board shall, as soon as practicable, call an election to fill vacancies in the offices of Party Leader and Deputy Leader arising in the circumstances specified in paragraph (a) and shall fix a date for the close of nominations to both offices and a date for the counting of votes, which latter day shall be not more than 45 days after the date fixed for the close of nominations.
    (c) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (b), if the vacancy occurs after a dissolution of Dáil Éireann and before a Taoiseach has been elected by an incoming Dáil, the Executive Board and the Parliamentary Party, meeting in joint session not later than 15 days after the vacancy so arising, shall elect eligible persons to serve in both offices. The term of office of the Party Leader and Deputy Leader elected by the Executive Board and Parliamentary Party under this paragraph shall be the remainder of the term for which the former Party Leader and Deputy Leader were elected.
  17. In the event of the office of Deputy Leader becoming vacant at any time otherwise than by expiration of the term for which the Deputy Leader was elected, the Executive Board and Parliamentary Party, meeting in joint session not later than 45 days after the vacancy so arising, shall elect an eligible person to serve for the remainder of the term for which the former Deputy Leader had been elected.
  18. If vacancies arise in the offices of both Party Leader and Deputy Leader otherwise than by virtue of section 16 (a), the Executive Board and the Parliamentary Party, meeting in joint session within 21 days of both offices having become vacant, shall elect an eligible person to serve as acting Leader until such time as the Party members, acting in accordance with this Article, have elected a new Party Leader and Deputy Leader.
  19. The Party Leader and the Deputy Leader or either of them may be removed from office on a motion of no confidence passed with the support of not less than two thirds of the membership of the Central Council. Any such motion must be notified to the General Secretary not less than 2 weeks before the day on which it is to be debated.
  20. Notwithstanding any of the provisions of this Article, in the event of a general election or of any other contingency considered by it to be of national importance or extremity intervening between a closing date for nominations and the day of an election, the Executive Board shall have power to postpone, for no longer than three months, the holding of an election. In those circumstances, but only to the extent that the provisions of those sections do not as result directly apply, the Executive Board shall have power to make such interim arrangements as seems to it to be either necessary or expedient.

ARTICLE 13: other PARTY OFFICERS

  1. The Party Officers of the Party, other than the Party Leader and Deputy Leader, are the Party Chairperson, Party Treasurer and General Secretary.
    Party Chairperson
  2. (a) The Party Chairperson is elected by the Annual Conference and, as provided by this
    Constitution, chairs meetings of the Party Conference, the Central Council and the Executive Board. A Vice-Chairperson of the Party (who shall, as provided by this Constitution chair meetings of the Party Conference and the Central Council in the absence of the Party Chairperson) shall be elected by the Central Council at its first meeting following each Party Conference, from amongst persons eligible for election who are not of the same gender as the Party Chairperson.
    (b) The Party Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson of the Party shall not be members of the Houses of the Oireachtas, and if a person holding such office becomes a member of the Houses of the Oireachtas they shall be deemed to have resigned as that office. Incumbent members of the Houses of the Oireachtas may not be nominated for either office.
    (c) The Vice-Chairperson remains in office until the first meeting following the next Party Conference, unless he or she dies, resigns or ceases to be a member. The Central Council may elect a person who is not one of its members to be Vice-Chairperson but, in such event, that person shall be deemed to have filled one of the 3 positions available to be filled by way of co-option to the Council under Article 11(4)(d). In the event of a vacancy arising in the position of Vice-Chairperson, the Central Council
    shall appoint a person from amongst its members to fill the vacancy.

    Party Treasurer
  3. The Party Treasurer is elected by the Annual Conference He or she –
    1. is responsible for ensuring that the financial affairs of the Party are well managed and that proper accounts and records relating to the finances of the Party are kept,
    2. shall also co-ordinate the fund-raising activities of constituency treasurers,
    3. shall report to and keep the Executive Board regularly informed on the state of the Party’s finances, including its assets, liabilities, income and expenditure, and
    4. shall, to enable the due performance of these functions, have all necessary access to Party books and records and to all necessary information from Party officers and employees.

