Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Planning for Conference

As yesterday's post highlighted - Conference season is upon us. If one is going, what planning is involved? These are my thoughts - after many Labour Party conferences, the first being back in 2000.

Planning ahead is essential. This week there will be people booking their accommodation for the 2016 Conference in Liverpool. Accommodation can be hard to find - particularly as conference gets closer. The numbers involved in a major party conference are immense - delegates, party members, party officials, exhibitors - and most need overnight accommodation during the conference.

Applications for the various tickets are usually required during the late spring and summer. Constituency Labour Parties & affiliated organisations choose delegates to send during this period. "Balcony Passes" are available to party members who wish to attend.

Train tickets also need to be bought in advance.

At the beginning of September, the Conference Magazine is sent out. I immediately get out my conference planning grid - which has evolved since I first attended a conference - in Brighton - back in 2000. Using the conference Magazine I choose which events I hope to attend. The problem is that there is always so much on - so my excel file allows me to put order of preference for each event at the same time. Circumstances change - a really interesting event requiring a long walk in horrendous weather may be sacrificed if I'm running rate (or don't fancy the awful rain and wind outside).

Below are photos of my grid for last year's conference in Manchester.


I'll be printing out my final version for this year's Brighton conference - and armed with any required tickets, will be ready to set off at the weekend. But first, the packing...