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Want to help make Lib Dem party policy? Here are four opportunities

July 2, 2016 10:48 AM
By Mark Pack

PolicyThe Liberal Democrats are advertising for members of four policy working groups - on the economy, Britain's place in the world, education and rural communities.

Here is some of the blurb explaining the role of policy working group members followed by the remit for each of the working groups.

You can apply for membership of the policy working groups here.

All the Lib Dem policy papers referred to below are available here.

What do I need to be a member of a Lib Dem policy working group?

You don't need anything specific. As an idea, group members usually have one or more of the following:

  • Membership of the Liberal Democrats
  • An interest or expertise in the relevant topic
  • Willingness to make a commitment over 12-18 months, including evenings
  • Experience of using policy as a campaigning tool

We particularly welcome applications from under-represented groups,

21st Century Economy

The FPC is commissioning a working group on building a 21st Century Economy, to develop policies for promoting a more dynamic, innovative and sustainable economy, reinforcing our overall liberal vision of creating opportunity for everyone regardless of background and challenging existing concentrations of power within the economy. The group is particularly directed to identify policies which could be strong campaigning issues and provide the basis for stronger party engagement with emerging business sectors and green businesses. The group is also expected to consider and address Liberal Democrat principles on diversity and equalities in developing their proposals. The process should take into account existing policy as set out in policy papers 108 A Balanced Working Life (2013), 105 Sustainable Prosperity and Jobs (2012), 90 Our Natural Heritage (2009) and the policy achievements of Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government.

In the course of its work the group should consider:

  • The overall objectives of economic and industrial policy in a liberal society, and how it can be used to increase wellbeing
  • The impact of technology on the economy and how the disruption of established parts of the economy might benefit growth
  • Raising productivity levels across the economy but with a special focus on the service sector
  • Innovation policy and the interface between business and academic research
  • Investment in productive infrastructure, in particular creating a modern IT infrastructure and enhancing the environmental sustainability and resilience of infrastructure
  • Sector-specific policies where there may be a case for them, including for example:
    • The digital/tech sector
    • The green technology sector
    • The creative industries
  • Delivering the skills needed for the 21st Century Economy
  • The impact of automation on jobs in the short and long term, and how we can ensure that new technology does not simply replace low- and middle-income work without offering similar paying employment
  • The impact of changes in the economy on the flexible labour market and work-life balance
  • Policies for delivering high-skill, high-productivity jobs in disadvantaged areas and regions
  • Creating the best environment in which starter businesses can thrive and scale up, including through access to affordable finance and business support
  • Policies to promote greater diversity in entrepreneurship and access to venture capital
  • The role of the 'sharing economy'
  • Resource efficiency and the development of a 'circular economy' (in which, as far as possible, economic growth is decoupled from resource constraint through minimising the input of natural resources, and reusing, recovering and recycling them).

The group should collaborate with the Rural Communities working group on issues of rural broadband and rural business opportunities generally, and with the Education working group on skills and the links between schools and the world of work. The group is not asked to consider macroeconomic policy issues such as overall levels of taxation, public spending and borrowing.

The group will take evidence and consult widely from both within and outside the party. This evidence should inform the group's proposals, which will be presented alongside an analysis of costs and an Equality Impact Assessment.

A policy paper of no longer than 10,000 words should be produced for debate at Autumn Conference 2017. Prior to that a consultative session should be held at Spring Conference 2017, and a draft policy paper should be presented to the Federal Policy Committee by June 2017.

Britain in the World

The FPC is commissioning a working group to update party policy and produce proposals for Britain's role on the international stage, including identifying the issues and problems that will form the basis for our foreign policy interventions, setting out a positive and inspirational vision for the world we want to build, and defining a realistic, focussed role for Britain in helping bring that world into being, reinforcing our overall liberal vision of creating opportunity for everyone regardless of background. The group is particularly directed to identify strong campaigning issues for use in foreign policy campaigns. The group is also expected to consider and address Liberal Democrat principles on diversity and equalities in developing their proposals. The process should build on past policy, particularly policy papers 97 Accountability to the Poor (2010), 86 Security and Liberty in a Globalised World (2008), and 74 Britain's Global Responsibilities (2006).

In the course of its work the group should consider:

  • What a Liberal Democrat vision for the global community looks like
  • Identifying and reviewing the greatest issues and challenges facing the international community, assessing the UK's ability to respond meaningfully, and what the global community's response should be
  • What international responsibilities Britain has or should have, particularly with regard to global challenges such as tackling climate change, defending and advancing human rights, and the ongoing refugee crisis
  • What role a post-Referendum Britain has to play in Europe and through Europe in the World
  • Britain's world role, with regard to other international institutions such as the UN
  • How Britain can achieve the greatest impact with the limited resources at our disposal. This should include priorities, strategic objectives, and concrete targets
  • Britain's traditional means of wielding influence: defence, diplomacy, development and trade. Given our vision and objectives, what is the purpose of our military, or our overseas development assistance? How should they cooperate and complement one another?
  • The extent and strength of Britain's soft power, including the BBC World Service and the links of British residents with international diasporas, and what we can do to nurture it.