    General Secretary
  4. The General Secretary is appointed by the Executive Board, following an open competitive process conducted under the authority of the Party Leader and with the approval of the Board. He or she shall be appointed upon such conditions as to tenure of office and remuneration as the Executive Board decides, but the term of office shall be set as being no greater than co-terminous with that of the current Party Leader (including any term for which the Party Leader may be re-elected).
  5. The General Secretary is the chief operating officer of the Party and, under the direction of the Party Leader, is responsible for the management and control of Head Office, the Party’s organisation and administrative affairs and its general development and expansion.
  6. The General Secretary shall report to the Parliamentary Party, the Central Council or the Executive Board, as appropriate, and shall be independent, in and in relation to the performance of the following functions:
    ensuring that records are taken and maintained of meetings of the Parliamentary Party, the Central Council and the Executive Board;
    ensuring that a register of members (indicating their branches and trade union membership status, if any), group members and branches is maintained, specifying their paid-up status;
    organising the Party Conference; and
    carrying out the decisions of the Party Conference, the Parliamentary Party, the Central Council and the Executive Board.
  7. The Party Leader, Party Treasurer and General Secretary shall report to every meeting of the Central Council, the Executive Board and the Party Conference on the performance of their functions.

    Party Trustees
  8. The Executive Board shall appoint 3 trustees for such period as it decides not exceeding 3 years, upon
    which conditions as it may see fit. A trustee shall continue in office until his or her successor is appointed. At least 1 of the trustees so appointed shall be a woman and 1 a man. The Executive Board shall fill any casual vacancy that may arise in the office of trustee.
  9. The property and assets of the Party shall vest in the trustees on their appointment for the period of such appointment and, in the application of such property and assets, the trustees shall be subject to, and shall comply with, the directives of the Executive Board. In the event of the trustees, or any one of them, refusing to comply with such directives, the Executive Board may remove the trustees, or any of them, from the office of trustee of the Party.

    GENERAL
  10. In the event of the illness or incapacity of the Party Treasurer or General Secretary, the Executive Board may make provision for the carrying out of his or her functions by another person.

ARTICLE 14: FINANCE

  1. The rate and scale of annual membership, group membership, affiliation and Conference delegate fees shall be as fixed from time to time by the Executive Board. The Board has power to reduce or waive group membership or affiliation fees in any case of financial hardship.
  2. In any case of failure to pay group membership, affiliation or Conference delegate fees, or to transmit such information as may be prescribed by this Constitution, within the time fixed for the purpose by the General Secretary, the Executive Board may in its discretion extend the time so fixed.
  3. All funds received by the Party and the Party Leader from the State shall be paid to, and administered under the direction of, the Executive Board.
  4. The receipts and payments of the Party shall be audited annually by an auditor appointed by the Party Conference for that purpose. The financial year of the Party ends on the 31st December in every year, to which day the accounts of the Party shall be balanced.
  5. The Executive Board may from time to time require a special levy to be paid by all or any members, group members, branches or Constituency, Divisional or Regional Councils. A levy shall be regarded, in the case of a member or group member, as an addition to the annual membership or group membership fee and, in the case of a branch or Constituency, Divisional or Regional Council, as an addition to the annual affiliation fee.

