If I were Prime Minister for a day – What our members told us

Katie Howe was part of NCVO’s Parliamentary and Media Team and has now left NCVO. Her posts have been archived here for reference.

This month (July 2013) has seen NCVO members taking on the guise of Prime Minister for a day as the first phase of The 2015 Project – a consultation for NCVO members to help define our priorities in the run up to the 2015 election.

The Members’ Assembly and Evolve conference saw NCVO members looking to the future, and letting us know the one thing they would do if they were PM for a day – highlighting some of their key priorities and ideas for the future.

As well as searching Number 10 for secret passages, having tea with the Queen and remaking Hugh Grant’s dance to ‘Jump’ from Love Actually, our members have also put some serious thought into how they would use their time as leader of the country.

For some, the focus of their day as Prime Minister is about big picture ideas, such as “think of the poor” or “set the wheels in motion for a more equal society” and for others, it was specific policy changes that would make one key change for society, such as introducing “cycle lanes in all cities so cyclists can be safe on our roads”, or “re-introducing EMA”.

As well as asking NCVO members at the Members’ Assembly, at Evolve and through our website, we have also approached some key figures for the sector for their ideas when working as Prime Minister for a day. Top sector people include the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Julia Unwin, The Scout Association’s Matt Hyde and Shelter’s Campbell Robb – these have been fantastic and pretty inspirational blogs.

We have had around 85 responses from our members on this, and feel this is a great start to our far more detailed member consultation which will run until December 2013.  The 2015 Project will cover four themes that we think will be the big issues in public debate in the run up to the 2015 election, which are outlined in my previous post – Election 2015: And so the election campaign begins…

The three main themes our members picked out were:

Get politicians to understand volunteering, and take part themselves

“I would introduce regulations that would prevent anyone becoming a government minister who did not have some expertise or knowledge in the particular field they were entering. Education ministers would all have to have had at least 5 years teaching experience, for example”

 “I think I would raise the profile of the great army of volunteers who currently help keep this country on track!”

More thoughtful policy making

 “I will make equality the most important measure of public policy especially for disadvantaged people or society.”

“If I were PM for the day, I would ensure that, if the Government commissions research into an issue, then they have to act on the outcomes of that research even if it goes against their preferred policy approach.”

“Encourage community spirit rather than profit making.”

Make government more representative

“I would appoint a cabinet consisting of those who are most representative of the British public.  Comprehensive-school educated, 50% female, regionally spread, from a variety of demographic backgrounds.”

“My cabinet would consist of representatives from the voluntary sector, business, health and social care, older and younger people’s groups.”

“On my cabinet would be members of all different social and educational backgrounds, and an equal mix of men and women.  And have members who have worked before going into parliament.”

This is just the first of many (more in depth) opportunities for NCVO members to contribute and very soon we will be launching the full consultation– keep an eye on The 2015 Project pages for updates.

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