Hosting a Policy Pitch Competition as part of a Regional Conference is a great way to find local talent and new ideas across your region. There are three great ways to run a local CPF Competition:
For this type of competition all Conservative members are invited to submit their ideas individually. The Regional Committee picks 4 - 5 semifinalists to present their ideas at Regional Conference, and the Conference delegates vote on the winner. This is a great way to boost engagement from Conservative members who are not very involved in their Associations, and might result in new members joining the party if they invite their friends to the Regional Conference. This is also a great way to engage younger members.
Battle of the Bands
This is a competition between Associations, who each come up with 1 policy idea to present at the Regional Conference and delegates vote for the winner. This is the easiest type of event to run and works really well if you have a number of successful associations in your region, but does not work as well if you have some Associations with many more members and higher engagement than others.
This competition involves either Associations or semifinalists presenting their policy ideas, but rather than delegates voting for the winner a panel of policy experts - e.g. MPs, Councillors, Ministers, Think Tanks, NGO, Campaign groups, etc - select the winner. This is a good idea if you have high profile people attending your Regional Conference.
How to invite individuals to enter the competition
Ask the Chairman of each Association to invite their members to submit a policy idea in under 250 words. Here is a template email they might want to use.
‘What sparked you into politics? For some it’s social; the chance to meet and chat with like-minded people. For others, it’s the adrenaline and teamwork of a campaign. But for many of us, it’s different. We get involved in politics because of an idea. A cause. Whether it’s a burning injustice that’s got to be fixed, or an inspirational vision of how to make the world a better place.
The Conservative Policy Forum are searching for today’s world-changing, era-defining ideas, and we are delighted to invite you to enter our local Policy Pitch Competition. Send your policy ideas in under 250 words to <insert email address> by <date> to enter the competition. We will choose 5 of the best ideas to enter the semifinal and present their idea at our Regional Conference on <insert date>, where attendees will vote for the winner. The winning idea will be shared with the central CPF team who will help you get your idea published and presented to the relevant ministerial department.
Here is a testimonial from Emma Ware, who won the first ever Policy Pitch Competition:
‘’The competition was an extraordinary experience. To be at the grassroots and have your ideas heard and discussed by a national forum was exhilarating. My victory has given me access to senior politicians and ministers and I would urge all members to get involved.’’
This is a unique opportunity to share your vision for a better future - I look forward to seeing some outstanding ideas from across <Enter Region> .'
After the cut off date for idea submissions, congregate a panel of 3 - 6 people to judge all the ideas. To make it fair it is important that all ideas are reviewed and judged by more than a couple of people. One way to judge the submissions is for each person in the committee to rate them out of 3 based on clarity of vision, ease of implementation and the impact the idea would have. Add the scores from each of the panel together to give the ideas their final score, and the top 4- 5 ideas can be entered into the semifinal.
Contact the semifinalists to let them know they will be asked to present their idea at the Regional Conference. Let them know they should present their idea in under 250 words, which takes approximately 2 - 3 minutes to read aloud. It is a good idea to give them enough time to lobby their local Association to come to the Regional Conference to support them, which is a great way to increase turnout for the conference.
How to invite Associations to enter the competition
Each Association can decide on the best way to choose an idea. They may select one person such as the DC Political to come up with an idea, or they may decide to organise a meeting to discuss the options. All members should be told what the idea is going to be before the Regional Conference and invited to attend and support the Association.
How to run the Competition at the Conference
At the conference, it might help delegates if there is a print out of the competiton submissions on each table.
Invite each semifinalist / Association spokesperson onto the stage to present their idea in turn. After everyone has presented their ideas, invite delegates / the panel of judges to pose questions to them about their ideas.
If the delegates are voting for the ideas, you can either do it by a show of hands, or invite delegates to vote on a piece of paper and put it in a box, in a similar fashion to voting at a selection meeting. If there is a tie between two ideas, invite all the delegates to vote again for one of those two ideas.
If you have a panel of judges, ask them to pick one idea to support and explain why.
When you have identified a winner you may want to use the CPF Policy Pitch Competition Certificate and take a photo with the Regional Committee/ the panel of judges and post it on Social Media. Send the photo, the policy idea and the winners contact details to the CPF Communications Officer Katrina Sale at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will include it in our newsletter and get in touch with the winner and support their idea.