Conservative Diary

Benchmarking CF

5 Nov 2007 13:34:36

ForwardTogether's accountability proposals

Some thought has gone in to these:

  • publish at the start of the year all NME work plans to allow the membership to see the goals and progress of NME members throughout the year
  • hold an NME meeting once a month on a well advertised date and allow observers to attend
  • publish the decisions of NME meetings the very next day
  • publish the minutes of NME meetings by the following Monday
  • require NME members to produce monthly reports
  • require Area Chairmen to produce quarterly reports that will be made available on the website
  • publish a monthly newsletter with individual reports from each NME member, local CF leaders and guest writers and distribute via email, facebook and the website
  • include in the newsletter a round-up of CF activity across the country
  • advertise opportunities for campaign management training, media training and internships at home and abroad, of interest to CF members.

Good stuff, I hope other candidates will come up with equally detailed proposals rather than the usual vague platitudes.

25 May 2007 10:31:51

Matthew Richardson's sixth monthly report

Matthew_richardson The more perceptive of you will have noticed that I did not make a report last month, which was largely because nothing happened in April.


There have been no NME meetings since my last report.  I have attended several CF events, including the Tooting Campaign Day and Tooting CF launch, National Convention and Spring Forum.  I also visited with Greater Manchester CF for drinks and a “getting to know you” session.  I am astounded by the good work that GMCF is doing and I look forward to their summer ball.

Campaigning portfolio

In my last report I mentioned that it has been suggested that I should establish a brand for national CF campaign days in order to distinguish them from local action days. I would still like ideas from members of CF as to what this brand might be.

At the start of the year I was given a work plan which required me to run 6 days before the end of my term in office with a total of 200 people attending.  So far I have run 5 days with 265 people attending.  I do intend to run all 6 days and I hope that the total number of activists will be closer to 300.

In addition to this I am putting together a file of what I consider to be “best practice” for CF national campaign days.  I will be handing this file to the National Organiser before the close of nominations of the next CF election.  The quick turnover of CF officers often means that useful tips that are picked up in any given year are lost when the new batch of officers are elected. I will be encouraging each of the other members of the exec to submit such a file before the close of nominations.

Continue reading "Matthew Richardson's sixth monthly report" »

5 Apr 2007 06:45:00

Christian Walker's Communications update

Christian_walkerSince my last update in January I have been busy on a number of projects which I am now able to feed back on below.  Being on the Executive continues to be both rewarding and infuriating in almost equal measures!  I continue to support on a daily basis anyone that has requested help and information and I am usually able to find positive resolutions.  Some of these outcomes also inform improved communication on a wider level for example policy forums – see below.  We have a number of new branches with individuals contacting me from areas where there have not been active branches for a long time.  These people are now pushing not always smoothly but with a determination to succeed.

I have continued to travel around although not as much I would have liked – remember if you need some extra support at an event from a member of the executive – just ask! 

There was a good response to the consultation, it closed at the end of February and it has taken a considerable amount of time to sort through the results before I was able to report back - I am not going to duplicate these results here.

Continue reading "Christian Walker's Communications update" »

2 Apr 2007 13:28:15

Results of the CF consultation published

The consultation of CF members was an excellent initiative. The geographic impartiality of the internet, combined with the significant number of responses (768) make its results authoritative. I'm particularly pleased that CF Diary got such a positive rating and that the results have been published here for all members to see. For once we actually have some facts on which to base our opinions on the state of Conservative Future, and I'm sure this and other blogs will digest them over the coming weeks.

Message from Christian Walker (Exec member for Communications):

Have_your_sayA big thank you to everyone that replied to the consultation.  The consultation with members was the first for a long time and was carried out with a zero budget but despite the knock-on drawbacks of this in terms of format it has provided information that will inform work this year and next year's NME in addition to the Communication Strategy I have been working on.

There were multiple aims of the consultation including getting people thinking about CF – how it operates, how they can contribute and how they would like to see it develop and also inform membership priorities. 

Until the new membership database is fully operational determining the number of CF members is difficult but it is widely agreed to be around 15,000.  768 replies were received to the consultation therefore it had a response rate of 5%.  Consultations of this sort would hope for a response of between 5% and 10% therefore while the response rate is not great it can be argued it is a representative figure.

Click continue to see the results in detail...

Continue reading "Results of the CF consultation published" »

19 Mar 2007 13:27:15

Craig Cox's latest progress report

The last few weeks since my last report have been rather busy, and I will now attempt to tell you what I have achieved, and what I aim to do in the sunset of my first term.

