The extent of the financial and organisational challenges facing Ed Miliband’s Labour party have been revealed in a new internal review document circulated to senior party managers, and obtained by Total Politics.
According to the “Labour Party Management and Commercial Review Phase 1” the party has struggled to set a budget for 2012, is failing to meet its fundraising targets and has a lack of transparent financial governance structures.
The document, dated 1 November, reveals how “In the short term the party needs a full budget produced for 2012. The party must stick to this budget and remain determined to stick to a zero based budgeting approach”.
It adds: “The Party’s finances require far greater transparency and clarity of information. There needs to be a willingness to share this information with a wider range of stakeholders and the creation and rigid implementation of a strategic financial plan that runs through until 2015”.
The paper reveals the ongoing fundraising problems facing the Labour party in the wake of its 2010 election defeat, and says, “The Party needs to strategically review how we raise funds. The Party should bring together all fundraising and commercial activities. Develop a strong professional fundraising approach across the whole of the Party”. Specifically identified are a requirement to “review the 100 high value donors and create a plan to improve engagement” including ways to “ increase the Shadow Cabinet’s involvement in fundraising activities”; a need to improve legacy donations, described as “a much under utilised form of giving – currently being far better implemented by our rivals”; and ways to “look to develop our micro giving strategy. We do not maximise our small donation giving and need to build a strategy that involves greater sophistication and co-ordination of ‘ask’”.
The document also highlights issues in communications, “The Party must produce a more integrated communications function that develops and delivers the Party’s core narrative and message across all communications channels”; policy, “The Party must create a clearer structure for policy development and subsequently a strategic framework within which the party’s other operations work’; and research, “Opposition research needs a greater focus and resource allocation accordingly, when done well will slow and hamper the Government allowing the opportunity for Labour’s message to be delivered”.
The review also highlights problems with Labour’s field organization, warning bluntly that, “To win the next election and implement an ‘Access All Areas’ strategy the party cannot just make a few token changes to the way it operates and organises. Our field operations need to be strengthened. Going forward – the party must look to create a national field structure that builds capacity at a very local level”.
The review, commissioned by new General Secretary Ian McNicol, also recommends a wholesale restructuring of the Labour party’s Victoria Street operations, with the abolition of the two existing deputy general secretary posts and their replacement with six executive directors.
It also calls for a review of the relationship between the party and the governing National Executive Committee, claiming “The relationship is currently unsatisfactory and one that does not allow the National Executive Committee to always carry out their functions as effectively as possible”.
The Labour Party have got back to us and a spokesperson said:
“We are in the process of setting a budget for 2012 and are working to focus our recourses on winning the next general election and holding the Tories to account.”