How the party works
As a democratic, socialist party we welcome people to join the party from all walks of life, have their say and influence policy. We welcome membership applications from individuals, families, young people, students, workers, unemployed, older people – anyone with an interest in building a better Britain.
To newcomers, working out how everything fits together can seem a bit of a maze – but don’t let that put you off as there’s a common goal: ensuring the party remains open and democratic and help maintain contact between the party, the people and the government. Our structure, and our open policy development process enables more people than ever before to have their say.
Where you fit in
New ideas are vital if the party is to grow and develop – and we welcome your views and experiences. Labour Policy Forum, Labour’s new online home for ideas is just one example of how the party structure has been devised so that Labour Party members can have a say on policy and contribute to our next general election manifesto.
The set up
Your local party, based on the ward boundaries for the election of councillors. A lot of Labour Party activity takes place at branch level. Labour members can take part in choosing local council candidates.
Made up of several branches and based on the electoral area for the election of MPs. Via your CLP, you can choose the members from your area to represent you at annual conference and you can help select your parliamentary candidate.
Local and regional Labour Policy Forums
As a member you may be invited to attend local and regional policy discussions throughout the year. Informal, friendly gatherings, each discussion makes submissions to the policy commissions via the Labour Policy Forum website.
Submissions to Labour Policy Forum do not have to stem from events. Anybody can share their views and ideas throughout the year.
National Policy Forum (NPF)
The NPF meets several times a year to make sure that the direction of our policy reflects the broad consensus in the party. Between meetings, the representatives that make up the body liaise with the members, supporters and public who submit to Labour Policy Forum. NPF representatives will respond to submissions made, ask questions and engage in on-going debate about the issues that matter to you, feeding them back when the NPF meets to move our policy forward.
The National Policy Forum includes representatives of CLPs and regions, Labour Councillors, affiliated trade unions and socialist societies, the PLP, the EPLP and other stakeholder groups within the Party.
Labour’s eight policy commissions are tasked with carrying out the detailed work developing our ideas within their specialist areas. They meet regularly to consider the submissions made through Labour Policy Forum and to hear evidence from experts, and are responsible for drafting the Challenge Papers and Policy Documents you will find on the website.
The membership of each of Labour’s policy commissions is drawn from our National Policy Forum, the Shadow Cabinet and our National Executive Committee, and reflects all parts of our movement, including grassroots Labour Party members, representatives of affiliates such as trade unions, and elected politicians.
National Executive Committee (NEC)
Made up of representatives from each section of the party - government, MPs, MEPs, councillors, trade unions and CLPs. Members vote for their CLP representatives in a ballot each year. The NEC sets the party's objectives and oversees the running of the party nationally.
The ultimate authority in the party, Conference decides the policy framework from which the next manifesto will be drawn and sets party rules. Conference considers the policy papers prepared by the policy commissions after consulting local parties. Members choose delegates to represent them at conference - and those delegates could include you.
Shadow Cabinet meetings: