Advisory Group - Member-Wide Consultation

Advisory Group - Member-Wide Consultation

Advisory Group - Member-Wide Consultation

Advisory group

The advisory group is made up of volunteers working together to provide advice and guidance to the independent contractor and WE staff managing the consultation. They have a range of views on the topic, but are broadly balanced  on their views self-ID. 

Advisory group selection

Two members of the Policy Committee were appointed to the advisory group by the Policy and Steering Committees, Tabitha Morton and Ruth Wilkinson, to provide continuity on the consultation process and to advise on our policy areas.

Following an open application process, four members of the Party were invited to join the advisory group. The group of six met on Friday 14th August, and agreed that between them they had gaps of knowledge and experience necessary for informed and robust advice and ensuring the range of witnesses needed. Gaps included experience of and connections with people with trans identities; BAME representation; and experience of working in the violence against women sector. 

The initial group agreed to reach out to additional people, including non-members, to invite them to join the group (in that time, two of the appointed members stepped down due to conflict of interests arising from professional opportunities and advising a political party). 

An additional four members were invited to join the advisory group, which now has eight members in total. Meetings of the group are also attended by Erin Mansell, and some meetings by the project manager at NatCen. Neither have a vote in decision-making. 

Advisory group members

Tabitha Morton

Policy Committee

Tabitha is the spokesperson for Ending Violence against Women and Deputy Leader of the Party. Tabitha has been on the Policy Committee for almost two years, and played a significant role in creating a citizen’s assembly design for the member consultation. Tabitha believes that of our seven objectives ending violence against women and girls is key, while it’s still acceptable for women to be raped and killed, none of us will be free. When designing policy or campaigning Tabitha focusses on the furthest in our communities first, gaining equality for one group should never leave others behind. She is also the CEO of cross-party campaigning organisation, More United.

Tabitha and Ruth Wilkinson provide continuity of oversight of the process. They have different views on the topic and were nominated by the Policy Committee with the need for balance on the Advisory Group in mind.

Ruth Wilkinson

Policy Committee

Ruth was elected spokesperson for equality in Scotland at the beginning of the year. She is currently doing an MSc in Applied Gender Studies at Strathclyde University and has lived in Scotland for over twenty years. She and Tabitha Morton provide continuity of oversight of the process. They have different views on the topic and were nominated by the Policy Committee with the need for balance on the Advisory Group in mind. 

Rae Webster

Party member

Rae is a recently retired doctor, she was a consultant in intensive care. She holds a Law degree (LLB Hons) and has had specific training in the Equality Act 2010 (EA) and Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) for her roles as Clinical Director, Educational and Clinical Supervisor and membership of Appointment Committees for doctors, nurses and support staff. Rae is an Accredited Mediator (London School of Mediation) and has also undergone training in Workplace Mediation. She has concerns around the impact of potential reforms to the Gender Recognition Act on women’s spaces, the narrowing of gender stereotypes and de-platforming of academic women. 

Alex Borwick

Party member

Alex has many years of professional experience building women's spaces and is well versed in the issues around inclusivity and safety that are inherent in saying something is "for women". In university, she contributed to a women's debate network and since then has founded women's improv groups. She now works as a project manager for a large girl focussed UK charity. Alex develops policies and quality standards in accordance with members' needs and current legislation. Alex believes in making the equality tent bigger, not smaller. 

Christina Grimwade

Party member


Christina is a parent of two children and a trans woman who's a vocal part of the LGBTQ+ community where she is treasurer of her local pride event and volunteers for a local LGBTQ+ charity. Feeling there aren't enough trans voices being listened to and feeling the need to defend herself constantly, she has conducted a lot of research into the GRA and the EA in order to become informed about the legislation and her rights under the law.

Val Carpenter


Val set up her first women’s liberation group in 1969 and has been involved in the women’s liberation movement ever since. She was the first Girls and Young Women's officer at the National Association of Youth Clubs, fighting for the voices and rights of young women. She set up NCBI and then Diversity Hub training citizens in skills to tackle prejudice and discrimination and do community-based conflict resolution.

