YORK MEETING SETS OUT FUTURE DIRECTION FOR CPON

CPON today held a meeting in York to set out its future direction.

The network has enjoyed a rapid rise in local government over the last decade, and is now looking to consolidate its position whilst building on the success it has enjoyed in recent years.

Issues discussed included redrafting the network’s constitution, and its relationship with both local government and central government following the formation of David Cameron’s coalition government.

Richard Ashton, CPON’s Chairman, said, “Over the last decade CPON has come from nowhere to play an increasingly influential part in local government. We have continuosly adapted to changing circumstances, and we now must do so once again, against the backdrop of a new Government and any potential changes to the public sector. This meeting was therefore an important way for members to discuss our future direction so that we continue to support them in their work, and the role we can play in local government.”

CPON AT THE 2010 CCA CONFERENCE

CPON were once again present at the CCA Conference, which was this year held at the Hotel Russell, London, and closed yesterday.

Delegates were made welcome at the CPON stand by CPON members, including Richard Ashton (Tameside), William Hooper (Suffolk) and Laura Norman (Brent).

Richard said, “Once again I would like to thank the CCA for allowing  us to promote the network at its conference. We had many interested delegates question us about the work of the network and political assistants and we have built up many important raltionships thanks to the CCA’s generosity.”

CPON ENDORSES THE 2010 CCA LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONFERENCE

CPON is endorsing next year’s CCA Local Government Conference.

The event will be held on Friday 5th – Saturday 6th March 2010 at Hotel Russell, London, and as in previous years will feature CPON’s presence.

Speakers include:

  • David Cameron, Leader of the Opposition;
  • Boris Johnson, Mayor of London;
  • Eric Pickles, Chairman of the Conservative Party;
  • Caroline Spelman, Shadow Minister for Local Government; and,
  • Grant Shapps, Shadow Minister for Housing.

There are:

  • Special rates for CCA members.
  • Early booking discounts available until the end of January.
  • Separate day passes and dinner tickets available.

The Conference will be attended by several members of the Shadow Cabinet, including Caroline Spelman MP, Shadow Minister for Local Government, and other key players in local government.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, will also be addressing delegates, along with Party Chairman, Eric Pickles MP.

The conference will consist of several plenary and workshop sessions running from midday on the Friday until lunchtime on the Saturday.

The Guest Dinner Speaker for the Friday evening will be Grant Shapps MP, Shadow Housing Minister.

For further information and booking form please click on the following link for the Conference Brochure.

ADAM AFRIYIE SPEAKS AT CPON’S 2009 AGM

ADAM AFRIYIE ADDRESSES CPON MEMBERS, WITH CPON CHAIRMAN RICHARD ASHTON LOOKING ON

Adam Afriyie, the Shadow Minister for Science & Innovation, was CPON’s main guest speaker at this year’s AGM.

A rising star in the Conservative Party, Mr. Afriyie urged local Conservative Groups to ‘be bold’ and to learn from the success of flagship local authorities.

Joining him at the event in the Guild Hall, Windsor last Friday was an impressive line-up of fine political minds:

  • Cllr. Stephen Greenhalgh, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham;
  • Cllr. David Burbage, Leader of Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead;
  • Cllr. Gregg Smith, Cabinet Member for Crime & Street Scene, H&F;
  • Cllr. Philip Bicknell, Cabinet Member for Public Protection, RBWM;
  • Cllr. Colin Rayner, Cabinet Member for Highways & Street Care, RBWM;
  • Cllr. Barry Macleod-Cullinane, Cabinet Member for Adults & Housing, Harrow;
  • Alison Knight, Recyclebank; and,
  • Alex Deane, Director of Big Brother Watch and former Chief of Staff to David Cameron.

Afterwards, CPON members enjoyed a curry and drinks with Britain’s youngest mayor, 29-year-old Mayor of Windsor & Maidenhead, Cllr. Catherine Bursnall.

ABOVE: BIG BROTHER WATCH’S ALEX DEANE (right) AND CLLR. GREG SMITH PROVIDED LIVELY DEBATE

Richard Ashton, CPON’s Chairman, said, “Each year, CPON organises such meetings and events from its own funds, in order to both support its members in their day-today duties and raise CPON’s profile in local government.”

CPON EVENT MAKES TOTAL POLITICS’ TOP 50 GREATEST EVER CONFERENCE MOMENTS

CPON’S ‘BORIS’ EVENT MADE #31 IN TOTAL POLITICS’ TOP 50 CONFERENCE GREATEST MOMENTS 

CPON’s 2006 Conservative Party Conference fringe event has made Total Politics’ Top 50 Conference Moments.

The event was the talking point of the 2006 Conference, when Boris Johnson’s criticism of Jamie Oliver’s school dinners campaign sparked a media frenzy.

The revelation comes in the October 2009  edition of the popular political magazine, which writes:

“Boris Johnson’s comments against Jamie Oliver and his school dinners campaign courted controversy as he slammed the “nanny state” and declared “I say let people eat what they like. Why shouldn’t they push pies through the railings?”  The media’s interest in these remarks was shown by the scrum after the fringe event, and Boris was forced to anoint Jamie Oliver a ‘national saint’ to placate his incensed critics.”

