Conservative policy forum

What is the CPF?

The CPF gives Members of the Party the opportunity to take part in policy discussions and get their voice heard.

What does CPF do?

The CPF is a national Party Group that gives Members the opportunity to discuss the major policy challenges facing Britain. The CPF is chaired by Oliver Letwin, Minister for Government Policy. CPF groups are active in Constituencies in every Region and Area.

We want to give our members the chance to have a say in the writing of the next manifesto. To this end, we produce nine discussion briefs a year on a number of subjects from ‘Natural Resources’ to ‘Where will growth come from’. Local groups then meet to discuss these topics, and send their response back to Central Office, where the professional team write a summary of the responses received. This is then sent to the relevant Minister for consideration, who responds in due course.

In addition to this we engage with our members though national events, such as the CPF Winter Conference, and our various regional events, which give our members the chance to come together and discuss policy.

Visit the Conservative Policy Forum for more information

Latest in policy

Cost of living submissions summary Tue, 01/08/2017 - 11:48 Tuesday, 1 August, 2017 The first CPF discussion paper of 2017 explored the cost of living and responses were submitted by CPF groups representing 136 constituencies and at least 1,123 members across the country. A summary was sent to the Chairman of the PM’s Policy Board but then the General Election was announced. His response will now be published after the summer recess. Thank you to everyone who was involved - and thank you for your understanding over the unanticipated delay in being able to secure a formal response to submissions! For our latest national policy discussions, see our paper on Conservative values and our post-election update. Ideas and themes that were consistently raised by groups in response to the cost of living questions are highlighted below: Question 1 Almost one-in-four groups called for more educational emphasis on STEM subjects, ICT and computer coding. More than two-in-five groups called for greater promotion of serious apprenticeships and closer partnership between government, industry and schools, such as the schemes in the Midlands/North West involving JCB, Bentley and Airbus. Around one-in-eight groups explicitly called for more lifelong learning and many others for a focus on reskilling for older people. A national adult skills and education programme that supports a multi-decade snapshot, say, every five years of people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s to establish the new skill and training needs demanded by new technology. Reintroduce careers advice services in all schools, perhaps as part of the curriculum, working with local employers in key industries such as sciences and engineering to provide meaningful and expansive work experience to all young people. Question 2 Many groups that discussed this question repeated ideas that were reported in the 2016 CPF discussion on housing, e.g. one-in-six groups suggested making greater use of pre-fabricated accommodation. Several groups suggested new ways to fund house-building. Several thought more should be done to make more affordable housing available. More than one-in-five called for measures to prevent land-banking by developers. Instead of local planning committees having the power to determine planning consent, perhaps this power should be in the hands of a wider more strategic planning committee making such decisions, as with the local plan. Question 3 An equal number of CPF Groups expressed both support for and opposition to assisted places. Yet, even those in favour observed that the scheme is a “sideshow” and preferred all available funding to be devoted to raising the quality of education in state-funded schools. Over one-in-five CPF Groups explicitly suggested that selection and streaming in all schools would enable all students to receive education and training more appropriate to their skills and abilities. A common call was for a holistic review of our future educational needs and for a clear strategy to address the link between schooling and work. Raise the level of the Department for Education ‘Teachers Standards’ July 2011. Many ideas concerned improving the focus of school instruction, for instance on discipline, sport and language-learning. Final points included a range of broader, strategic concerns, such as reviewing the current minimum school-leaving age and looking at childcare models within Europe. Question 4 One-in-three CPF Groups advocated reintroducing food-tech/home economics classes in all schools for students of all ages to learn how to cook a healthy meal for less money. Many others urged improved education for all by Public Health England. Several groups noted that food is historically cheap and value for money is ensured through competition, not government intervention. More than twice as many (almost one-in-three) opposed a sugar tax and other market interventions. Support was widespread for encouraging greater personal responsibility for health through educational support and disincentives similar to the approach taken with smoking. E.g. One-in-six