Here’s the email I received today from the Liberal Democrat conference office, followed by the email I think I should have received.
Just to confirm, we have received information from Greater Manchester Police that you have been successfully accredited for the upcoming Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference 2011. Your conference pass will be posted to you in September.
In the meantime all conference papers, including the Agenda, Directory and Training Guide, are available to view online at www.LibDems.org.uk/AutumnConferencePapers.
We look forward to seeing you at conference.
The Conference Team
The Liberal Democrats
Please note: should you have colleagues or friends who have registered to attend the Liberal Democrat Conference but have not received confirmation of successful accreditation yet, please be aware that the accreditation process is ongoing and all members will be updated about their application when information becomes available.
WHAT I SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED
Thank you for registering for our party conference. I’m emailing you to let you know that your registration has now been fully processed and all the security checks passed. Thank you for your cooperation with this.
As you know, because the party is now in government the police have advised us to have much higher security than has been the case at previous party conferences. Some of that extra security was introduced in the spring and last autumn, and some of that extra security is now coming into force this autumn. That includes cooperating with the police’s request to let them make checks into people coming to conference. Any questions where the police raise a concern are referred to the party’s Federal Conference Committee officers as the party, quite rightly, retains the final say or who can or can’t come to our conferences.
Your conference pass will be posted to you in September.
In the meantime all conference papers, including the Agenda, Directory and Training Guide, are available to view online at www.LibDems.org.uk/AutumnConferencePapers. You will see from the agenda that there is both an opportunity to ask the Federal Conference Committee questions and also a debate specifically about the security arrangements for conference. However, if in the meantime you have any questions, you can contact me by simply replying to this email.
I and my colleagues look forward to seeing you at conference.
Chair, Federal Conference Committee
Please note: we are sending out these emails as the security checking is completed for each person, so if someone you know has not yet received an email about their own situation that simply means we have not yet got to them.
An email along the lines of the second one would not, of course, have removed the controversy around the security checks and how they are being carried out. But given that controversy I think the emails that are being sent are a big missed communications opportunity. Having said in the past that the party could and should be better at communicating in such circumstances, I though it only fair to put my money where my mouth is and show what I mean with a practical example.