Letter to Members
28th June 2022
The PSCA Plan 2022-24
In my first year as your Chairman, my priority is to bring the Association to a position where we are well-prepared to fight the next General Election, which we expect in 2024.
To do so, we must first become competent administratively, financially, and in our campaigning.
Then we must develop exciting policy that will motivate activists and voters alike.
Then we must canvass the entire Constituency so that we are able to present our next parliamentary candidate and his or her agent with a sound set of data. And of course, canvassing will help us write our policy manifesto, and will be a good source of new, energetic members and activists.
This is a two-year project, so it may happen that this work will be continued by others.
This presents no difficulties at all, because an important element of our work is succession planning. We must always, as a matter of principle, be developing and growing our membership and our team of leaders and activists, if we are to thrive.
Continuity matters. We must be able to build each year on previous successes. This year, you will notice that we have produced a two-year plan. We also have a five-year “Longcast”. Our policy development programme envisages a thriving, beautiful, happy City of Portsmouth in the long term, with many items seeing their fulfilment ten years hence. We are forcing ourselves to think longer-term, and it will benefit us and our constituents greatly.
Campaigning is no good without superb candidates. People with energy, enthusiasm, and integrity. To that end, Alicia Denny as Director is forming our new Candidates Development Scheme. Please speak to Alicia if you would like to know more about becoming a Councillor or a parliamentary candidate. My hope is that we can improve the quality of PCC Councillors, which in turn will attract more high-quality candidates for this vital role (joining the excellent Smith/Symes partnership).
Our members are our foundation. We must make membership a no-brainer for anyone interested in politics who has Conservative values. Fascinating speakers, a real, powerful Conservative Policy Forum, enjoyable social events – these are all part of the offer that I hope will bring new members flocking, and invigorate our existing loyal members.
Please study this document carefully, and help wherever you can. Canvassing is great fun, and we know it to be the most effective means to win people over to our cause. But it needs boots on the ground. Please step forward and offer your help in this important work.
I look forward to seeing you soon, at a social or political event, or (best of all) on a doorstep.
PSCA PLAN JULY 2022 – GE 2024
To position the Association to have the best possible chance of winning the Parliamentary seat at the next General Election.
The three prerequisites
• Administrative competence
• Financial competence
• Campaigning competence
• Maintain accurate and well-organised records and minutes
• Keep membership subscription records up to date so that all members are able to vote
• Move the office to a virtual set-up in order to run more efficiently and resiliently
• Plan for the succession of Board and Executive Council members
• Remain within budget (see Annex A).
• Submit financial returns on time
• Provide regular budget updates to the Executive Council
• Pay bills on time
• Strengthen the Association balance sheet in order to preserve capital whilst providing adequate campaign funds. This means achieving an annual budget surplus in 2023.
• No targets will be set for Association or Branch fundraising for 2022. Instead, we will “do our best” in order to set a benchmark for 2023. This is due to recent years being atypical.
• Maintain proper canvass records
• Develop policy
• Canvass and campaign in accordance with CCHQ guidance
• Obtain 1,800 new pledges by 1 Apr 2024
The three golden strands
“1,800 new pledges by 1 Apr 2024”
“1,800 new pledges by 1 Apr 2024”
1. POLICY (Responsible Officer: Andy Kille, Deputy Chairman Political)
Develop a robust set of highly exciting and energising policies with the goal of realising Portsmouth’s potential.
Do so in consultation with constituency residents (by means of canvassing and surveys), the Conservative Policy forum, local business and community leaders, nearby MPs, and Portsmouth North. A full Policy manifesto to be completed by 31 Dec 2022, by means of stages.
An informal Policy Group will be instantiated immediately upon approval of this Plan by Andy Kille (DCP) to undertake this work, taking evidence as detailed above. Alicia Denny (DCDS), a journalist by trade, will support this activity by collating and drafting policy as it is developed.
See also below, under Canvassing.
2. CANDIDATES (Responsible Officer: Alicia Denny, Director, Candidates Development Scheme)
Assemble and train an excellent group of impressive, motivated and committed individuals as selection candidates for the council and parliamentary seats. To this end, establish the Candidates Development Scheme by 31 July 2022.
We should aim to have at least ten good council selection candidates and five good Parliamentary selection candidates.
Candidate selections will take place in Nov/Dec 2022. This allows time for the Development Scheme to work. We must find and train enough good candidates. It does not impede campaigning, which will continue (under Branch management) on a Constituency basis, targeting the General Election by means of canvassing and regular InTouch distribution, consulting on and then communicating our policy pledges as they develop.
The Deputy Chairman (Political) will begin the process of establishing the Approvals Committee (AppCom) as soon as this Plan has been approved by the Executive Council. We will then maintain a properly-convened AppCom in being at all times, so that we are able to make emergency approvals if required.
