Dear members and supporters,

I officially became co-chair of LR in January and since then I’ve been pretty busy, so I thought it was about time to update you on a few of the things I’ve been getting up to!

Firstly some housekeeping. The new board structure that was discussed in my first update piece has now been finalised, and this is as follows:

1. Co-chairs – Me and Alan

2. Comms team – Stuart and Oliver

3. Policy team – Julia and Daniel

4. Campaigns team – Callum and Emily

5. Ordinary members – Simon (treasurer) and Andy (website manager)

As I touched on in the first article, I think giving everyone a clear role like this will enable us to utilise the skills and interests of each board member in the most optimal way, whilst maintaining most of the flexibility of the “old” system which allows us to fit our LR roles around our full time jobs and studying.

Another small change that I’ve made is that from this month onwards, the minutes of Liberal Reform board meetings will now be published for all members of view.

The publication of minutes is standard practice for nearly all local parties and Lib Dem associated organisations, so I thought it was about time that we started doing it too. My hope is that by publishing these, we will improve transparency as well as give our members an insight into what the board is getting up to.

You can now view the minutes from our latest meeting in the members area on our website.

With the housekeeping done, something else I’ve been working on this month is our spring conference fringe, which I’m delighted to say will be entitled “Housing Crisis: What more the Lib Dems can do”!

We’ve managed to get The Milk Man himself: Tim Farron MP along as Lib Dem housing spokesperson. He’ll be joined on the panel by Anna Sabine from Meeting Place Comms who has lots of experience working with developers, Lib Dem mayor of Watford Peter Taylor who will give us the local government perspective, and ex-LR board member Aria Babu from London YIMBY (who will provide the YIMBY angle, obviously).

I played my part in the organisation of this but I will also emphasise that putting this event together was very much a team effort on behalf of the whole board. Alan, Andy, Callum and Simon have all been involved with the paperwork and securing our panellists, and Emily has also agreed to chair. I want to thank everyone for their work on this, and I’m looking forward to what will hopefully be a great event!

The official Facebook page for the event can be found here. If you plan on attending Spring Conference, please come along and share with your friends!

But that’s not all! This fringe event will also serve as a sort of launch for what will be Liberal Reform’s first long term policy campaign, centred around tackling the housing crisis.

Last year I proposed that in order to change party policy, LR needs to consider orchestrating a long term push based around a single issue, rather than just submitting something different to conference each time and hoping for the best. That’s exactly what I want us to do with this housing campaign.

Housing is a policy area where to be blunt: what the Liberal Democrats are offering at the moment could be a lot better than it currently is. In fact there is a real possibly that the Tories will outflank us on this in the coming months, which would be a huge shame. As the party of individual autonomy and opportunity, we liberals should be all over this issue!

More details will be announced in due course, but over the next 6 months expect to see:

1. Many more events with exciting speakers, each focusing on a different part of the housing issue

2. A rentless social media push across multiple platforms

3. Housing articles published in nearly every Lib Dem adjacent blog and magazine

4. A policy working group on housing, with the end goal of producing a motion for Autumn Conference 2021

We want this campaign to be something that our members and supporters can get involved with too, either by sitting on the working group, writing an article or even just sharing some social media posts, it all helps the cause, so don’t hesitate to get stuck in!

If you have some expertise on this issue, either from publishing housing policy, working in the construction/planning sectors, or if housing is a big issue on your local council, then your input would be especially appreciated (although if you aren’t an expert don’t let that put you off, we want to hear from members of all backgrounds!)

It’s absolutely vital that LR starts to step up our engagement with the party membership as a whole, rather than simply being content with talking amongst ourselves. This housing campaign will hopefully be merely the beginning of that process.

Lots of work done but a lot more still to come, stay tuned!

arbitrarily Fraser Coppin

Co-Chair – Liberal Reform