groups advocated clearer labelling and standardising “traffic light” codes; over one-in-ten called for a review of “use by” dates to reduce needless waste, e.g. replacing them with a “produced on” date; and many urged an end or limit to buy one get one free (BOGOF) deals on unhealthy food. CPF support included making more NHS medical treatment conditional on patients giving up smoking or losing weight. Question 5 Around one-in-four CPF Groups expressed scepticism or outright opposition to smart meters, which were regularly described as a farce and a waste of money. Above all, the message was to simplify the market. Many groups called for Ofgem to have more powers to regulate energy companies more effectively, to control excessive price increases, and to ensure that proper price comparisons are possible. Several suggestions were made to help communities with costs of energy. Several groups called for help centres to assist less technically-able families and community energy-buying co-operatives to offer participants cost savings through the bulk purchase of energy. Smart technology depends on high level broadband and mobile reception. Their development across the UK, particularly in rural and semi-rural locations, is key to balanced regional growth. The future of Openreach and its poor performance as monopoly provider of the IT infrastructure must be examined as a priority. Several groups criticised Government for artificially increasing energy prices through “uneconomic green energy subsidies” and said we should instead “spend money on innovative technology that looks at ways of reducing emissions.” Question 6 Two-in-five CPF Groups called for financial education in schools. More than one-in-five groups wanted tougher regulation of credit cards and unsecured lending. Many groups observed that the concept of saving to buy something later, rather than buying it now on credit and paying for it in the future, seems to have largely disappeared from our culture. Almost one-in-five looked for interest rates to be raised to encourage saving, although even these groups accepted that this would have undesired results, e.g. lower GDP, with its dependence on consumer spending. Various other savings instruments and encouragements were suggested to help people get the most from their money. Question 7 Among calls for greater emphasis on the Northern powerhouse and on regional infrastructure improvements, there were a range of other specifically rural concerns. Several groups raised points concerning business. Several suggestions concerned management of the economy. Concerns were expressed about the costs of the daily commute, the lack of competition in rail franchises and the issue of business rates. Various suggestions called for research into providing an integrated public transport system linking bus and train timetables in the rural areas. Other comments Groups noted that while the cost of living is part of the quality of life, “for a good life people need to be able to walk among green trees near where they live, to meet their neighbours in the local shops without needing to drive many miles to find a parking spot and to get to their work every day in one hour.” Other comments consistently mentioned Government spending, suggesting, “the greatest contribution the Government could make to reducing the cost of living for ordinary people would be to reduce its own debt and expenditure.” Image: CC BY-SA 3.0 NY
Posted: August 1, 2017, 11:48 am
Conservative Values Discussion Paper Wed, 26/07/2017 - 09:03 Wednesday, 26 July, 2017 Last year, Lord Feldman’s Conservative Party Review found, “A general theme was that the Party does not tend to talk enough about values or use these to encourage membership.” This paper is a direct response to this feedback and a part of all that is now going on following the General Election: Sir Eric Pickles is leading a formal review, together with Graham Brady, the Chairman of the 1922 Committee, and Rob Semple, the Chairman of the National Convention, into the Party’s General Election campaign to see what lessons can be learned. The Prime Minister has asked the Committee on Standards in Public Life to undertake a review of intimidation experienced by Parliamentary candidates and to report back with recommendations on ways to tackle abuse in the future. Following the evident success of the opposition to motivate the younger generation of voters to support them, the CPF has also announced a summer project of Renewal ahead of the Party Conference. Rather than plunging back in with discussions on specific issues, this CPF discussion paper considers the longer view towards 2022.  It encourages members to reflect on the values and assumptions that we will all be bringing to our discussion of future policy areas.  This paper, therefore, is not so much about shaping the development of future Government policy as about shaping the Party and future CPF discussions. We want to ensure that as many associations and as many members are able to engage in this wide-ranging discussion.  So, the closing date for this brief is 8 October, after the Party conference.  We look forward to receiving your responses to the paper in due course, using the response form published below, via CPF.Papers@conservatives.com.  A summary of responses to this paper will be sent to both the Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Policy Board and the Party’s Chief Executive within a month of the closing date for submissions and a response will be due by the end of the year. Attachments Attachment Size Values discussion paper (pdf) 481.78 KB Values discussion paper (Word) 80.3 KB Response form for Values discussion paper 71.09 KB Values discussion powerpoint presentation 267 KB
