Dear CPF Members,
It is a privilege to write to you as the new Chairman of the Conservative Policy Forum, and as Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Policy Board.
The Prime Minister set up the new Board to allow greater input for Conservative MPs, peers, councillors, and members on the frontline of key policy areas to help shape the policymaking process at the heart of Government. The Prime Minister is determined to make sure, as she and the Government tackle the range of challenging domestic and international issues we face, that Conservative values and thinking on key policy issues from grassroots members as well as from Parliamentary colleagues have a conduit to the heart of Government.
A lot of work has been done to constitute the Board properly in No10/Cabinet Office and it is now meeting regularly.
As well as supporting Ministers on live policy areas, the new Policy Board will particularly focus on:
- policies which go beyond a single Department or Minister and require a cross-Government approach (e.g. mental health);
- societal, technological and other changes beyond Whitehall, and their impact on policy;
- the aggregate policy impact on people and places, which no Department currently considers, but which will be essential to our future political and policy success: making sure we connect with the voters who feel 'left behind' and have a strong post-Brexit policy programme to ensure we win well in 2020.
The intention is that the Board will invite, collate and process new thinking in thematic policy areas of particular interest, and, depending on the level of response, potentially commission Working Groups to help develop proposals in specific areas. I'm determined that through the new Board the CPF will have a direct line into Ministers.
I wanted to write to let you know how you can help us with the next steps.
In the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor set out our plan for continuing our programme of economic reforms to improve productivity, boost Britain’s long-term competitiveness, and build an economy that works for everyone. At the same time, we are continuing our social reforms to build a country that works for everyone and demonstrate that the Conservative Party is on the side of people who, as the PM said in her inspiring words on entering No10, have too often been left behind by Whitehall and Westminster politics.
In this spirit, throughout the course of 2017 we would like you to help us feed in, through your discussions, your ideas, reflections and thoughts on policy areas that will be vital over the months and years ahead.
In total the CPF is aiming to publish five national Policy Papers next year. The management team in CCHQ are planning to send out a new topic for discussion in January, March, May, September and November.
The Policy Board has now set out a forward work programme for 2017 policy development in three key areas:
- Globalisation and economic competiveness
- Social reform and social justice
- Reconnecting with disconnected voters
After some discussion, we have decided that the first three CPF papers of 2017 will examine the following:
- Cost of Living – how to ease the cost of living for those who have seen their cost of living rise faster than their income.
- Adult Social Care – how, as a society, we should fund and provide 21st century adult social care and better alignment of health and care for an ageing population.
- Skills and Training for a 21st Century Workforce – how to make sure we make the necessary skills step-up to improve UK productivity and create opportunities for more UK workers to benefit from globalisation and technology and the rapidly changing workplace.
The CPF team will be in touch shortly with the framework and background for the first paper on the Cost of Living. We very much look forward to receiving your thoughts via the usual CPF network and procedures.
As well as these identified themes, please feel free to forward your own ideas for additional policy themes or specific policy Proposals via the usual CPF email address email@example.com (heading your email “Future Policy discussions 2017”).
Thank you in advance.
We will be in touch again in due course with more information on the January paper on Cost of Living.
I very much look forward to working with you on this next exciting chapter.
With best wishes for a very Happy Christmas.
George Freeman MP
Chairman, Conservative Policy Forum
Chair, The Prime Minister's Policy Board
Member of Parliament for Mid-Norfolk