Marginal Seats

  • In my marginal seats of Wirral West, Portsmouth N+S, Pendle, and Solihull, we have had events pulling in an average of about 15 members, mostly new. We have had follow up events planned by myself in all of the constituencies, with successful events taking place in Solihull and Portsmouth. The event for Wirral West happens on the 21st March, and the event in Solihull has been postponed so that the new committee can organise something autonomously.
  • Following on from the last point, we now have an active committee in each of these marginal seats, comprising of new and existing members. The speed with which this has happened, and the success which they will undoubtedly achieve is to the testament of their hard work, and the guidance they have recieved from not only myself, but all members of the NME this year. For instance, Solihull CF plan to do a racing day at some point in the future, and Wirral West CF have provisional plans to have a regional dinner.
  • These new branches also have a respect from the Association themsleves, with each Chairman feeling they are recieving more than adequate support from the Association. This has been made possible by PPC's and Association Chairmen coordinating and supporting our decisions throughout.
  • These new branches have enjoyed early successes, but they will only survive with the hard work of the new committee, and the support from the parent Association. It has been hard work, but great fun, in getting these branches fully functional, and some support is still necessary. I plan to have all of the branches well-oiled enough to go it alone by mid-April.
  • I have recieved much support and advice from my NME counterparts, especially Mark Clarke and Claire Palmer, who have offered assistance and advice where ever possible. But support and aid has also come from elsewhere; Conservative party members, CWF supporters, and other fringe group involvement has made this process much smoother and fibrous. I wish to thank them all.
  • In the last months of my term, I aim to help consolidate a branch at Nottingham Trent University, and have a fully functional CF operation in the Nottingham City Federation. I will be working closely with Edward Keene in this process, who deserves much credit for what has happened already. I believe with the experience I have gained so far, and with the relevant national support, these dreams can become reality. I also plan to meet with other associations around the country to try and get the ball rolling for next years committments to branch creation.

Continue reading "Craig Cox's latest progress report" »

9 Mar 2007 15:51:15

Matthew Richardson's fifth monthly report

I have deliberately delayed the publication of this report in order that I could make a full and detailed report of the South Ribble Campaign day and also because nothing interesting really happened in February.


I have attended one meeting of the National Management Executive; the sole purpose of this meeting was to select the CF delegates to National Convention. I will deal with this later in the report

In addition to this I attended the South Ribble campaigning day, and the new members, new MPs event in the Pitcher and Piano on Trafalgar Square.

Campaigning portfolio

In my last report I mentioned that it has been suggested that I should establish a brand for national CF campaign days in order to distinguish them from local action days. I would still like ideas from members of CF as to what this brand might be.

At the start of the year I was given a work plan which required me to run 6 days before the end of my term in office with a total of 200 people attending. So far I have run 4 days with 187 people attending. I do intend to run all 6 days and I hope that the total number of activists will be closer to 300.

In addition to this I am putting together a file of what I consider to be “best practice” for CF national campaign days. I will be handing this file to the National Organiser before the close of nominations of the next CF election. The quick turn over of CF officers often means that useful tips that are picked up in any given year are lost when the new batch of officers are elected. I will be encouraging each of the other members of the exec to submit such a file before the close of nominations.

Continue reading "Matthew Richardson's fifth monthly report" »

5 Feb 2007 09:49:09

Marginal seats events

Update from Claire Palmer, CF Deputy Chairman

At the recent CF Executive meeting we have decided to add two more marginal seats for National CF to help set up branches: Ribble South and Great Yarmouth. New Executive member, James Dinsdale will be working with me to help progress these branches for PPCs Lorraine Fulbrook and Brandon Lewis.

Since my last Marginal Seats update, we have had events in Finchley, Solihull, Portsmouth and Loughborough. All had new members that hadn't been involved in the Party before, and most saw existing unorganised members get together and meet for the first time.

If you know anyone in any of our marginal seats please do let them know about upcoming events, and encourage them to come along and get involved. Some dates for the diary, for the next set of events:

Continue reading "Marginal seats events" »

1 Feb 2007 08:55:14

Matthew Richardson's fourth report

I have been told that my reports are too critical; I trust that this report will be sufficiently fluffy and in keeping with the preferences of CCHQ. I hope that it will continue to convey some meaningful information to the members of CF.


I have attended one meeting of the National Management Executive, held at the CF chairman’s house. He was kind enough to cook us a nice lamp chop meal. I am pleased that his chairing skills are better than his culinary abilities.

Dan_hamiltonWe co-opted Daniel Hamilton to the media position. I voted in favour of this, knowing Daniel to be a talented and experienced press officer capable of raising CF’s profile in the media. We also co-opted Paul Hayes to the position of social action co-ordinator. I voted for him as I believed that he would add geographical diversity to the NME as well as meeting the requirements of the post. We agreed on the system for selecting CF’s delegates to the National Convention which is here. I voted in favour of this as I believe it to be the best way to get a fair spread of CF activists involved in convention. The selection meeting will be 6th February.

