Can we discuss current Government policy or our own local topics?

Our official remit as part of the open ideas-generation process that characterises effective policy-making, is to help shape the Party's future national policy agenda. This presents Members with an important and exciting opportunity to contribute to wider Conservative thinking and the next Conservative manifesto. We hope you will be as enthusiastic about our mission as we are!

Nevertheless, Conservative Policy Forum groups should provide a space for all kinds of policy discussion – past, current and future; local, national and international – by members and Conservative-supporting non-members alike. So, while new discussion papers are published on our website five times a year, we also encourage groups to discuss other local and national issues in months when there is no national policy discussion paper.

If groups choose to hold additional meetings to discuss legislation currently being considered by Parliament, specific local concerns or a current Government consultation, it would usually be more appropriate for the Group Coordinator to report any conclusions to their MP and/or other local elected representatives.

Can we invite non-members to our meetings?

Yes! We hope that all Conservative associations will use the CPF as a tool to engage supporters and potential new members, not just its existing members.

Do we have to answer every question in the national discussion papers?

No. The more answers we get, the better our summary for the Minister will be. We would prefer, however, that your group enjoyed a lively and thorough discussion of fewer questions than slogged through those that might be of limited interest to some group members.

Can we send in our submission late?

Yes. The last thing we want to do is turn away submissions based on an arbitrary timeline. That said, the later your submission is, the more likely we are to have started writing our summary and the less likely that your group's work will be included in our findings when our Policy Director presents them to the Prime Minister's Policy Unit and Government Ministers.

How long before we get a ministerial response to our comments?

We aim to read submissions in the month after the deadline and then draft a summary for the Prime Minister's Policy Unit and the relevant Government Minister. This gives us enough time to consider each proposal in depth and to consult experts if further detail is necessary. Once the summary has been sent to Number 10 and the Minister, we hope to receive a response within another month but, given the workload of Ministers, this does sometimes slip a little. In addition, policy suggestions will often result in subsequent follow-up meetings and ongoing discussions with policy-makers and their advisers. These will not always be reported on, but Groups can be assured that their ideas are helping to shape future Conservative policy.