Getting your policies in manifestos, Part Two…
Now we’ve had the last of the meetings, all papers have been passed and follow up meetings are being arranged further tips have emerged…
- Don’t get in touch just at election time
Policy Officers are in post all year! They value and appreciate contact between elections, perhaps when there is a little more time and less pressure to look into an issue. If there are changes/updates/new statistics on an issue you are campaigning on, send them when it happens – don’t wait until election time. Across all the events a two page briefing note was the prefered submission.
- Bring solutions
Whilst policy officers are interested in hearing what a problem is, bring your solutions too. Importantly, they are in interested in hearing at any point of the policy development process, whether you are at the beginning of developing an idea/ask, scoping out what happens elsewhere or you have a fully developed policy ask.
- Ask a policy officer to come to you
Yes they are busy and yes they get a lot of emails (especially during the manifesto development process) but Policy Officers told us they love a visit outside of the office! Site visits help add context to the facts and figures you bring them.
- Remember it is likely that Ministries will change
This is especially true with the Departmental Restructure (insert link) which will take place following the 2016 Elections. Parties will not hold the same Ministries after the election as they do now, therefore their focus and priorities will have to change. Don’t just target the party/parties who hold Ministries relevant to your interests now.
- Direct contact is welcome, even encouraged!
Finally, and potentially most importantly, all of the parties we engaged with made this point they welcome direct contact with the sector, so do call, email and set up meetings. Party Policy Officers want to hear from you on the issues that matter to your organisation and the solutions you have that will make a difference to your service users.
Importantly none of the parties had their manifesto finalised, none had their first draft finalised - with the earliest aim being Christmas for one party for the first draft, so there is still plenty of time to influence their content.
Each party is aiming for end of February/start of March for the production of their final draft.