Progress Report and Updated 2018-19 Programme

As part of the ongoing renewal of the CPF, I thought you would appreciate a quick Progress Report after our highly successful Conference, with news of our updated 2018-19 Programme.

This bulletin features news on:

  • The new Voluntary Director!
  • Conference events!
  • Downing Street’s work with your policy suggestions
  • The Prime Minister’s Policy Commission
  • Upcoming Ministerial engagements with the CPF
  • Upcoming Q&A with Secretaries of State!
  • The CPF Policy Outreach Champions
  • Our latest discussion papers

New Voluntary Director

We are delighted and thrilled that former MP Flick Drummond has been elected as our new CPF Voluntary Party Director. Flick was up against a very strong team of applicants, ten of whom were interviewed by the CPF Management Team (consisting of Chairman George Freeman MP, Vice-Chairman Andrew Sharpe, the outgoing Voluntary Director Hannah David, and Policy Director John Hayward), from which three names went forward for election by members of the National Convention. Flick was revealed as the winner when the Convention met at the start of the Party Conference in Birmingham. Even better, the other two candidates have offered to provide their assistance to Flick in her new role – so it will be a supercharged team as we move forward! The Voluntary Director role is a huge job so if anyone would like to help Flick organise events around the country, please let us know.

CPF at Party Conference

We’ve had a hugely successful Conference. Thirty CPF groups were presented with Director's Awards at the CPF Drinks Reception, held at the Party Conference in Birmingham. Indeed, so many of you came, that we had to order more wine and extend the room booking!

In addition to our stand in the Party Zone, the CPF hosted three events: a workshop with our CPF Champions (who are hard at work on outreach), a panel discussion with the Conservative Women's Organisation (CWO), and our main drinks reception. Over 200 members attended our reception, filling the hall to capacity, while others queued around the corner for half-an-hour to gain entry and some reportedly came to conference just in order to attend our reception.

Policy Surveys & Secretary of State Q&As

As I wrote earlier in the year we have launched two new initiatives that give members exclusive new ways to directly engage regularly in the policy-making process. I am glad to say that thousands of you have been participating in our series of simple CPF policy surveys, which are sent out as part of CCHQ’s monthly electronic newsletter to all members; and hundreds of you joined us for our first two Q&A video conferences, firstly with the CPF team and, last month, with the Environment Secretary. If you missed these, you can still watch the latter online (the broadcast starts at around 14:50 into the recording). We will soon be announcing our next Q&A, so stay tuned!

The No 10 Policy Unit & The Prime Minister’s Policy Commission

I am also delighted to report that as well as Ministers input and feedback on submissions, the No 10 Policy Unit is now actively reviewing our CPF submissions. As we reported in our post-conference update, one CPF Group Coordinator was invited during the conference to discuss one of his policy proposals in greater detail with no fewer than three of the Prime Minister's policy advisers. Now, the PM’s Policy Unit is organising a roundtable discussion on social care with representatives from 7-8 different CPF groups in the next month, ahead of the publication of a Green Paper on social care in December. As part of the same ongoing engagement between the CPF and policy-makers, we will be hosting a video conference in November with the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care, Matt Hancock.

Later this month, the PM’s new Policy Commission (another CPF idea!) will begin its regional tour. I am delighted that its chairman, Chris Skidmore MP, has agreed to answer CPF members’ questions in our next video conference. Book the slot in your diary: 6-6.30pm Monday 22 October and watch out for an email that will be sent exclusively to everybody on the CPF mailing list nearer the time. He will explain the various ways that we have agreed that CPF members can get involved in the Commission, including:

  • Each of the Commission’s five Task Forces will include a CPF member on its team;
  • Specific inclusion of local CPF groups in the Task Forces’ regional evidence-gathering sessions;
  • Invitation for CPF Groups to discuss at least some of the set of 20 questions that each Task Force will be publishing later this month;
  • Each of the Task Forces to run a CPF session at the Party’s 2019 Spring Forum;
  • Invitation for CPF Groups to provide feedback to the Commission’s interim reports, due to be published in June/July 2019.

In addition, where the CPF has in recent months held a discussion that is relevant to one of the Task Forces, we will ensure that members’ views and suggestions are fed into to the consultation process.

Upcoming Discussion Papers

To ensure CPF Groups have covered all the relevant areas being considered by the Commission, I can reveal that our discussion plans through to next summer are now as follows:

  • Nov—Dec:    Disability & Inclusion
  • Jan—mid-Feb:     Global Britain
  • mid-Feb—Mar:    Sustaining Democracy
  • Also Nov—Mar:    optionally respond to any of the Policy Commission’s five Task Forces’ 20 Questions
  • (Apr—early-May):    election campaigning
  • early-May—Jul:    post-Brexit Economy
  • Also Jun—Aug:    optionally respond to any of the Policy Commission’s interim reports

A few months ago we asked for your feedback on the format of your discussion papers: thank you to all of those who corresponded. As a result of your feedback we are now making the papers a little less academic and readable, but without compromising on the quality of the content. We’re also trying to include more graphs and pictures, as requested, and asking questions on Conservative approaches and values rather than requiring detailed policy knowledge.

Generally, though, people are really impressed with the depth and background the papers provide, so rather than sacrificing their depth, we will put more factoids in the Appendix to try and keep supplementary information to a minimum.

We are engaged in a historic battle to defeat resurgent socialism, so there’s never been a better time to persuade people to join the CPF!

As you can see, there are a lot of opportunities for CPF members to contribute to the country’s policy-making processes, to shape the future of our communities and to be a part of our Party’s renewal. Together with our new CPF Voluntary Director, Flick Drummond, our full-time Policy Director, John Hayward, our Vice-Chairman (and National Convention Chairman), Andrew Sharpe, and our wider team of volunteers, headed by our team of CPF Champions, I want to ensure that the CPF increasingly has a real say in the direction our country is taking and continues to demonstrate how only the Conservatives will make the difficult decisions needed to secure a better and brighter future for Britain.

So, get involved and have your say. We have the privilege of living through a period of politics which will shape this country for decades to come. The CPF is your chance to shape it, and be part of it!


George Freeman

George Freeman MP
Member of Parliament for Mid Norfolk
Chairman, the Conservative Policy Forum