Posted: July 26, 2017, 9:03 am
Shaping Tomorrow – Post-Election Conservative grassroots renewal Fri, 21/07/2017 - 21:06 Friday, 21 July, 2017 Firstly, on behalf of the CPF Board, we want to thank all our Members again for all of their hard work during the Election campaign. Overseen by Christopher Fraser, as our Vice-Chairman at the time, the CPF mobilised volunteers in over 221 key seats – a great achievement. Thank you also for your patience as we plan the next few months running up to our Conference activities and future policy work. As the Prime Minister has signalled, the CPF is playing a big role in the Party’s post-election renewal, and we are excited at the opportunities that lie ahead and the priority we have been given by the new Board. The CPF has long argued for representation at the highest levels of the Party. As our new structure only allows for one vice-chairman, we are delighted that Rob Semple OBE, Chairman of the National Convention, has asked Andrew Sharpe to take on the role of our Vice-Chairman. Andrew sits on the Party Board and will make sure that the voice of the voluntary party is heard. We are extremely grateful to Christopher Fraser OBE for his years of outstanding service to the CPF, and hope that he will continue to work with us on the next chapter. We are currently pulling together a work plan for the run-up to Conference, reflecting the new reality of the post-election Parliament. It’s clear to us all that the recent election highlighted the importance of both fresh thinking and policy outreach to the voter groups whose grievances were channelled by other parties, without any viable policy offers. As such, it is important that the CPF discussion papers are in tune with the big issues of our time. Having discussed this with the team, we agree that there are two key discussion papers we would like to publish in the short-term. The first, on Conservative Values, will be sent to you next week, and we will aim to circulate a paper on Youth shortly afterwards. We are very conscious that many of you are still awaiting a government response to our Cost of Living paper, which we are assured by Ministers will arrive before Conference in October. At Conference itself, we will be involved in the inaugural grassroots Conservative Ideas Summit. As for Conference itself, we will be unveiling our new 'Tomorrow's Champions' panel of young policy Ambassadors on the main stage representing social groups not currently mobilised to our cause, and who will take on the work of coordinating policy streams within the Forum around their specific areas of expertise/interest. We will also host our usual Reception for members, have a CPF debating slot on one of the days, and our stand throughout the event. We hope you will agree that there is much to look forward to. Thank you again for your patience. We will be in touch next week with our paper on Conservative Values, and look forward to receiving your responses. Kind regards, George Freeman MP – Chairman
Andrew Sharpe – Vice-Chairman
Hannah David – National Voluntary Director
John Hayward – CPF Manager, CCHQ
Posted: July 21, 2017, 9:06 pm
General Election Update Sun, 23/04/2017 - 17:56 Thursday, 20 April, 2017 The Prime Minister has announced that an election will be held on 8 June and Parliament has taken the necessary steps in Parliament to ensure that this can happen. We need an election now because it will strengthen the Prime Minister’s negotiating hand in Europe and because it is the only way to ensure our country has strong leadership, certainty and stability – not just up to the point at which we leave the European Union but beyond it too. We have the right plan for negotiating with Europe and we have the right plan for a stronger Britain.  An election now will give the country stability and certainty for a full five years and enable us to continue taking the right long-term decisions for a more secure future. An election now will enable us to build on the good work Conservatives have done and to stick to our Plan for a Stronger Britain.  From the productivity of our economy to the need for a world-class system of social care, we will tackle head-on the long-term challenges we face as a country: Establish Britain as the strongest country in Europe, in economic growth and national security.  We will negotiate a deep and special partnership with our European neighbours.  We will strike export deals for British goods and services.  And we will lead the world in preventing terrorism and fighting modern slavery. Build a stronger economy that rewards people who work hard and creates secure and well-paid jobs.  We will make sure there is growth and prosperity around the whole country. Provide real opportunity for all.  