3. CANVASSING (Responsible Officer: Andy Kille, Deputy Chairman Political)
• Canvass the constituency by 1 Apr 2024
• Obtain 1,800 new pledges by 1 Apr 2024. This is calculated as follows:
1. We aim to achieve 41% vote share.
• Winners in prior years: Lab 2019 49%, Lab 2017 41%, Con 2015 35%, LD 2010 46%.
• 41% is a challenging but achievable goal and more than our winning result in 2015.
2. Assume turnout of 63.9% (same as 2019 and 2017) = 47,475.
3. Therefore we require 19,465 votes.
4. Donna Jones obtained 17,705 votes (37%) in 2017.
4. Therefore we need 1,760 new pledges but say 1,800.
1,800 new pledges in two years is 258 per ward or 600 per Branch or 11 new pledges per ward per month.
Canvassing will begin as soon as the Executive Council has approved this plan. The first survey will contain one question only: “What would you most like PCC and Government to do for Portsmouth South?”
As we develop policy, the surveys will also develop and we will add more questions.
Canvassing will enable us to consult voters, and to communicate our policies as they develop, in an iterative process.
A new Pledges Cup will be established, to be awarded to the Branch that obtains the most pledges each month, starting July 2022. Pledge numbers will be collated and updated to members weekly.
Street stalls are useless if they have no defined purpose. Ours will have the following aims:
- Obtain residents’ views by means of surveys
- Obtain signatures on petitions when we have them
- Communicate policy ideas as they develop, by means of A5 flyers
- Invite people to attend political suppers (speakers, CPF) and to become members
Branches will distribute periodic InTouch leaflets. These will be centrally-designed in consultation with Branch Chairmen, adjusted if necessary to Ward priorities, and have the following content:
• Survey forms
• Email signup calls to action
• Updates on developing policy
• Candidate (“Campaigner”) introductions after selection
The development of our delivery network is of immense importance. The ideal situation is to have a person in every road who can deliver for us. This is a Branch responsibility. A sensible medium-term goal is to be in a position to deliver a leaflet to the entire Constituency within one week. Longer-term we must aim to be able to do this within one day, so that we can effectively deliver time-sensitive, reactive literature.
If we are to be a professional campaigning organisation, it is necessary to train our activists in canvassing, campaigning, and electoral law. Periodic training sessions will be arranged by DCP/DCDS.
Each month we receive a list of people who have turned 18 years old, and people who have moved into the Constituency. Marian Wendon (Deputy Chairman Membership) will write to these people to welcome them. Letters will be delivered by Branches.
New activists, new members and poster sites
We will increase the number of activists and members as a natural consequence of obtaining new Conservative pledges.
New members will receive a welcome letter from the DCM and a welcome phone call from the Branch Chairman.
We will reduce membership wastage by means of providing interesting and valuable events, and by actively involving members in policy development. Specific programmes that are relevant are the Candidates Development Scheme, the Policy Group, and our Political Suppers (outside speakers and the Conservative Policy Forum).
We will keep accurate records in VoteSource of people offering to display posters.
Fundraising and events
The money matters. We need money to print literature and to run surveys. With money we can do many important things in support of our aim of winning the Parliamentary seat. However, we are not setting targets for 2022. This is because recent years have been anomalous. We will “do our best” and set a benchmark. Targets will be set for PSCA and the Branches, in consultation with Branch Chairmen, for 2023.
Fundraising events will be held periodically and organised by Branches. Apart from Branch coffee mornings, events will be organised centrally. Non-members are to be encouraged to attend.
We will form a Finance Committee to oversee the effective use and development of our asset base to generate income (eg rental income from our property asset). This will be chaired by Andrew Gadsden (Chairman).
We will reform the Conservative Policy Forum. This will be led by Andy Kille (DCP) supported by Paul Wright. The CPF will hold regular meetings to discuss national and local policy and will be an important contributor to our policy development.
We will hold periodic Political Suppers with visiting speakers. Speakers will be co-ordinated by Andy Kille (DCP) with the administrative arrangements organised by Sonia Banks (Hon Social Sec). Suggestions for speakers are warmly invited. Non-members will be most welcome.
There will be one unified political events programme incorporating both the Political Suppers and the CPF.
In order to support the plan above, we will maintain the following live documents and circulate them periodically to the Executive Council, Councillors, Honorary Officers and the membership where appropriate.
Runs up to 5 years ahead, containing major political and financial milestones.
Runs up to a year ahead. Contains all key dates as they are established, including social events and campaign days. Individual officers’ plans feed into this document.
Budget (Planned vs Actual)
Presented by the Treasurer to the Executive Council periodically and whenever requested. It is important that we continually monitor our performance against budget.