The incident has seen the event placed at #31 in the list – ahead of Tony Blair’s sweaty shirt (#48), Kenny Everett’s ‘Let’s bomb Russia’ moment (#46), Ruth Kelly’s 3.15am resignation (#43), David Cameron’s ‘We will fight, Britain will win’ speech (#34), and a speech by 16-year-old William Hague in 1977 (#32).

Topping the list were: Walter Wolfgang’s ejection from the 2005 Labour Party Conference (#3), Margaret Thatcher’s speech the day after the Brighton bomb of 1984 (#2), and Neil Kinnock attack on Militant (#1).

MIDNIGHT DRINKS RECEPTION CLOSES SUCCESSFUL CONFERENCE

 CPON MEMBERS ENJOYED THE PRIVATELY-FUNDED DRINKS RECEPTION

A midnight drinks reception brought CPON’s activities at the 2009 Conservative Party Conference to a close on Wednesday evening (7th).

The reception, at Peter Street’s Bar 38,  was held to thank members and supporters of the network for all their hard work during the past year.

The event – which was funded completely from CPON’s own funds – proved popular and helped to further develop the strong ties that bond its membership together. 

JOINT CPON/CCA CONFERENCE EVENT IS A SUCCESS

CCA CHAIRMAN, CLLR. MERRICK COCKELL, ADDRESSES THE FRINGE AUDIENCE

CPON’s joint fringe event with the CCA proved a success, as they returned to the conference stage after a three year absence, at this week’s Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

A packed audience listened as CPON’s Chairman, Richard Ashton, outlined the role of Political Assistants and their worth to Conservative council groups; before handing over to Cllr. Merrick Cockell, the CCA’s Chairman, who introduced a valuable campaigning presentation from the CCA’s Alan Mabbutt and Kerry Buist.

Afterwards, Richard chaired a Q&A session with the audience and his fellow panel members.

Richard said, “Councillors are CPON’s core target audience, as more and more council groups begin to understand the benefits that professional, political research officers bring to local government and democracy.

“Therefore, our fringe event with the CCA was an ideal opportunity to reiterate the role of Political Assistants in front of our target audience.

“Whilst it is the CCA’s role to get more Conservative councillors elected and look after them in a central role, it is CPON’s role to look after them on a day-t0-day basis whilst they undertake their council work.

“I therefore thank the CCA for teaming up with CPON for this succesful joint event.”

CPON’S MIDNIGHT DRINKS RECEPTION

mezzanine.bar38

CPON is hosting a midnight, drinks reception at the Conservative Party Conference.

The invitation-only reception is being held at Bar 38, Peter Street, from 11.30pm on Wednesday 7th October.

Richard Ashton, the Chairman of CPON, said, “The reception is an opportunity for CPON members to meet up and renew old friendships or cement new ones, whilst thanking others for supporting the network.”

bar38.exterior

CPON IN MANCHESTER 2009

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After a three-year absence, CPON are proud to announce their return to the Conservative Party Conference stage, with a fringe event held in collaboration with the Conservative Councillors’ Association (CCA).

The event, entitled “Winning your local by-election”, will be held on Wednesday 7th October from 12.45pm to 1.45pm, in Exchange Room 1 at Manchester Central.

Key contributions will be made by Alan Mabbutt (CCA Head of Local Government) and Kerry Buist (CCA Local Government by-election campaigner).

To find out more about the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester please click here.

SUPPORT TO POLITICAL GROUPS: SPIN OR SUBSTANCE?

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The Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) is holding a good practice seminar on Tuesday 5th May entitled, “Support to political groups: spin or substance?”

According to the LGiU, the majority of councillors say that it is the political element of their work that encourages them to stand for election and it drives forward much of their activities once they are elected. 

The LGIU believes the fact that 96 per cent of local politicians belong to a political party affects every part of council leadership and business.  How the council operates in this political environment helps determine its success.

The LGiU has found that when asked what support most councillors would put at the top of their wish list a political assistant is always a high priority.  However, fewer than 100 councils employ political assistants.  In the current climate of tight financial budgets councils want to be sure that they are offering the support members want and helps them best.

The seminar will:

  • explore how councils can provide support to political groups
  • demystify the many different ways in which support to political groups can work
  • look closely at what it is that political assistants can and can’t do
  • consider the advantages and disadvantages of dedicated group officers as part of other support councils may give to their elected councillors
  • question whether political group support adds value to the work that the council does
  • look at how officers supporting the political groups work with other council officers

Speakers at the event will include CPON’s Chairman, Richard Ashton, and Cllr. Barry Macleod-Cullinane, Political Advisor to the London Councils’ Conservative Group and Portfolio Holder for Adults & Housing, London Borough of Harrow.

Richard Ashton said, “I am very much looking forward to demystifying the role of political assistants for those attending the seminar, and extolling the virtues of our work and the benefits to all concerned in local government.”

More details can be found here.

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