ARTICLE 15: ELECTIONS

  1. Subject to this Article, the Executive Board shall prescribe the procedure for selecting Party candidates. The procedure so prescribed shall be complied with at every meeting at which candidates are selected. For local, general and European elections, candidate selection conventions shall be convened and organised by the Executive Board (with due regard, in the case of European elections, for procedures agreed by the PES), entailing decisions by members of the relevant branches and Councils in accordance with the principle of ‘one member, one vote’, the right to vote being confined –
    1. in the case of Dáil elections, to members of the relevant constituency and members of branches affiliated to that constituency,
    2. in the case of European elections, to members of the relevant constituencies and members of branches affiliated to those constituencies, and (b) in the case of local elections, to members of the braches within the relevant local electoral area.
  2. (a) The Executive Board may make provision for circumstances in which selection conventions have been held, and candidates approved, to contest an election in a local election area or Dáil constituency the boundaries of which have subsequently been proposed to be amended or have been amended, following on the publication of a report from a body appointed to review local or Dáil boundaries.
    (b) The Executive Board may make provision, in cases where it is decided to select two or more candidates for a Dáil constituency or a local electoral area, based in different parts of the constituency or area, for separate selection conventions to be held in each such part, with the right to vote at each such convention being confined to Party members belonging to the relevant part of the constituency or local electoral area.
  3. The Organisation Committee may recommend the number of candidates to be selected at a selection convention. Where more than one candidate is to be selected, the Organisation Committee may also prescribe outcomes with regard to the gender balance of the panel of candidates selected. If a selection convention disagrees with a recommendation, it shall nonetheless proceed to select the number of candidates recommended to it, in accordance with the prescribed criteria, but it may make an alternative recommendation to the Executive Board as to the number of candidates to be selected and the criteria for selection, or both, but not as to the person or persons to be selected. Where the Executive Board receives an alternative recommendation, it may make its own recommendation in the matter and refer that recommendation, together with the recommendation of the selection convention, for consideration and decision by the Party Leader and Chairperson under section 5 or 6.
  4. The Executive Board may in its discretion decide whether or not to ratify any candidate or candidates selected by a selection convention.
  5. The Party Leader and the Party Chairperson may decide, acting jointly, but only if so advised by the Organisation Committee or the Executive Board, to add a candidate or candidates to those selected by a selection convention and ratified by the Board.
  6. At any time after a Dáil election has been called, the Party Leader and Party Chairperson may, acting jointly and on their own initiative, decide to add a candidate or candidates to contest the election in any constituency.
  7. The selection of candidates for the office of President of Ireland shall be a function of the Parliamentary Party and the Executive Board, acting jointly.
  8. The selection of candidates for election to Seanad Éireann and any other body or position not mentioned in this Article whose members are elected by popular vote shall be a function of the Parliamentary Party and the Central Council, acting jointly.

