Disability Labour was set up in 2014. At the start it faced problems. It’s constitution was inherited from a previous organisation that fulfilled its role as a socialist society affiliated to the Labour Party. That previous organisation had also had problems. Neither has enabled members to participate.
The membership list has never been managed properly, making it virtually impossible to identify all current members.
The Executive meets only four times a year.
No work programme has ever been fulfilled by the Executive. Members asking to volunteer have been ignored, discouraged or excluded.
The Executive is split between those supporting the Chair to maintain the status quo, and those calling for Disability Labour to become an openly democratic, fully accountable, effective and participative organisation.
Setting up DEAL.
As a result of years of trying to volunteer, and trying to encourage the Chair and his supporters to become more accountable, a member of Disability Labour set up Disability Equality Act Labour. Since then we’ve done the work Disability Labour should have been doing.
Things get worse.
At each AGM promises have been made that the organisation will improve. It never has. If anything, it has got worse. For example:
Lack of communication with members.
There has been virtually no communication with members again this year.
Members emailing Disability Labour find it almost impossible to get a reply.
When there are minutes of Executive meetings, they have not been made available for members to see.
Disability Labour informed Katy Clark during the Democracy Review process that they had consulted with their members on their submission to the Review. They did not. In fact not even all the Executive members have seen what was in the submission.
Badly organised Executive meetings and an exclusive clique.
Executive meetings are so badly organised they have excluded some Executive members from attending.
Minutes of Executive meetings have either not been taken or are not fit for purpose.
Several Executive members have been excluded from key discussions and decisions.
Members have been banned from attending Executive meetings as observers.
Nothing from the NEC rep.
No reports have been given about what our Disability Labour rep to the NEC has raised or voted on, or even if they have attended meetings.
Giving a quarter of all our funds to The Fabian Society.
A small number of Executive members decided to pay The Fabian Society £2,500 this year to carry out research into the experience of disabled people in the Party. This is about a quarter of all funds held by Disability Labour. Yet many members feel this is inappropriate as the Democracy Review is likely to propose fundamental changes for disabled members so such research may be redundant and there are more fitting organisations to carry out such research in any case.
Promises to organise the 2018 properly have been broken.
A working group of the Executive was set up to organise this years’ AGM. Yet at least one member of that group has been excluded from having any input at all. The AGM has been delayed and the preliminary notice sent out a day later that required by the constitution. We estimate that up to a third of Disability Labour members have received no AGM notice at all.
When Disability Labour found out about their Secretary, they asked their Deputy Secretary to act up to her position but did not inform her. She is the only person who has admin rights to Disability Labour’s social media accounts and continues to manage them. If she doesn’t like comments made, she changes the rules, deletes comments and even blocks members.
The Chair and an Executive member had a meeting this June with three members, two of whom had fought long and hard to be volunteers. The note of that meeting, agreed by all present, shows statements made by the Chair and Executive member about Executive Committee decisions were not true.