Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The first West Kent Business Plan

Last night was the AGM of the West Kent Executive.

"I was just saying to a colleague at CCHQ how nice it was to spend an evening
with a group who were wholly positive about the future."

- Senior CCHQ Staffer 

The West Kent Executive is the Management Committee for the West Kent Group. It comprises of two representatives from each member Association (normally the Chairman and Treasurer). The West Kent Group meets as and when needed, but it's annual meeting must be held by the end of April, after each member Association has held its own AGM. 

The West Kent Executive has no legal basis within the Party Constitution; its authority rests on the Memorandum of Understanding, which has been adopted by the Member Associations. At the AGM the members elect a Chairman, Vice Chairman and Treasurer, who in effect manage the operation. It is akin to a Board of Directors with me as the CEO. There is also a Staffing Committee to handle pay, appraisals, recruitment and disciplinary issues. 

The Interim Officers (elected last year to oversee the set-up) were unanimously re-elected for 2014. They are:

Chairman: William Rutherford (TW)
Vice Chairman: John Wilson (M&TW)
Treasurer: Allan Sullivan (C&A)

Staffing Committee: William Rutherford, John Wilson, Adrian Gulvin (C&A), Nick de Wiggondene (F&MK) and Alan Bristow (T&M). 

The other members of the West Kent Executive are: Jacques Arnold (T&M), Chris Garland (M&TW), Dave Street (TW) and Patrik Garten (F&MK). Ten in total.

A good, positive working relationship has developed between all five Associations and all ten members of the Management Committee. There is no grandstanding or peacocking; and long may that continue. Yes, there are differences - but these issues are addressed in the hope and expectation of finding a solution, rather than to produce a victor. Long may that continue, too.

Following the AGM attention focussed on our Business Development Plan. One of the joys of the way West Kent is constituted is it enshrines the absolute independence of each member Association; nothing is imposed. The plan was therefore more like an A La Carte menu which each Association could choose from; obviously benefiting from economies of scale from wider participation. I was therefore pleased at the almost unanimous buy-in from all Associations. 

The major projects are therefore as follows:

1. New helper recruitment campaign, spearheaded by our MPs. This will include a personalised mailshot to approximately 15,000 supporters in each constituency requesting assistance as we prepare for the GE (window / garden poster sites - newsletter delivery). The letter will not request money. New helpers will be personally contacted by a local co-ordinator and invited to a helpers Christmas Drinks party to cement their support. 
2. Each association will be targeting pledges in target wards (by phone) to build-up delivery networks. 
3. Teams put together by each DC Membership will be using the Phone Bank to contact every lapsed member to see if they will rejoin, then every donor to see if they would like to enrol as a member.  
4. Following Chatham & Aylesford's example last year, when they raised over £3,000 on the Christmas Draw by writing to pledges, this will be rolled-out across West Kent for Christmas 2014. Also, to overcome the lack of local winners with the NCDS draw, we are also implementing a local draw for "raffle ticket sellers" - with 20 local prizes.This will guarantee local winners and give people "two draws for the price of one". 
5. The Group also agreed to host a Champagne and Canap├ęs reception in November (tbc) with a target of raising £5,000 for two nearby 40:40 seats. This support is in addition to our three coach-loads to Eastbourne to support Caroline Ansell.

So there we are - energy, commitment, planning for expansion and using our strength to work for the benefit of the Party. This is what can be achieved by working together; it really is the way forward.  

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