ARTICLE 16: COMPLAINTS AND APPEALS

  1. The Executive Board shall adopt, and may from time to time revise, standing orders for the purpose of:
    1. resolving disputes within the Party;
    2. resolving complaints made against a member, branch, Council, Party Section, or any other unit having standing in the Party (but, in relation to a decision complained against, not including a Party Conference or a decision of a Complaints Committee or of the Executive Board on appeal from a decision of a Complaints Committee);
    3. providing for other matters related to the foregoing or contemplated by this Article.
  2. Standing orders under this Article may provide for all matters which in the opinion of the Executive Board are incidental or conducive to providing for the matters referred to in section 1 and may in particular provide for:
    1. the constitution and operation of the Complaints Panel established under section 3, from which members shall be drawn for a Complaints Committee in any given case or cases to resolve disputes or complaints;
    2. the circumstances in which a dispute or complaint may be initiated, the grounds to be recognised as sufficient for a valid complaint to be made and the procedure for so doing;
    3. the informal resolution of complaints where possible, for example by mediation or arbitration;
    4. the rejection of complaints on grounds such as that the complaint is not validly brought under this Article, does not comply with any prescribed form, is frivolous, vexatious, or manifestly ill founded, or is brought by a person not having a sufficient interest in the matter;
    5. the determination of who shall have carriage of a valid complaint;
    6. the notification of a valid complaint to the Executive Board;
    7. the constitution and operation of the Committee on Suspensions established under section 4;
    8. the procedure for determination of issues under this Article generally;
    9. the operation, powers and decision-making of a Complaints Committee;
    10. notification of the decisions of a Complaints Committee;
    11. the manner in which appeals to the Executive Board against decisions of a Complaints Committee shall be made;
    12. the procedure on the hearing of such appeals;
    13. notification of decisions of the Committee on Suspensions and the Executive Board.
  3. It shall be a condition of membership of the Party that any grievance or dispute that cannot be resolved informally or by agreement shall be resolved in accordance with mechanisms laid down in or under this Constitution, and in the case of any such grievance or dispute, any member who fails to avail of a procedure or opportunity provided for under this Constitution and, in particular, under this Article shall be held to have waived his or her rights.
  4. There shall be established in accordance with standing orders under this Article:
    1. (a) a Complaints Panel to be appointed by the Executive Board, from which members shall be drawn to form a Complaints Committee in any given case or cases;
    2. (b) a Committee on Suspensions to be appointed by the Executive Board, which shall have power in respect of any member the subject of a valid complaint, as an interim measure pending the outcome of the investigation, to suspend that member from membership or any other office or position mentioned in this Constitution, other than the office of Party Leader or Deputy Leader or the party membership of the Party Leader or Deputy Leader.
  5. (a) In arriving at a decision under section 4 (b), the Committee on Suspensions shall consider the balance of convenience, the interests of the Party and the rights of individuals affected, as well as any representations made or subsequently made by the member, and may at any time modify or remove the suspension if it thinks fit having regard to the factors referred to above.
    (b) The Committee on Suspensions has power immediately to suspend a member from all rights and incidents of membership where the member has been the subject of a valid complaint that he or she has, notwithstanding a failure either to seek or to secure nomination and ratification as a Party candidate in accordance with the terms of Article 13, publicly declared or otherwise made clear an intention to stand as a candidate at an election to which that Article applies.
  6. (a) Where a person is the subject matter of a complaint, he or she shall be entitled to fair procedures in respect of the handling of the complaint. Standing orders under this Article shall respect the rights conferred by this section.
    (b) While an issue referred to a Complaints Committee under this Article shall normally be dealt with by way of an oral hearing, the Complaints Committee may dispense with an oral hearing if the parties do not request one and may reject a complaint without an oral hearing if, in the opinion of the Complaints Committee, the complaint is one not validly brought under this Article, or is frivolous, vexatious, or manifestly ill founded, or is brought by a person not having a sufficient interest in the matter.
    (c) Where the matter referred to the Complaints Committee is a dispute within the Party, the Complaints Committee shall either –
    (i) decide that no determination by it is necessary, or
    (ii) issue a decision resolving the dispute, which decision may not involve any disciplinary sanction against a member or unit.
    (d) Where the matter referred to the Complaints Committee is a complaint against a member or unit, the Complaints Committee may decide on such one, or if appropriate, more than one of the following as is appropriate:
    (i) to dismiss the complaint,
    (ii) to note the complaint and the relevant facts, but to take no further action,
    (iii) to uphold the complaint without imposing a specific penalty,
    (iv) whether or not any penalty is imposed, to advise, warn and/or reprimand the respondent to the complaint, or to make recommendations as to his or her future activities,
    (v) to suspend a person or unit from membership of the Party, or of a unit, for a period not exceeding 5 years,
    (vi) to exclude a person from contesting, for a period not exceeding 5 years, any elective office within the Party, or within a particular branch,
    (vii) to deprive a person or unit from such other rights under this Constitution as are appropriate for a period not exceeding 5 years, or
    (viii) to expel a person from membership of the Party, or from a particular branch.
    (e) A penalty imposed by the Complaints Committee shall not come into effect until 21 days from the date it is pronounced, or, if an appeal is lodged within that period, until the determination of the appeal. However a suspension imposed by the Committee on Suspensions shall, unless otherwise varied or discharged, continue until 21 days after the determination by the Complaints Committee or until the determination of an appeal, whichever is longer, unless the Complaints Committee decides to dismiss the complaint or not to impose a penalty, in which case the suspension shall lapse on the pronouncement of the determination by the Complaints Committee. A determination by the Complaints Committee to dismiss a complaint shall be final. If no appeal is brought against any other determination of the Complaints Committee within 21 days from the pronouncement of the determination, that determination shall become final on the expiry of the 21 day period.
    (f) No person who has been determined in accordance with standing orders to have had a material prior involvement in the dispute or complaint shall sit on any Complaints Committee, Executive Board meeting or Committee on Suspensions meeting relating to the matter, unless the involvement is one affecting members generally or all but a minority of members of the body concerned.
    (g) A person shall be deemed to have waived their rights in respect of any matter arising in connection with a complaint if he or she fails to attend a relevant meeting of the complaints committee having received notice of the same, or if he or she fails to appeal to the Executive Board in respect of any matter in relation to which he or she enjoys a right of appeal, or if he or she fails to attend a meeting of the Executive Board under this Article having received notice of the same.
  7. (a) A party to a dispute or person against whom a complaint has been made may, within 21 days of the pronouncement of the decision of a Complaints Committee, appeal to the Executive Board against that decision (save where the decision consists only of a dismiss of the complaint), on grounds confined to fairness of procedure, the nature of the penalty to be imposed and the impact on the Party of the decision being appealed against.
    (b) The decision of the Executive Board in any appeal shall be final.
  8. If a person who has been expelled from branch membership under this Article does not, within 3 months from the date of a final determination under this Article:
    either inform Head Office that he or she has opted to become an individual Party member, or
    transfer to membership of another branch (with the consent of that other branch),
    that person shall be deemed to have resigned from the Party on the expiry of the 3 month period.

