Launching a CPF:
Set up Guide
CPF Coordinator Responsibilites
Group Coordinators are responsible for organising Group meetings, broadening local participation, chairing discussions, and sending discussion responses. When a new CPF Discussion Paper is released, the Group Coordinators will ensure that a date and venue for a meeting has been agreed and circulated to all Members in the Association/Community.
CPF Groups contribute to the campaigning strength of an Association. They are a great way to involve people who have an interest in thinking about the way Conservative Party ideas and policies should be developed. As such, they provide an important extra dimension to membership of our Party.
The CPF is the vital link between ordinary Members of the Party and Government. The CPF makes it clear to every Conservative (whether they are a member or a sympathiser) that no matter who you are, where you live, or what your experience of politics is, your voice will be heard and will count.
So, having a strong, effective CPF as part of your Association or other community is another great way to attract, engage and increase your membership. This document has been prepared to help you get started.
If you are setting up a CPF through a Conservative Association you will need support from the Officers (especially the Political Deputy Chairman, who is responsible for the CPF) and the Executive Council, so it is important to consult them. It is also important that, once your CPF Group has started meeting, you report back to them regularly so that they remain fully engaged in the work that you are doing.
The most important element is to inform your Association’s members, supporters and potential supporters that the CPF is fully operational and that there will be a range of policy documents in the pipeline. Click here to use our draft email/letter that could be sent out by the Association Chairman or CPF Coordinator, explaining to your Members what the CPF is and why they might like to participate in forthcoming debates.
It is important that each CPF Group is registered through the official CPF website, so they are visible to new members before you invite them to join your group. You're new members will register on www.conservativepolicyforum.com and the CPF team will let you know who has registered to your CPF. This means there will always be a central mailing list, and CPF groups can be handed over easily. Details of all Members who register via the CPF website will be recorded via the “CPF Members” tag on VoteSource
Group Members’ personal data should be securely stored on VoteSource. Using the “CPF Members” tag on VoteSource to record a Member’s interest in policy development makes it easy to send information and feedback about discussions to the relevant Members.
All volunteers and staff handling personal data must abide by 'P3P' and GDPR standards. Any information collected and stored on behalf of the CPF must never be sold, shared, rented or used for personal purposes. The sole reason that the CPF asks for contact details is to keep Members informed of CPF discussions and events. The reason we ask for other personal details is in order to ensure that the CPF and its discussions are representative of all ages, regions and interests. No other use is permitted.
I'm ready to run my first CPF meeting - where do I start?
You might want to start the process by building on existing structures and activities, for example, introducing CPF activity into the programme of an existing supper club or within your regular meetings. If you would like to set up a dedicated CPF Group, your first step should be to form a small steering group.
The event should be well publicised in plenty of time to all Party Members, supporters and , even those that have not expressed an interest in the CPF, as the specific topic might be something that they would want to discuss. The CPF provide marketing material for each national discussion paper you can use in your social media, print and web marketing
MP and Councillor Involvement
If you are organising a meeting in a Conservative-held constituency, it may be helpful to have a strong endorsement from your MP to launch the CPF Group in your Association. The MP or other Conservative elected representatives for the area could use their social media channels and other forms of communication to raise the profile of CPF. The MP might wish to attend the first or subsequent Group meetings, particularly if the discussion is about an area in which they have a particular interest or expertise. However, the MP may also feel that their presence at a meeting might inhibit discussion, as the room could acquiesce to their knowledge and position. If they do not attend, it would nevertheless be helpful for the Group Coordinator to invite their input prior to the meeting so that Members can be informed of the MP’s position and any useful insight that they might have to offer.
The event venue will be dictated by the timing of the meeting and the size of the audience. A room within the local Conservative Club is the most obvious choice, but also a local pub or a Member’s private house are other options. One Group Coordinator has observed, “After some experimentation, we have found that the most successful option is meeting in the early evening in a private room at a pub that provides bar meals. This has also enabled some subject matter experts such as MEPs to attend.”