We will give everyone a chance to get on in life, by building enough affordable housing and making sure there is a good school place for every child. Build a more secure and united nation by taking action against the extremists who try to divide our society and standing up to the separatists who want to break up our country. Only Theresa May has the plan and the proven leadership to deliver the right deal for Britain abroad and a better deal for ordinary, working people here at home. When she became Prime Minister after the referendum, the priority was to provide economic certainty, a clear vision and strong leadership – and that’s what she delivered. She has also delivered on the mandate from the referendum, and begun the process through which Britain will leave the EU. We now have a one-off chance to hold an election while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin. For this reason, all previously-planned CPF activity will be suspended until after 8 June. The deadline for the current discussion paper (adult social care) has been extended until Sunday 18 June and the next paper (jobs and skills) will be published on 19 June. We will also publish a formal response to CPF submissions on the cost of living paper in June.
Posted: April 23, 2017, 5:56 pm
Barking CPF Fri, 07/04/2017 - 14:32 Friday, 7 April, 2017 The CPF was delighted to be invited to speak at the Barking Association CPF dinner this week. Attendees at the event included both old and new members as well as our new youngest members (aged 6 and 3)! Following a talk about how the CPF currently works and future events and ideas for the CPF, the audience raised several interesting points with our National Director, Hannah David. These points included a request that the CPF reach out to, and encourage participation from, those with mental and physical disabilities and also for the CPF to consider a future discussion paper on homelessness. This invaluable input will be discussed by the CPF Board in its regular Board meetings. The CPF would like to thank the organiser Richard Semitigo for arranging an excellent event.
Posted: April 7, 2017, 2:32 pm
Lincolnshire Area CPF dinner Thu, 06/04/2017 - 09:23 Thursday, 6 April, 2017 Members of the following Conservative Associations Boston and Skegness
Gainsborough
Grantham and Stamford
Lincoln
Louth and Horncastle
Sleaford and North Hykeham
South Holland and The Deepings are invited to the Lincolnshire Area Conservative Policy Forum
Dinner & Political Discussion
“Skills and Training”
including a debating game called “hostile takeover”
and guest speaker Rt Hon John Hayes CBE MP Friday 12th May 2017
7.00pm for 7.30pm
at The Woodlands Hotel, 80 Pinchbeck Road, Spalding PE11 1QF
Dress Code: Lounge Suits
Tickets £20 For further details, contact SHDCA no later than Monday 8th May 2017:
Broad Street Business Centre, 10 Broad Street, Spalding PE11 1TB
Tel: 01775-713905 Email: sthhollanddeepings@btopenworld.com
Posted: April 6, 2017, 9:23 am
Families for the Union Fri, 24/03/2017 - 13:46 Friday, 24 March, 2017 As we face further calls from the Scottish Nationalist Party for yet another divisive independence referendum, the Secretary of State for International Trade, the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP has called for a "Families for the Union" movement to help unleash an emotional argument in defence of our historic union. "It's not just about the economic case for union; it's not even just the security case for union," he told CPF Members last week. The vast majority of us have parents or grandparents who came from across the nations that constitute the United Kingdom and "we are so much stronger together than we could ever be separate." "As the Prime Minister said this morning, our union is not a union of constitutional laws - it's a union of people, because we have moved and married among ourselves for more than 300 years." The whole of the CPF team was delighted to attend the Conservative Spring Forum in Cardiff last weekend. Our Friday lunchtime fringe event was entitled “What are Conservative Values?” and was extremely well attended. Our Chairman, George Freeman MP recorded a short film to introduce the topic. This was followed by a talk by our special guest, the Rt Hon Liam Fox MP, after which he responded to many questions from the audience. In addition to his belief in the Union, Dr Fox highlighted his belief in Conservative values such as limited government and the rule of law - and how this makes our country so attractive to foreign investors. He also affirmed his belief in a sympathetic but robust welfare system; that defence and security is the first duty of government; in our transatlantic bonds, including NATO; and in meritocracy. The CPF would again like to thank Dr Fox for giving us so much of his time and for his very interesting and insightful talk.  On the Saturday of the Forum, the CPF's Voluntary Director Hannah David addressed the National Convention about the CPF. After explaining the CPF’s current structure and discussion programme, she highlighted how well last year’s national discussion paper on Housing had been received by the Communities Secretary, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP and, as the Secretary of State said, how ideas in the Housing White Paper “came about as a direct result of the efforts of the CPF.” Hannah also explained how the CPF had grown, with the number of registered members nearly trebling since Feb 2016. Hannah mentioned that, moving forward, the CPF was looking forward to its events at Party Conference this year and regional conferences in 2018.