ARTICLE 17: GENDER BALANCE

  1. In any election of more than one member or delegate to a committee or Council established by or under this Constitution, or to a Party Conference, the election shall be conducted so as to ensure that, so far as shall be practicable having regard to the candidates nominated for election, not fewer than 30% of those so elected are women and not fewer than 30% are men.
  2. At an election to which section 1 applies, the votes shall be counted in the normal manner, subject to the modification that a candidate shall not be eliminated if to do so would give rise to a breach of the gender balance outcome set out in that section.
  3. This Article does not apply to elections to a single office or position. Where an election takes place to fill a casual vacancy, the vacancy shall not be filled in such a way as to reduce the proportion of either gender below 30% of voting members of the body in question.
  4. The Central Council and the Executive Board shall ensure that not fewer than 30% of the persons appointed as members of their committees are women and not fewer than 30% of those persons are men.

ARTICLE 18: INTERPRETATION AND AMENDMENT OF THIS CONSTITUTION

  1. The Executive Board shall have authority to decide any matter in relation to which the interpretation of this Constitution is in doubt and to make provision for any matter on which this Constitution is silent.
  2. This Constitution may be amended only by a resolution of the Party Conference expressly moved for that purpose; a resolution not expressly moved for that purpose and which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall have no effect.
  3. Part 1 of this Constitution (Principles and Objects of the Party) may be reviewed by the Party Conference after periodic intervals of not less than 4 years from the date of last review. In any such review, Part 1 may be amended or replaced by resolution of the Conference.
  4. Notwithstanding the foregoing sections, this Article may be amended only by resolution of the Party Conference passed with the support of not less than two-thirds of the delegates.

SCHEDULE
STANDING ORDERS OF THE LABOUR PARTY CONFERENCE
ORDER 1: THE CONFERENCE CHAIRPERSON

The Party Chairperson shall preside over meetings of the Party Conference. He or she shall be the judge of order, and of the interpretation and application of these Standing Orders, and shall have authority to suppress disorder and to ensure compliance with his or her rulings. In the absence of the Party Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson shall be Conference Chairperson. In the absence of both Party Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, the Executive Board shall appoint a person to act as Conference Chairperson.
ORDER 2: PREPARATION OF THE AGENDA

  1. In preparation for a Party Conference, the Executive Board shall appoint a Conference Arrangements Committee (the CAC), which shall decide the form and content of the Preliminary Agenda. The Preliminary Agenda shall be sent by the CAC to every body entitled to send delegates to the Party Conference.
  2. Motions may be submitted for inclusion on the Preliminary Agenda by any body entitled to appoint delegates to the Conference and by the Central Council and the Executive Board. Not more than 1 motion may be submitted by a body entitled to appoint delegates to the Conference. Every motion must be signed by an officer of the body that submits it and must be sent to the CAC not later than the time fixed by it. The CAC may, following consultation with the Standing Orders Committee (SOC), decide to consolidate motions received for the Preliminary Agenda that relate to cognate matters, for the purpose of avoiding repetition of debate or voting.
  3. Amendments to motions appearing on the Preliminary Agenda may be submitted by any body entitled to appoint delegates to the Conference and by the Central Council and the Executive Board. Not more than 1 amendment may be submitted by a body entitled to appoint delegates to the Conference. Every amendment must be signed by an officer of the body that submits it and must be sent to the CAC not later than the time fixed by it.
  4. An amendment that is not relevant to the motion to which it is proposed, or which is equivalent to a direct negative thereto, shall not be accepted for inclusion on the Final Agenda.
  5. The Parliamentary Party, the Central Council and the Executive Board may arrange for the preparation of policy statements and other reports to be included on the Final Agenda. The Central Council and the Executive Board may, at any time before the Final Agenda is sent to delegates, submit additional motions and amendments for inclusion on the Final Agenda.
  6. The CAC shall, after consultation with the SOC, decide the form and content of the Final Agenda, ordering the business of the Conference into specific areas of policy, for debate and consideration. The Final Agenda shall be sent to delegates as early as is practicable before the Conference.
  7. A motion or amendment may not be included on the Preliminary or Final Agenda if the SOC informs the CAC that it is invalid due to any provision of the Party Constitution or of these Standing Orders.
  8. Save in the case of —
    1. reports of the SOC under Order 3, rule 6,
    2. procedural motions under Order 7, rule 7,
    3. motions for the suspension of Standing Orders under Order 9, or
    4. such additional business as may arise by virtue of the suspension of Standing Orders or a report of the SOC,

