Clause I. National action by the Party
[Pages 32 & 33]
Action by CLPs
1 It shall be the duty of the General Meeting of a CLP to take all necessary steps to enforce the constitution, standing orders and rules of the Party within its constituency and to safeguard the programme, policy and principles of the Party within its constituency. A CLP shall take such action as it deems necessary for such purposes in accordance with the following provisions:
A Any complaint or allegation made of breach of the constitution, rules or standing orders of the Party shall be made in writing to the secretary of the CLP either by a Party branch or by an organisation affiliated to that Party, or by a member of the CLP. Such complaint or allegation shall state that the complainant wishes disciplinary action to be considered.
B Upon such complaint being made, the secretary shall refer it to the Executive Committee of the CLP who shall decide by resolution whether the complaint calls for investigation.
C Any resolution of the Executive Committee shall be reported to the General Meeting which shall decide whether to authorise the recommended investigation.
D Where there is not an Executive Committee in place within the CLP, the matter shall be referred direct to the General Meeting which shall decide by resolution whether the complaint calls for investigation.
E Any person proposed to be the subject of such an investigation shall reside or be registered as an elector within the constituency or shall have been resident or registered as an elector within the constituency at the time of the actions subject to complaint. If that person is a member of the General Meeting and/or Executive Committee s/he shall have full rights to participate and vote in the meetings of the committee of which s/he is a member when this matter is considered.
F The secretary shall immediately following any such resolution contact the regional office of the Party to ensure the correct implementation of the disciplinary procedures at all stages, including the formulation of any charges.
G Where the General Meeting so authorises an investigation the Executive Committee shall appoint three of its members to act as investigators. The investigators may be agreed by the original Executive Committee meeting, subject to subsequent endorsement by the General Meeting. None of these investigators shall be a party to or a subject of the original complaint.
H The investigators shall conduct their investigation of the complaint(s) or allegation(s) in such a manner as they see fit, including the receipt of written evidence from the complainant(s), those complained against and from other Party members.
I The investigators shall decide whether or not a prima facie case can be made out and, if so, shall formulate a charge or charges and shall report to the General Meeting. Their report to the General Meeting shall be limited to whether they have found a prima facie case and, if so, the proposed charge or charges. The charge must specify which rule(s) of the Party have been breached. The General Meeting shall decide at this stage which of the proposed charges, if any, are to be preferred.
J None of the investigators shall participate in or vote at the General Meeting at this stage, except that one member of the investigating team only shall present the report of the investigators and answer questions thereon but still not vote.
K If the General Meeting decides that a charge or charges should be preferred, it shall instruct the investigators to prefer these charges and accompanying evidence together with, if so decided, a recommendation for disciplinary action. The investigators shall appoint one of their number to act as ‘the presenter’ of the case which shall be preferred to the NCC of the Party for determination. All the evidence and documentation to be relied on in presenting the case must accompany the charges to be preferred.
L The charges shall be forwarded to the secretary of the NCC at the Head Office of the Party who shall liaise with the presenter and the chair of the NCC to arrange for the case to be brought before the committee or a panel thereof and for dates and venues for a hearing if appropriate. The NCC shall determine the charges, by hearing or otherwise and having regard to their procedural guidelines. The decision of the NCC as to whether in its opinion there is a case to answer, or whether in its opinion the charges are proved or not proved, and any disciplinary action to be imposed shall be final.
M Procedural guidelines in disciplinary cases brought before the NCC is appendix 6 at the rear of the Party’s rule book, or can be obtained from the Governance and Legal Unit at Head Office. The investigation team should familiarise itself with the content of the document before commencing their investigation.