The group will take evidence and consult widely from both within and outside the party. This evidence should inform the group's proposals, which will be presented alongside an analysis of costs and an Equality Impact Assessment.

A policy paper of no longer than 10,000 words should be produced for debate at Autumn Conference 2017. Prior to that a consultative session should be held at Spring Conference 2017, and a draft policy paper should be presented to the Federal Policy Committee by June 2017.

Education

The FPC is commissioning a working group to update party policy and produce proposals for Education in England. The group is particularly directed to identify policies which could be strong campaigning issues within education, reinforcing our overall liberal vision of creating opportunity for everyone regardless of background. The group is also expected to consider and address Liberal Democrat principles on diversity and equalities in developing their proposals. The group should take into account existing policy as set out in policy papers 119 Protecting Public Services and Making Them Work for You (2014), 103 Learning for Life (2013), A New Liberal Democrat Approach Race Equality (policy motion, 2013) and 89 Equity and Excellence (2009).

In the course of its work the group should consider the following topics, giving priority to those where existing policy most requires development or updating:

  • The overall purposes of education, and its widest aims in terms of developing personal qualities like character and creativity, and preparing people to participate as citizens in a democratic society
  • Early Years Education
  • Funding, including Fair Funding formula implications and issues
  • Structures, academisation, governors, local accountability, and admissions, seeking to combine the maximum school autonomy and scope to innovate with democratic accountability to parents and communities and the need to ensure coherent school provision for all children
  • Standards, inspection, regional variation, powers of intervention, failing schools
  • Teaching quality, the crisis in recruitment and retention, professional development
  • Curriculum and examinations, parity of esteem of vocational qualifications, and a 'curriculum for life' to equip people with practical life skills (eg. how to open a bank account)
  • Closing the 'attainment gap', the pupil premium and other policies to help underachieving groups
  • Linking school and the world of work, work experience, careers guidance
  • Further Education 14-19
  • Non-formal Education
  • Adult Education

Note: policies on Higher Education and Faith Schools will be developed and presented to party conference through other processes

The group will take evidence and consult widely from both within and outside the party. This evidence should inform the group's proposals, which will be presented alongside an analysis of costs and an Equalities Impact Assessment. A policy paper of no longer than 10,000 words should be produced for debate at Autumn Conference 2017. Prior to that a consultative session should be held at Spring Conference 2017, and a draft policy paper should be presented to the Federal Policy Committee by June 2017.

Rural communities

The FPC is commissioning a working group to update party policy and produce proposals on how to grow the rural economy, protect local services, and manage sustainable agriculture and the rural environment, reinforcing our overall liberal vision of creating opportunity for everyone regardless of background. The group is particularly directed to identify strong campaigning issues for use in rural communities. The group is also expected to consider and address Liberal Democrat principles on diversity and equalities in developing their proposals. The process should build on past policy, particularly policy papers 113 Prosperous, Sustainable and Secure (2013) and 52 Rural Futures (2002).

In the course of its work the group should consider:

  • The changing nature of rural jobs and the rural economy, including protecting employment and businesses, building of physical and digital infrastructure, and exploring the economic importance of agriculture.
  • The social and economic importance of the high street to small towns and villages, the challenges this will face in the coming years, and the importance of tourism and our natural and built heritage.
  • How issues experienced by rural communities can be given due prominence in the institutional structures of government.
  • The challenges of service provision, public goods, and necessities such as affordable housing, with a view to giving people in rural areas the same level of access to essential services as those in urban and suburban areas
  • The special needs of very remote areas
  • The impact of devolution of power on rural areas, particularly with regard to the funding and investment gap between city regions and rural areas
  • The economic and environmental importance and sustainability of farming in the lowlands and uplands, the cost pressures on the dairy sector, and the welfare of farm-reared animals. This should include the development of a Liberal Democrat agenda for the mid-term review of the Common Agricultural Policy 2014-2020 package, and for the negotiations for the establishment of the post- 2020 CAP settlement
  • Wider rural environment considerations such as flooding and water management, diversification, forestry, national parks, hedgerows, the marine environment, and fishing
  • The wider issues of food security, food miles, and technological advances in agriculture including genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

The group will take evidence and consult widely from both within and outside the party. This evidence should inform the group's proposals, which will be presented alongside an analysis of costs and an Equalities Impact Assessment.

A policy paper of no longer than 10,000 words should be produced for debate at Autumn Conference 2017. Prior to that a consultative session should be held at Spring Conference 2017, and a draft policy paper should be presented to the Federal Policy Committee by June 2017.