Labour chiefs accuse party stalwarts of being out of touch

Labour HQ has launched an astonishing attack on its "foot soldiers" just weeks ahead of crucial local elections, accusing many stalwart party officials of being out of touch and obsessed with meetings.

Some constituency groups are said to have embraced community activism and social media to reinvigorate their campaigning – and win votes. But the "Refounding Labour" project launched by Ed Miliband gives a highly critical assessment of many supporters.

"Too often, meetings decide to convene more meetings to decide on activity rather than just getting on with it," the report said. And some local officers "tend to occupy their posts for many years rather than welcome new recruits".

"Constituency parties still structured for an age long gone are struggling to stay in touch with the very people we want to serve, and whose support we solicit at election time," adds the policy document, which also proposes diluting the influence of the unions.

Peter Hain, the chairman of Labour's National Policy Forum, said the party "sometimes still looks inward rather than outward, is stuck in its structures, and is not engaged with local communities or national civil society".