      motions, amendments and other business that do not appear on the Final Agenda may not be considered by the Conference. A motion under paragraph (b) or (c) may not be considered by the Conference until notice is given to the SOC and communicated by it to the Conference Chairperson. Upon receipt from the SOC of notice of an item of business under this rule, the Chairperson shall take the item as the next immediate item of business.
  9. Where the Conference has by resolution declared its policy on any matter, no motion concerning that matter and which seeks, whether directly or by implication, to negative that resolution shall appear on the Final Agenda for a period of 3 years from the time that the resolution was passed, unless the motion is, in the opinion of the Executive Board, of urgent importance.
  10. The CAC shall have overall responsibility for determining the management, organisation and deployment of resources at the Party Conference, except in relation to those responsibilities specifically reserved to the SOC. The CAC shall, in particular, be responsible for planning the budget for the Conference, so that it is managed in a cost-effective manner. It shall consult with the SOC so as to ensure that the organisation and procedures of the Conference facilitate the SOC in the performance of its duties.


ORDER 3: THE STANDING ORDERS COMMITTEE

  1. The Party Conference shall elect by ballot a Standing Orders Committee.
  2. 5 members shall be elected members of the SOC, of whom not less than 2 shall be men and not less than 2 shall be women. The 3 members who are the last to be eliminated in the election shall be a panel of substitute Committee members. Each person elected to the SOC shall remain a member of that Committee until the conclusion of the next following Party Conference, unless he or she dies, resigns, ceases to be a branch member or becomes disqualified under rule 3, in which case the eligible member of the panel of substitutes who received the highest number of votes at the election shall fill the vacancy.
  3. No person who is a member of the Executive Board, or has been nominated for election to the that body or to an office entailing membership of that body, shall be elected to, or serve as, a member or substitute member of the SOC.
  4. The SOC shall meet so often as may be necessary before each Conference, for the purpose of —
    1. considering nominations and motions and amendments submitted for inclusion in the Preliminary and Final Agenda and reporting to the CAC as to whether they are valid,
    2. considering the arrangements for and management of the Conference, and
    3. any related business.
  5. The SOC shall be responsible for examining the credentials of delegates. No person may be admitted as a delegate if the Committee decides that the person was not, on the latest date for receipt of notification of delegates by the General Secretary, a member of the body appointing him or her as a delegate or was, by reason of any provision of the Party Constitution or these Standing Orders, not a validly appointed delegate or not validly accredited to the Conference. The SOC shall also supervise and exercise general control over the Conference meeting room, areas reserved for polling and for counting votes and all access and egress to and from those places.
  6. The SOC shall make recommendations to every Conference in reports, the first of which shall be sent to the delegates and to the bodies they represent as soon as is practicable before each Conference and shall be considered by the Conference as its first item of business.
  7. The first report of the Committee shall include recommendations relating to —
    1. the appointment of a chief teller and assistant tellers, a returning officer and scrutineers, and the conduct generally of divisions and elections;
    2. the prescription of time limits for speeches;
    3. the consolidation or composition of motions on the Final Agenda which relate to cognate matters, for the purpose of avoiding repetition of debate or voting;
    4. the sub-division of the Conference meeting into time sessions, with a requirement as to the attendance by delegates, in order to be entitled to vote at Conference elections, at a minimum number of sessions;
    5. the order of, procedure for dealing with, and time to be allocated to, the items of business to be considered by the Conference;
    6. [deleted]
    7. the admission of observers and members of the press to sessions of the Conference, and
    8. in the case of a Special Party Conference, such modification to these Standing Orders (as provided for by Article 8 (8) of the Party Constitution) as are, in its opinion, necessary for the purpose of effectually conducting the business of the Conference.
  8. The SOC may make such additional reports to the Conference, setting out its recommendations on any or all matters relating to the Conference and its business, as it may consider necessary or expedient; such reports shall take priority over any other matter before the Conference.
  9. On any report under rule 8 being approved by the Conference by a simple majority of delegates present and voting, the recommendations included therein shall take effect notwithstanding any other provision of these Standing Orders.
  10. The Conference Chairperson may decide that any particular recommendation included in a report of the SOC must be submitted to the Conference for approval as a separate item of business.
  11. The SOC shall advise the Conference Chairperson as to the interpretation and application of these Standing Orders and the Party Constitution.