Continue reading "Matthew Richardson's fourth report" »

3 Jan 2007 07:46:00

Christian Walker's monthly communication update

Best Wishes to you all for the New Year.


December as usual was a busy month for everyone especially in Conservative Future; this followed a busy three months with new branches being created in a number of marginal seats.  As well as addressing communication (my main focus) I have also concentrated on new marginal seats being able to attend events including ones in Torbay, Worcester, Stroud and Derby concluding with the CF Christmas Party in London.


The Consultation website is nearing completion.  The consultation team, led by myself, were perhaps a little over confident in how much spare time we would have over the festive break – but it is heads down now...

When the website is complete I will be contacting all Area Chairman to ensure they have its details as well as more officially touching base with them during the second quarter under this leadership team. 

Continue reading "Christian Walker's monthly communication update" »

2 Jan 2007 19:10:00

Matthew Richardson's third monthly report

Mathewrichardson_2I hope that everyone had a happy and holy Christmas and a thoughtful New Year. Once again the publication of this report has been delayed, this time by the festive period. Please accept my apologies; I understand how important it is to keep you informed of my activities.

There have been no official NME meetings since my last report but I attended the CF Christmas Party and the Battersea campaigning day, both in my official capacity. I have been in regular contact with the executive via email and I am pleased that each member is fulfilling his or her individual responsibilities to the satisfaction of the chairman (such as that is.)

I have been unable to evaluate the performance of Greig Baker, our newly-co-opted member.

Continue reading "Matthew Richardson's third monthly report " »

8 Dec 2006 14:05:00

Craig Cox's progress report

Craigcox_1 Good progress has been made in my NME role of specialised branch creation. I am co-ordinating in four target constituencies throughout the country, being Solihull, Pendle, Portsmouth (North and South), and Wirral West. 


Mark Clarke, Claire Palmer and I attended a dinner organised by Pendle Association in Manchester, and used the opportunity to discuss the branch creation strategy. We have now made a decision on a date, time and venue for an event to revitalise their CF branch. It is scheduled for the 18th December at 8pm, at the Sparrow Hawk pub in Fence.  Full address and details here.

Wirral West

Following a good discussion with local CFers in Wirral West, we have similarly organised an event for the under 30s in Wirral West. It has been confirmed to take place at Venue TBC on the 6th February at 8pm. The constituency association and PPC have been fundamental in the organisation of this event, so please do support it. 

Continue reading "Craig Cox's progress report" »

7 Dec 2006 23:37:00

Communications update

Christian_walker By Christian Walker, CF Exec member

November has been another month of encouragement for CF, during my travels to Torbay, Worcester, Stroud and Derby I have continued to meet great proactive CF chairmen both at area and branch level supported by members wanting to contribute more.

For the National Leadership Team it is has been a busy month and for me one full of challenges with some slight frustrations! During October I got to understand how CF actually operates and how the current communication system operates – the nature of which is something that clearly can’t be fully comprehended until you are duly elected – sadly!

Continue reading "Communications update" »

29 Nov 2006 06:28:00

Matthew Richardson's monthly report II

Mathewrichardson_1 Matthew is CF Exec member with responsibility for campaigns

I apologise for the tardiness of this report. I delayed its publication in order to include details of the second planned campaigning day in Battersea on 16 December. These details will be included later.

National Management Executive

I have attended all of the NME meetings at which I was required. 

We have appointed nine vice presidents of CF who will hold office for three years and ensure continuity in the organisation between executives. I did not have any objections to any of the proposed nine, whose names will be published on the CF website shortly. 

We have co-opted Greig Baker to the executive to handle marginal seats and improvements in new branch development. Both he and James Dinsdale, who was also considered for the post, were attractive candidates but the executive member in charge and thus the whole executive found Greig to be the more attractive of the two. I am sure he will be an excellent addition to the team.

I continue to be impressed by the professionalism and commitment of the executive. I am slightly disappointed that Craig Cox and Christian Walker have yet to meet each other. I am sure they will enjoy each other’s company when they do.

Continue reading "Matthew Richardson's monthly report II" »

27 Nov 2006 17:03:00

Chairman's Sept/Oct report

Click here to download Mark Clarke's report on the current progress of CF.

