Almost any membership organisational structure requires some form of Annual General Meeting (AGM) at which those running the organisation can report back to the members, agree accounts, and possibly be held to account.

In the case of a political party the AGM is often held as part of a Party Conference at which the membership have some degree of say over the policy and direction of the party.

When PEOPLE was founded in 1973 the founders were explicitly NOT trying to create a new political party, they were trying to create a 'movement' to fight elections. Lesley Whittaker discovered that you did not have to be a formal political party to contest elections with a common group name (this was changed by the 1998 Registration of Political Parties Act which specified that if a candidate was not standing for a registered party then he/she could only be described as "Independent").

Despite their best efforts PEOPLE was consistently referred to by the media as a "party", and by 1975 he gang of four bowed to the inevitable and the name was changed to the Ecology Party.

Although they initially eschewed having a formal constitution or an AGM, they did see the need for holding conferences at which the membership could engage with the running of the party.

There were various other earlier meetings and gatherings, for example the September 1972 London meeting organised by the ecologist for Movement for Survival and the public launch of PEOPLE in February 1973, but the first official conference of the political green movement in the UK was held by PEOPLE in June 1974 in Coventry.

In November 1975 the Ecology Party National Executive Committee (NEC) degreed that "a formal AGM to be held at each annual conference." thus effectively formally introducing annual conferences.

The 1979 Conference  held in September decided that a second annual conference primarily to discuss policy matters would be introduced in the Spring. Thus the pattern of two conferences each year was established - a spring conference to focus on policy and an autumn conference to be the AGM and hold elections for officers as well as debating and approving policy.

The Green 2000 Constitution in 1991 made provision for delegate conferences rather than all paid up members being entitled to attend and vote. This was overturned in 1999 and once again any member could turn up and vote.

A table of locations of conferences from 1974

  There are still a few gaps - if you were there and remember where you were then let us know at the usual address - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Year Spring/Only Notes Autumn AGM Notes
1972  In September The Ecologist organised a Movement for Survival conference in London. The aim was to recruit organisations to sign up to Movement but in the event more individuals than organisations attended.
1973 PEOPLE attempted to organise a "Jigsaw" conference in Birmingham in June, again attempting to interest organisations in joining PEOPLE as associates to build a political movement. The conference was cancelled when advance bookings fell far short of expectations.
1974 Coventry (June) PEOPLE's first conference/AGM between the elections. 70 attended. First Manifesto ratified for use in October
1975 Coventry (June) Name change to Ecology Party agreed. First MfSS ratified. J Tyler joins NEC  
1976 Sheffield (Sept)
Cross Hill
Only 27 attendees - the party at a low ebb. NEC instructed to focus on developing regional and local structures with the aim of replacing themselves by a national assembly of delegates. Steve Lambert joins NEC, Whittakers drop out.  
1977 Birmingham (Sept)
University House
50 paid-up members attended. New Constitution ratified, founders stepping aside. Conference agreed that the Party must appear and act nationally (reversing the previous conference view). J.Porritt & D.Flemming join NEC, Goldsmith drops out.  
1978 Birmingham (Sept)
University House
101 attendees   also in Jan the first regional conference held by SW Region in Exeter, 40+ attended.
1979 Stoke (Sept)
Keele University 
200+ attended. London office agreed but elected leader rejected by 95-92 votes (2/3rds needed). Petra Kelly guest speaker.  
1980 Manchester (April)
University
Policy Conference, also genesis of the Gatherings Cardiff  
1981  ???   Malvern  
1982 Bridlington   Bridlington  
1983 Malvern    Malvern Campaign for Real Democracy 
1984 Southport   Southport  
1985 Dover combined with Euro Green Congress Dover Name change to Green Party 
1986 Malvern    ???  
1987 Newcastle   Birmingham
Aston University
 
1988   ???     ???  
1989 London
Porchester Hall 
  Wolverhampton
Civic Hall
 
1990   ???  (also Coventry EGM on constitutional issues) Wolverhampton
Civic Hall 
 
1991 Bridlington
Spa Hall 
  Wolverhampton
Civic Hall
adopted Green 2000 constitution 
1992 Bridlington
Spa Hall 
  Wolverhampton
Civic Centre 
 
1993 Wolverhampton
Civic Centre 
  Hastings
White Rock Theatre 
GPRC strategy doc approved
1994 Southport
The Floral Hall 
  Hastings
White Rock Theatre 
 
1995 Weston-super-mare
The Winter Gardens 
  Southport
The Floral Hall 
 
1996 Dover
Town Hall 
  Hastings
White Rock Theatre 
 
1997 Scarborough
The Spa Complex 
  Hastings
White Rock Theatre 
 
1998 Scarborough
The Spa Complex 
  Weston-super-mare
The Winter Gardens
 
1999 London
Conway Hall
  Southport
The Floral Hall
 
2000 Scarborough
The Spa Complex
  Weston-super-mare
The Winter Gardens
 
2001 Chesterfield
The Assembly Rooms
  Salisbury
Salisbury Arts Centre
 
2002 Scarborough
The Spa Complex
  Lancaster
St Martins College
 
2003 Llandrindod Wells
The Pavillion
  Lancaster
St Martins College 
 
2004 Hove
Town Hall 
  Weston-super-mare
The Winter Gardens
 
2005 Chesterfield
The Winding Wheel
  Lancaster
St Martins College
 
2006 Scarborough
The Spa Complex
  Hove
Town Hall
 The leader debate part 1
2007 Swansea
Brangwyn Hall
The great Leader debate -> referendum agreed. Support Swansea Lagoon not Severn Barrage. Seize the Day play. Liverpool
Liverpool Hope Uni
 
2008 Reading
The Town Hall
  London
SOAS
First Leader Election result. Ken Livingstone appears on a panel. Green New Deal introduced & adopted.
2009 Blackpool
The Winter Gardens
Cavernous venue but bargain basement hire charge!  Hove
Town Hall
 
2010 London
The Arts Depot, Finchley
  Birmingham
Conservatoire
 
2011 Cardiff
The Angel Hotel
  Sheffield
Hallam University
 
2012 Liverpool
The Adelphi Hotel
Venue reminiscent of "The Shining"  Bristol
Council House
 
2013 Nottingham
East Midlands Conf.Centre 
40th Birthday Party. Founder present. There was cake!  Brighton
Hilton Metropole
Venue too expensive for evening hire so food and entertainments elsewhere 
2014 Liverpool
St.George's Hall
Local fracking activists attend  Birmingham
Aston University
Lost in a maze of twisty little passages and the marquee springs a leak. 
2015 Liverpool
ACC
Over 2000 attended.   Bournemouth
International Centre
Post election blues - low attendance=financial loss but weather & marquee on beach was good. 
2016 Harrogate
International Centre
Criticised as "middle class" venue, but the right size  Birmingham
University of B'ham 
Conference split between sites on campus 
2017 Liverpool
ACC
Joint congress with Global Greens and European Green Party. The Fab Beatles play. Harrogate
International Centre
GPEW awards ceremony 
2018 Bournemouth
International Centre
Snowed out but soldiered on  Bristol
City Hall