Posted: March 24, 2017, 1:46 pm
Adult Social Care Discussion Paper Wed, 01/03/2017 - 12:30 Wednesday, 1 March, 2017 Adult social care is clearly a very timely issue for the CPF to consider: it has been featured several times in the news recently and the subject seemed to be at the top of councillors’ agenda at a recent conference organised by the Conservative Councillors Association. The closing date for responses to this discussion paper is 7 May. We look forward to receiving your responses to this paper, which you may send via the online response form or by completing and returning the response form below to CPF.Papers@conservatives.com. A summary of all responses will be considered by the CPF Chairman, George Freeman MP, who will take the best ideas and suggestions to the PM’s Policy Board and Government Ministers. The next paper will be on Skills and Training for a 21st Century Workforce and will be published after the elections in May. For further details about our plans for 2017, read the Letter from the CPF Chairman that was published in December. Image: CC BY 2.0 WorldSkills UK Attachments Attachment Size Discussion paper (pdf) 603.08 KB Powerpoint presentation 420.5 KB Response form 67.98 KB Discussion paper (MS Word) 136.84 KB
Posted: March 1, 2017, 12:30 pm
Conservative Councillors' Association Conference 2017 Tue, 28/02/2017 - 11:57 Tuesday, 28 February, 2017 The CPF was delighted to attend the Conservative Councillors’ Association Conference last weekend in Scunthorpe. We were delighted to see such interest from councillors in the work that the CPF does and our forthcoming discussion programme. The enthusiasm amongst the attendees at both the CPF stand and in the workshops was clearly evident and the CPF looks forward to seeing more elected members attending CPF discussions throughout the country. Like last year, the CPF workshop was one of the most well attended at the conference. The theme of this year's workshop was Enlightened Local Leadership. The workshop looked at best practice in joining up services to generate revenue and make efficiencies in Local Authorities. The CPF Voluntary Director, Hannah David, chaired a panel with three excellent speakers – Marcus Jones MP, the MP for Nuneaton and surrounding villages; Cllr Mark Hawthorne MBE, the Leader of Gloucestershire County Council and Dan Humphreys, the Leader of Worthing Borough Council. Following a speech from each panellist a lively discussion took place with many “best practice” examples being given for the audience to take away. The CPF would like to thank all the speakers for making the workshops such interesting and thought-provoking events. The CPF was delighted to be part of the conference that welcomed (amongst the excellent speaker line up) the Prime Minister, Theresa May, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid, Gavin Barwell MP, Andrew Percy MP and the Party chairman, Sir Patrick McLoughlin MP. The CPF would like to thank all the organisers for an excellent conference.
Posted: February 28, 2017, 11:57 am
Minister applauds CPF for shaping Government policy Fri, 10/02/2017 - 16:58 Friday, 10 February, 2017 "Invaluable" input on Housing White Paper Through the CPF, Conservative Party members made a real contribution to the Government’s White Paper on housing, published earlier this week. The Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has written to thank the CPF for its input, through our national policy discussion and later roundtable on the subject, acknowledging that some of the ideas in the White Paper "came about as a direct result of the efforts of the CPF." Sajid concludes his letter, which you can read in full via the download link below, “The contributions of the CPF are an invaluable addition to [the] debate … The dedicated work of the CPF and its members is a real asset to us in Government that is greatly appreciated … I look forward to the future contributions the CPF will make as we continue to demonstrate that it is the Conservative Party that is coming up with the answers to the challenges working people in Britain face.” The Prime Minister Theresa May has also sent her support of the CPF, writing, “The CPF plays a key role in ensuring that Party members‎ have the opportunity to help shape Government Policy. We need to make the most of all of the talent that exists within our Party, and harness our members’ enthusiasm.” These remarks highlight how together, through the CPF, members of the Party are directly influencing the policies that shape our lives and communities. Ministers want our input and recognise the benefit of hearing the ideas, experiences and lessons learned by those living and working at the heart of the nation’s diverse communities. Become part of the CPF community. Phone your Association office TODAY to book your place at the next CPF meeting. Make sure you are part of the team influencing our Party's direction. Attachments Attachment Size Letter from Communities Secretary to CPF 1.8 MB
Posted: February 10, 2017, 4:58 pm

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