Jeremy Middleton is chairman of the National Conservative Convention.
On Saturday ConservativeHome posted extracts from an internal paper, Our Future – proposals to develop the voluntary party. This document contains a series of proposals designed to help the Voluntary Party progress, to attract new people and to be more efficient. All members of the National Convention have been invited to comment on it in detail with a view to reaching agreement amongst the Volunteers before the Party Conference.
The paper is a serious attempt to get all parts of the Party to agree on the importance of the Voluntary Party, to get the Voluntary Party growing again and to attract new people. It also aims to ensure that the Voluntary Party governs itself, and recognises that this requires us to take more responsibility as well as more authority from the centre.
It is a serious attempt to say that we, the Voluntary Party can deliver more, but that we need proper professional support to do it. It neither offers a panacea to every problem we have nor highlights every opportunity. But it is a serious attempt to make progress and we are making a serious attempt to consult widely and to improve our proposals.
I would encourage those of your readers who want to influence our discussions to lobby their National Convention members who, as the elected representatives of the volunteers, have been invited to respond in detail. All Association Chairmen, all Area Officers and all Regional officers are on the Convention, as are the senior members of the Womens organisation and Conservative Future.
ConHome readers should be aware that the proposals come from the Voluntary Party. I drafted it and the Volunteer Strategy Team made up of the most Senior Volunteers endorsed it. It would be wrong to see this as the work of Conservative Headquarters. Also the paper takes no position on Policy and is focused exclusively on the role of the Volunteers and how we organise ourselves. Naturally the political position is pivotal to everything we do, but is not the issue we address here. Finally, it is also worth pointing out that it is only a consultation document, so may change depending on the responses.
The only motivation of the Volunteers who have worked on these proposals is to see the Voluntary Party they love, grow larger, stronger and more efficient. The aim is to help our party. I think that it is only right that on occasion we challenge ourselves to do better. This is such an attempt.
Below are links to pdf files summarising each proposal on which the consultation is taking place:
- Proposal 1: To link Political Campaigning and Social Action and make them the mission and purpose of Local Associations
- Proposal 2: To help Associations Broaden their Appeal in their Communities by involving more people including Parliamentarians, Councillors and new supporters
- Proposal 3: To Help Area Teams deliver Best Practice to their Associations
- Proposal 4: To Empower Regional Teams to Create a Culture of Accountability, Responsibility and Expectation
- Proposal 5: To provide the professional support needed