Angela Eagle MP, Chair of Labour’s National Policy Forum, in a speech to Labour Party Annual Conference, said:
Conference, when I was first elected as Chair of the National Policy Forum in 2011, I said that our policy making structures and processes need to be more open, more engaging, and above all, win the trust and confidence of members.
During the recent Deputy Leadership elections I said we had to move away from the top down control which had stifled debate for too long in our Party. And I think there is a great appetite for taking this change forward.
And I am proud of the changes that we developed for the National Policy Forum. It led to a better way of working.
We improved the way people could participate in the policy making process.
We made it more open and available for members.
We developed new innovations such as the YourBritain website where people could make submissions directly to their NPF members and engage in conversations about what other members and supporters had submitted too -
We really did find a better way to talk about the big issues facing the country
As a consequence more people have been involved in the last policy making cycle than ever before.
340,000 people took part in our policy development process by interacting with ‘Your Britain.’
In a single lunch hour, 1,200 members of our movement logged on to 'Your Britain’ to share their views and help to shape Labour’s policy programme.
And we opened up membership of the Policy Commissions so that each, and every NPF member had a place on a policy commission and could bring forward views more directly.
But the General Election result in May was a hammer blow.
We need to listen and learn if we are to earn the right to represent the people of Britain in government again
Part of that process must include looking at how we can better make policy together and that includes the way we develop our policy platform.
Thanks to the reforms we made, the last cycle of policy development was an important improvement.
I know that where people take part they find it fulfilling and they feel an ownership that generates enthusiasm and commitment.
But equally, the election and the leadership campaign have revealed a desire for change.
The old way of doing politics has alienated the public from the political system and we need reform and a new kind of politics that involves and engages people more directly.
From my own experience in the Deputy Leadership Election, I heard in conversations and hustings up and down the country that people want a new direction: they want a politics where we address the big issues facing our country and engage people in a serious conversation about the challenges facing our society.
The National Policy Forum needs to evolve so we can make it even better.
We need to preserve the best of it, members getting involved and shaping our policy, but look again at what we can do to take it forwards.
So I am today announcing that the NEC has agreed to hold a review of how we make policy as a party to make it more inclusive, open and democratic.
We want to hear from our members and supporters what they think works well at present, and what doesn’t work so well.
We need to reform the NPF so that in the coming years it empowers everyone to play a full and active role.
This will include looking at how we harness the opportunities new technology brings us to give our members a much greater say.
I know that working together we can build a bigger, better National Policy Forum.
And together we can build a policy programme that commands the support of the electorate and which will enable us to win in 2020.