Key points:

  • Estimated CF membership of 18,000 (students accounting for a third of this total)
  • Success in northern uni's will have knock-on effects to local area
  • Campaign plans made for the prioritised marginal seats which have PPCs
  • Number of female ACs tripled by co-option process
  • Database created of 150 female CFers to be nurtured by Women2Win
  • CF HQ has gone from having full-time support from three people to one part-time

23 Nov 2006 16:12:00

Embracing the Conservative Coalition

Ranil_jayawardena_1_1 Update by CF Exec member Ranil Jayawardena

Following Mark Clarke’s lead to make CF more open I am writing this brief message on ConservativeHome to let members know what I am doing to make CF a better organisation for all.

When the NME was elected, Mark and I agreed that it was crucial to move on from the past and make CF a more inclusive, inviting organisation. As a result, I have been written to a number of organisations in the Conservative Coalition to ask to co-host events for CF members – inside and outside London – offering CF members more social and political opportunities across the country.

I have written to the Adam Smith Institute, the Bow Group, Centre for Policy Studies, Centre for Social Justice, Conservative Christian Fellowship, Conservative Friends of Israel, Conservative Way Forward, Conservative Womens Organisation, Consult, Policy Exchange, Reform, Tory Reform Group, Women2Win and the Young Britons’ Foundation.

As you can see, we want to work with organisations on all sides of our Party. If you would like to get involved in the organisation of these joint events, please e-mail me. Furthermore, if you are involved in an organisation that I haven’t listed here and you want to work with CF, do let me know because the list above is certainly not exhaustive. It is just the beginning.

20 Nov 2006 21:48:00

Communication update

Christianwalkerpicture_1 By Christian Walker, CF Exec member

Following the overwhelming support at the Area Chair Training Day for members of the National Executive to update when appropriate the CF membership here we are…

I have spent most of October getting to understand the sporadic communication system of CF. While we all know there is room for improvement it has been encouraging to find areas of strength for example people pushing for better communication at a regional level and also those people that write articles for the website.

Continue reading "Communication update" »

20 Nov 2006 17:41:00

Marginal seats update

Claire_palmer_2 By Claire Palmer, CF Deputy Chairman

My role on this year's executive aside from my role as Deputy Chairman is to look after the Marginal Seats initiative. We initially pulled together a list of 11 constituencies through identifying marginal seats ourselves, making sure we had a good geographical split, and discussing with the target seats team.

Requirements and Principles

A number of requirements were identified as ideals before running with a particular seat:

  • Local Association fully supportive of the plan
  • PPC already selected
  • Approval by Target Seats Team (Lord Ashcroft’s office)
  • No CF branch in existence

In addition we wanted to assist in growing a number of other CF branches whose existence was limited, or whose set up was very new. The list of seats that were identified to begin working with were as follows: Harlow, Loughborough, Worcester, Solihull, Pendle, Torbay, Aberconwy, Portsmouth North, Wirral West, Keighley, and Finchley and Golders Green. 

Continue reading "Marginal seats update" »

20 Oct 2006 00:01:00

Matthew Richardson's monthly NME report

Mathewrichardson Preface

I have not been tasked to write this report; nor was it a manifesto pledge. But I believe that greater accountability comes from greater transparency. I also note recent posts on ConservativeHome have indicated a greater desire to “benchmark the NME” and keep track of its progress.  I will, I hope, produce a monthly report for the duration of my time on the NME.


I have attended all of the scheduled NME meetings, including the induction and media training and the training day for area chairmen. I was unable to attend party conference due to the commitments of my new job as a barrister’s pupil. I anticipate no further such clashes.

I have been very pleased with the attitude and professionalism of this year’s NME. I find Mark Clarke to be a very able leader and am sure that his managerial expertise will be nothing short of a great benefit to CF.  Although I, as a plain speaking Yorkshireman, do not always appreciate the managerial language he uses, I realise that his methods will accomplish real goals for the organisation. I voted for Claire for Deputy Leader and believe her skills will augment Mark’s. I look forward to working with them.

Continue reading "Matthew Richardson's monthly NME report" »

16 Oct 2006 09:28:00

Benchmarking the NME 06/07

Have you ever voted for someone, in any kind of election, who initially promised the world but didn't deliver once they got the title? Obviously no-one like that is involved in CF, but it's fair to say that in the past some elected members have done more than others to follow through with their initial aims.

CF Diary is going to monitor the progress of the priority issues outlined by each of the elected NME members, with their priorities being judged by what they felt merited including in their official - albeit short - manifestos.

Granted, some of the statements are somewhat vague, and their implementation will of course be limited by the majority view of other NME members and the priorities of the Chairman - but it will still be useful to hear what steps they took to fulfil the pledges that got them elected.

This is a positive exercise in encouraging the effectiveness of CF and its accountability to its members.

So here in their own words are the objectives of this year's NME, and the benchmarks that their success will be judged by...

Continue reading "Benchmarking the NME 06/07" »