Gita Sahgal


Gita is a writer and journalist. Gita co-founded Southhall Black Sisters in 1979, and in 1989 she co-founded Women against Fundamentalism. Gita was Head of Amnesty International’s Gender Unit between 2002 and 2010, when she left in a dispute with Amnesty over its endorsement of Moazzam Begg, the director of an organisation supporting detained men, who also supported the Taliban despite its record on women’s rights.  

Tori Cann


Dr Victoria Cann is a Lecturer in Humanities and Course Director of MA Gender Studies in the Interdisciplinary Institute for the Humanities at the University of East Anglia. She works in the fields of cultural studies, sociology and gender studies and is author of the book Girls Like This: Boys Like That: the reproduction of gender in contemporary youth cultures(IB Tauris, 2018).  Tori is from a working-class family and is the only member of her family to have gone to university. She is passionate about engaging and finding a place for working class and other underrepresented students in higher education and committed to bringing feminist projects to her local community and beyond.


Application criteria

The criteria used to select the initial members of the group are set out below, for information. 

To ensure diverse representation within the group, additional weighting was to be given to people with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 and under-represented groups. 


 Selection criteria used to select members  Essential   Desirable 

 One or more of:

  • Legal expertise in the Gender Recognition Act 2004, Equality Act 2010 and/or other relevant legislation.
  • Public policy expertise relevant to WE's mission and/or any of WE’s seven policy areas.
  • Professional or voluntary experience relevant to WE's mission and/or any of WE’s seven policy areas.



 An excellent understanding of the role of the advisory group and its members.



 The ability to work effectively as part of a team.



 The ability to foster respectful engagement.



 Availability between 14th August and 28th September.



 The ability to work to tight deadlines and good time management.



 The ability to consume and understand large amounts of information.



 Good analytical skills.



 Good written and verbal communication skills.



 Good IT skills.



Terms of reference


Consultation Advisory Group




To advise the independent organisation carrying out the members' assembly process to ensure the assembly’s plans, evidence and materials are accurate, balanced and unbiased and perceived as such by the outside world.


The Advisory Group will make decisions with regards to the witness selection process for the Members' Assembly and work with the independent organisation to plan the assembly and react to their requests throughout the process.

The advisory group shall ensure the assembly hears from the broadest possible range of expertise and lived experience from the witnesses, while retaining a deliberative process that is as consensus-building as possible. 

Factors to be considered include: 

  • Process for witnesses to put themselves forward;
  • Ensuring anonymous evidence can be gathered;
  • The format of the evidence;
  • Criteria for selecting the witnesses;
  • Sourcing of additional witnesses to meet the requests of the assembly.


The advisory group will work with the independent organisation throughout the members assembly process to make decisions that are relevant to its purpose.


The advisory group will have no more than 11 members. 

Of those 11, there must be: 

  • Two Policy Committee members, to bring their knowledge of WE policy and selected for their different viewpoints on the question of self-ID.

Of the other people on the advisory group, one or more of the following criteria for membership must be fulfilled: 

  • Expertise in the current laws relevant to the assembly question.
  • Public policy expertise in one or more of our seven policy areas - policy-making and/or application.
  • Professional experience across our seven policy areas.

It is a condition of membership of the advisory group that they foster respectful engagement, and commit to the aims of the assembly by providing a balance of evidence to the assembly members.


Chair of the advisory group to be elected at the first meeting of the advisory group by a two/thirds majority. If further votes are required these will also be by two/thirds majority.

The advisory group will meet by Zoom, initially to decide the criteria for the call for witnesses by the 16th August. After the initial process, they will work with the independent organisation running the assembly to select witnesses before the first meeting of the members assembly on 24th August.

They will then be available throughout the members assembly as required until the 28th September.

The group may conduct business about routine planning matters by email.


The chair of the advisory group will work with the independent organisation, central office staff and Steering Committee, in order to meet the requirements of the members assembly.


The advisory group will have the use of the party’s Zoom account. 

The advisory group will produce its agendas in conjunction with the independent organisation. The advisory group will take its own minutes. 


Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

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