Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Southwark Borough Conference 2011

Southwark Labour's 5th Annual Borough Conference took place last Saturday - with guest speakers Harriet Harman, Ken Livingstone and Val Shawcross, and a number of 'Break Out' sessions looking at particular policy areas. The sessions on Young People, Crime, the 'Big Society' to the 'Good Society' and Libraries were all well attended and generated loads of great ideas which we will be trying to include in our policy development over the coming months.

I think that our Borough Conference remains fairly unique within the Labour Party - an opportunity for all members in the borough to come together to discuss issues of concern and develop policy for the future.

Many issues were raised from the floor, including that of evicting those convicted of involvement in the recent disturbances from council housing. But I think we were able to explain our approach and put it in the context of all of the other work which we are doing following those disturbances- including our innovative Youth Fund and Community Conversations - which put any worried minds at rest. There has been a lot of heat and not much light generated over the issue of post-disturbance evictions. Our fundamental approach in Southwark is that anyone convicted of involvement in the riots will have a face to face interview; their individual circumstances will be considered and all options for dealing with their case considered, including the possibility of bringing possession proceedings. However, the other options available include no further action; demoted tenancies; acceptable behaviour contracts and anti-social behaviour orders.

But a good day on Saturday looking ahead to the Mayoral and GLA elections, with real enthusiasm from our membership for what Southwark Labour is doing in power.

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