ORDER 4: NOMINATIONS

  1. Nominations of candidates to any office or position that is elected by the Conference may be made by any body entitled to send delegates. Not more than 1 nomination to each office or position may be made by any body. Every nomination must be signed by an officer of the body that made it and be sent to the CAC not later than the time fixed by that committee.
  2. Nominations for the election of an auditor must be accompanied by a declaration, signed by or on behalf of the nominee, assenting to that nomination. A nomination for the election of an auditor may be made by the Executive Board.
  3. A person shall not be accepted as a candidate in any election if the SOC informs the CAC, or during the course of the Conference, the Conference Chairperson, that his or her candidature is invalid by reason of any provisions of the Party Constitution or of these Standing Orders.

ORDER 5: METHOD OF VOTING

  1. Save as provided by rule 2, voting shall be by show of hands, each delegate having one vote. Save as otherwise provided by the Party Constitution or these Standing Orders, votes shall be decided by a simple majority of those present and voting. The Conference Chairperson shall interpret and declare the result: Provided that the Conference Chairperson may, whenever he or she considers it necessary to do so, order that a division be taken on any vote in accordance with Order 6, rule 2. In the case of an equality of votes, the Conference Chairperson shall have a casting vote.
  2. The Party Chairperson, Party Treasurer, auditor, the delegates elected by the Conference to the Executive Board and the members of the SOC shall be elected by secret ballot, on the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. Nominations for these positions shall be submitted to the General Secretary on or before a time and date fixed by him or her and notified to the members of the Central Council. Subject to Article 15 of the Constitution (Gender Balance), the counting of votes for elections held under this paragraph shall be conducted in accordance with the statutory rules for the time being in force for the counting of votes at general elections or Presidential elections, as appropriate.

ORDER 6: COUNTING OF VOTES

  1. Such person as is recommended by the SOC and approved by the Conference shall stand appointed as chief teller. He or she shall be assisted by such and so many persons as are recommended by the Committee and approved by the Conference to stand appointed as assistant tellers. The SOC may if necessary appoint additional tellers.
  2. It shall be the duty of the chief teller to arrange for the counting and recording of the votes on every occasion on which a division is taken. His or her decision as to the numbers recorded on any vote shall be final save that, where 2 or more tellers disagree on a vote, the Conference Chairperson may order a recount of that vote.
  3. Such person as is recommended by the SOC and approved by the Conference shall stand appointed as returning officer. He or she shall be assisted by such and so many persons as are recommended by the Committee and approved by the Conference to stand appointed as scrutineers. The SOC may if necessary appoint additional scrutineers.
  4. The returning officer shall be responsible for the counting of votes in the elections held under Order 5 (2). The returning officer shall, after consultation with the SOC, take all such steps as he or she considers necessary or expedient to ensure the validity of the count. On the conclusion of the count, the returning officer shall declare the results and send a report thereof to the General Secretary.
  5. The SOC shall supervise and exercise general control over voting procedures.
  6. No person who is a candidate in any election at the Party Conference shall be appointed a chief or assistant teller, returning officer or scrutineer.

