Minutes Annual General Meeting, 16 March 2019, York
Bootham Room, Hilton York Hotel, 6.15 pm
Chair: Baroness Sarah Ludford, House of Lords
1. Apologies for absence
2. AGM minutes 2018
The minutes of the AGM held on 10 March 2018 at the Ramada Hotel in Southport were approved. There were no matters arising.
3. Outgoing Chair's report
The meeting recieved a two-page report from outgoing Chair Nick Hopkinson that is reproduced in the annex below. Nick was warmly thanked for his dedication to the role of Chair during the past four years.
4. Chair's report
The incoming Chair David Chalmers gave a verbal report to the meeting, introduced the recently elected Executive and answered several questions. The incoming Executive names and photos were subsequently added to the LDEG website here.
5. Accounts, Communications and Membership
These items were covered in the outgoing Chair's report refered to above.
6. Any other business
The AGM was then followed by a seminar on "Next Steps for Staying in the EU" chaired by David Chalmers. The speakers were: Tom Brake MP, Brexit Spokesperson, Baroness Sarah Ludford, Lords Brexit Spokesperson and Nick Hopkinson, Vice Chair LDEG followed by Q&A and general dicsussion.
Annex: Outgoing Chair's Report
I am constitutionally barred from serving a third two year term but am pleased to be continuing as one of the two vice-chairs to provide input and continuity.
My four years as LDEG chair have involved a thorough overhaul of LDEG.
We have completed two sets of constitutional changes, one requested by the AO Review Group (AORG) and the other in light of past conduct within LDEG. These changes have made LDEG less subject to incumbency and inaction, meaning LDEG is now more open, inclusive and diverse. Standing orders for executive meetings have also been agreed. LDEG is thus better positioned to help strengthen pro-Europeanism inside and outside the party.
LDEG submitted three well received contributions to party election manifestoes. Our initiative to create a sub-committee within the Federal International Relations Committee exclusively focused on Brexit and the EU has been welcomed and twice monthly calls have helped build links with MPs, the Lords and campaigns.
Robert Heslop and Stephen Robinson revived LDEG's dormant website. Its appearance and content is much improved, and is ready to be taken to the next stage. The number of contributions has increased including 12 reproduced contributions from myself to Lib Dem Voice.
Last year Mark Johnston and I launched a Twitter account @libdemeurope which has attracted almost 1900 followers. Our account is updated daily and is now our main shop front. We still administer the LDEG closed Facebook group and page as well as website.
Cec Tallack and I organised two successful study visits for some 22 LDEG members to Brussels, and one is being planned to Berlin in the Autumn.
Part of our mandate is to be active within the European Movement and I have been fully active spearheading its reform.
I should like to thank outgoing members of the executive, in particular Stephen Robinson, Robert Heslop, Cec Tallack and Mark Johnston. I look forward to working with our new chair, David Chalmers and a strong new team.
A number of past and present officers are unable to be present, so I am reporting on their behalf:
The outgoing executive team was considerably inconvenienced by a slow handover of financial and membership records from the officers serving until March 2017. Furthermore, our bank's (HSBC) processes were disjointed and bureaucratic, As a result, the transfer of bank signatories was only achieved in January 2018.
In light of these difficulties, a back up account was set up with Barclays and has a balance of £262.54 at 1 March 2019. The HSBC account has a balance of £7,393.83 at 1 March 2019.
Total income in the year to 1 March 2019 was £2,304.14, almost exclusively from membership subs, save £212.54 in donations (from the Brussels study trip).
LDEG's total expenditure in the past year was £1428.88, notably: a £600 contribution to the Lewisham East by-election, a stall and fringe room hire here at York (£380), room hire for the July 2018 Birmingham executive (£190), and Prater Raines website hosting (£ 244.80).
A draft budget was agreed by the LDEG Executive on 27 November 2017 setting aside £200 for each of the 12 LDEG national/regional representatives for activities. No substantive bids were received so £600 was donated to the Lewisham East by-election. This is not to say all regions have been inactive as there was pro bono activity, notably at regional conferences in Scotland, the North West, East Midlands, South West and London.
LDEG has 186 paid up members with 40 new members joining since last Autumn's conference. Robert Heslop, outgoing membership officer, has simplified the process of joining on the LDEG website. The number of membership rates has been reduced to two: a reduced discount fee of 10 pounds for new members while the previous (recommended) rate of £22 per annum remains in place. All new payments are encouraged to be made through GoCardless which features low fees and simplifies renewals and administration. All new members receive welcome emails and are encouraged to subscribe to LDEG web alerts.