Running a CPF across a large region
The easiest way to run a CPF in a large or rural constituency is via video conferencing. We have produced this guide to running your CPF group via Zoom. If you want to host meetings rather than webinars, it might be more appropriate to have more than one CPF Group as the distances involved in travelling from one part of the constituency might be considerable. CPF Groups can be any size and can also be established to focus on one particular community or area of interest, so long as the group remains open to all. Examples include University CPF groups and Business CPF groups.
The CPF is open to all Members of the Conservative Party and potential supporters from throughout the UK. CPF events must reflect the full range of views and opinions of Party Members, thus enabling and facilitating open and wide debate. Organisers of CPF events should prioritise neutrality in event organisation, for example ensuring that differing viewpoints are represented when speakers are invited.
National Discussion papers
CPF papers cover topics from across the range of government departments and the plan is to publish national discussion papers at least five times a year, sometimes more. Usually each paper is given about 2 months to be completed, giving groups at least eight weeks to complete the cycle of meeting and submitting a report back to the CPF Manager. Reports should be sent by email to CPF.Papers@Conservatives.com using the template, which can be found in the Current Papers page on the website.
Debating Local Issues
In addition to national CPF Papers, Groups may occasionally decide to debate important local issues. These will vary from constituency to constituency, but they could be done in consultation with the MP and local Councillors. Local issues such as health or education could provide the platform for an interesting debate if local experts were asked to attend and address the audience.
Follow-up Discussions and Ministerial Feedback
Following the deadline for submission of reports by Groups, the CPF Manager will collate responses and present these to the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit. The Policy Unit will ensure that the policy suggestions feed into future policy development. Where appropriate, representatives from CPF Groups will be invited to a roundtable discussion with the Policy Unit in order to explore their ideas in further detail. A Ministerial reply will subsequently be prepared and circulated to CPF Groups.
It is important that all Party Members know about the activities of the CPF. Group Coordinators and Association Officers should send a copy of Group discussion reports to all the attendees and all members of the Association. Informing local Conservatives about the feedback going into Ministerial Departments will help to build the presence of CPF and encourage involvement.
Members must ensure that any use of social networking sites to promote CPF activities does not breach the Party’s requirement that Members do not compose, disseminate or promote content which is illegal, offensive, in bad taste, immoral or could otherwise be a source of embarrassment to the Party.
Political Deputy Chairmen in each local association are responsible for ensuring that there is an active CPF group, by which members' policy concerns can be heard.
The Conservative Party’s Area and Regional Officers can also be called upon to provide support for association officers, where needed.
Area Deputy Chairmen should be in regular contact with Political Deputy Chairmen and CPF Coordinators in their region to ensure that everything is progressing well in the individual Associations. By finding out what has worked well, they can also help to identify “best practice” and help other CPF Groups across the country learn and develop from new initiatives.
When a CPF Group holds a local CPF meeting that might be relevant to neighbouring Associations, then Group Coordinators can contact their Area and Regional Officers, as well as the CPF Manager, to help promote this event and try to generate additional attendance.
The CPF is committed to promoting equality of opportunity and to creating an environment in which all individuals are able to make best use of their skills, free from discrimination or harassment, and in which all decisions are based on merit.
The CPF does not discriminate on grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation (the “protected characteristics”). Everyone has a responsibility to uphold this policy and all CPF Group Coordinators and others representing the CPF are required to ensure there is no discrimination or harassment in their areas of responsibility.
The CPF Voluntary Director is elected to drive forward the work of the CPF within the Voluntary Party, working alongside the professional team to ensure effective day-to-day operational management, ensuring that CPF has a presence at all national and regional conferences, and producing an annual business plan.
The CPF Manager is responsible for developing the national policy discussion to help inform and implement future Conservative policies. The CPF Manager is the key contact between the Party’s senior volunteers with an interest in the CPF and the professional staff, both within the Conservative Party and with the PM’s Policy Unit and Ministerial Special Advisers.