ORDER 7: RULES OF DEBATE

  1. Each delegate on commencing to speak shall announce his or her name and the name of the body that appointed him or her. Delegates shall address the Chair.
  2. Except in the case of a motion or amendment submitted by the Central Council or the Executive Board, a motion or amendment may be proposed only by a delegate of the body that submitted it.
  3. The proposer of a motion shall have the right to speak before all other speakers on that motion and again after them. This rule applies also to the proposer of an amendment. Save as provided by this rule, no delegate shall be entitled to speak twice upon the same motion or amendment.
  4. The Conference Chairperson shall, subject to the provisions of these Standing Orders, decide on the order of speakers in each debate.
  5. A delegate who persists in irrelevance or repetition in debate or who, in the opinion of the Conference Chairperson, is speaking for the purpose of obstructing business, may be directed by the Conference Chairperson to discontinue his or her speech.
  6. The voting on each amendment shall take place before the voting on the substantive motion to which the amendment relates.
  7. (a) If a motion to proceed to the next business is proposed and seconded, the proposer of the motion under debate shall have the right to speak briefly in opposition thereto and the motion must then be put. If the motion is carried, the debate on the original motion must be abandoned and the meeting must proceed to the next business on the Agenda. If the motion is lost, the debate on the original motion must be resumed.
    (b) A motion that the question be now put must be proposed, seconded and decided without debate. If the motion is carried, the original motion must be put and decided without further debate (other than, at the discretion of the Conference Chairperson, a brief reply by the proposer of that motion). If the motion is lost, the debate on the original motion must be resumed.
    (c) If a motion that any business on the Agenda be referred to the Central Council or the Executive Board, or to any special committee (for the purpose of considering the same and reporting thereon to the Conference or the next following Conference) is proposed and seconded, not more than 2 delegates shall have the right to speak briefly in opposition thereto and the motion must then be put. If the motion is carried, the business in question must be so referred and the meeting must proceed to the next business on the Agenda. If the motion is lost, the business in question remains on the Agenda.
    (d) The Conference Chairperson must not accept a motion under this rule if it appears to him or her that the motion is an infringement of the rights of a minority or that the motion is otherwise an abuse of these Standing Orders.
    (e) Where, pursuant to a resolution passed under paragraph (c), the Conference appoints a special committee to consider and report to it upon a matter under its consideration, the special committee so appointed shall be subject to the direction of the Conference and shall submit its report to the Conference Chairperson within the time fixed by that resolution.
  8. After the proposer has been called upon to conclude the debate, or does not claim the right to speak again, no further discussion shall take place on a motion or amendment and the Conference Chairperson shall call for a vote.
  9. A motion once passed shall be referred to as a resolution.

ORDER 8: CONCLUSION OF CONFERENCE

  1. The business of every Party Conference shall conclude at the time fixed by the first report of the SOC, unless a recommendation that it should conclude at an earlier or later time has been made by the SOC and approved by the Conference.
  2. For the purposes of Article 9 (8) of the Party Constitution, the Conference shall be taken to have concluded on the completion of the counting of votes, and the declaration of the results, in the elections conducted by the returning officer, which may be commenced or continued after the time fixed for the conclusion of the business of the Conference under rule 1, or the time so fixed under rule 1, whichever last occurs.
  3. Motions on the agenda that are not disposed of by the conclusion of the Conference shall stand referred to the Central Council for its consideration and shall be disposed of by the Central Council within the next following 12 months.

ORDER 9: SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS

  1. Subject to Order 3, rule 9, any or all of the foregoing Standing Orders may be suspended or modified in effect for a particular purpose by motion proposed, seconded and passed with the support of not less than two-thirds of the delegates present and voting. No proposal to amend or repeal the Party Constitution (including this Schedule) or to suspend or modify the effect of this Order may be proposed by way of a motion under this rule.
  2. The proposer of a motion under rule 1 shall have the right to speak briefly in support thereof and the motion shall then be immediately put.

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