Autumn Conference 2023

Motion #14

Conferences Commitee

Motion passed

The Conferences Committee isn’t a political committee like most others within the party. Our role is a more practical one: planning and running all aspects of our events alongside volunteers and hard-working, dedicated national staff. TJ Milburn (Exeter Green Party) was re-elected to the committee and then elected as Convener. The committee was joined by a new member, Cade Hatton (Wolverhampton Green Party). Ruby Tucker (Hackney Green Party) and Cameron Bairstow (Scarborough & Whitby Green Party) were both co-opted to stay on the committee, and Rachel Collinson (Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party) was co-opted as a new member. All three co-options were ratified by Spring Conference 2023.

Autumn 2022

For the first time ever, all conferences since the last report have been hybrid. The venue for Autumn 2022 was Harrogate Convention Centre. Conference has been held at the venue previously, in Spring 2016 and Autumn 2017. The online platform was CrowdComms, which we used for the first time. There were 786 bookings, about 28% of which were online, and 26% First Timers.

The workshops were held online in the weeknights leading up to Conference weekend. The timetable and links were on CrowdComms, but the actual sessions and polling were on Zoom. This is because CrowdComms can only host one stream at a time, and we had three sessions running at once.

Unlike previous online platforms where we’ve had to use Election Buddy as well as an online Conferencing platform, CrowdComms worked with us to accommodate our Standing Orders and the specific requirements needed for our voting system. This means that we can now have a video stream where people watching can also participate, and the votes come up, all on one page. Having all this on one screen has been a goal since we began online Conferencing.

The first plenary started late due to the hybrid online system not working. Thiswas fixed at the venue by CrowdComms’ staff’s quick thinking. We subsequently used CrowdComms’ streaming which ran well for the rest of Conference.

Beforehand, we ran accessibility checks - including physical visits. Nevertheless, on Saturday the electric lift to the stage needed to be manually switched on by the venue staff. This had not happened. The alternative route meant going outside the venue and through backstage access. This led to one disabled member having to present their motion from the front of the floor, which was upsetting. We share in this upset and several complaints have been sent to the venue from various representatives of the party.

Spring 2023

The venue for Spring 2023 was Eastside Rooms in Birmingham. Conference has been held there previously, in Autumn 2021. The online platform was CrowdComms for the second time. There were 496 bookings, about 32% of which were online, and 19% First Timers.

The workshops were held exactly the same as Autumn 2022.

Similarly to Spring Conference 2018 in Bournemouth - although less severe - there was snow and ice affecting travel, especially from the Yorkshire and Humber region. The committee agreed at short notice to extend the deadline by which members could swap from in-person attendance to online. This offer was taken up by about 20 members in total across all the regions and Wales. Members from Yorkshire and Humber arrived at the venue, and there were no reports of the weather having prevented anyone attending.

Previously, CrowdComms’ staff facilitated their platform for us. This time, although we still had a member of their staff on site, we did most of the facilitation ourselves, albeit with training and guidance. Having directly experienced two of our Conferences, the CrowdComms staff now have a better understanding of what improvements they could make to their platform that would help run it. We look forward to an increasingly stable relationship moving forward.

Conference Committee and Disability Group member Cade Hatton visited the venue for an accessibility check, and no significant access issues occurred. There was also a ramp instead of an electric lift to access the stage at this venue, so we didn’t have to rely on venue staff to assist.

Looking ahead

We now change to an online-only Annual General Meeting (AGM), separate from Autumn Conference, for the first time. Before, the AGM was part of Autumn Conference. Despite this separation, we are still responsible for the management, tech and registrations of the AGM. In our next report we hope to comment on how the AGM went, as well as the Conference(s). The Access Fund was originally created by a motion to GPRC. Later they handed this over to Conferences Committee to administer. Over the cost-of-living crisis, the applications have exceeded the credit in the Fund. With our GPRC friend, we have started a review process about the Access Fund, with a view to making sure it achieves its purpose.


Last year’s report mentioned that Ash Routh (SOC, Sheffield Green Party) had built an Agenda website which was well received. Ash has continued to support Conference by providing this website for each Conference throughout the year. The Conferences Committee thanks Ash for this and notes the archives of her work for the conferences in this report can be found below.

Thanks to all the staff and volunteers who keep our conferences running. Particular thanks to Anne Gayfer (ex-GPRC, South Lincolnshire Green Party) and Darren Yates (GPRC, Derbyshire Green Party), who have both been the GPRC ‘Friend’ to the committee over the last 12 months. Special thanks to Vaineta Linkiene and Fiona Shaw for helping with the front desk and taking payments. Final thanks to the Conference Manager, Louisa Greenbaum for the incredible work she does all year round.

Last updated on 2023-10-21 at 11:41