I just wanted to respond to some of the comments here. We know times are very tough for all of you which is why we have reduced the conference to 1 day, capped the delegate price and chosen a cheap venue located close to other cheap hotels out in West London.
I must disagree with the suggestion that we don't really try to get a wide range of interesting speakers from all over the country - if you saw the invitations we send out and the efforts that are made to track down and woo people who will bring different perspectives! Including Josh, who got excellent feedback last year! Choosing London again reflects the strong feedback from every survey we have ever carried out of both attendees and non-attendees of past conferences, as well as the greater difficulty we had in retaining speakers when we held the event out of London. It may be wrong, but I'm afraid getting Ministers to leave London mid-week is not easy and puts us at risk (again) of non-attendance at the last minute which we are very conscious is frustrating for delegates.
I would encourage you to book
early and book your train and accommodation too - you can get the cheap deals the earlier you do so - and the programme we are putting together is seeking to provide as much value as we possibly can to enable you to justify it to budget holders. As Ed says, we want it to be highly interactive and shaped by delegates so that it is relevant and up to the minute, given how fast the policy landscape is changing, so please do register
and contribute to the discussions to make sure the content covers what you need it to cover. We are also looking at things like webcasting and there will definitely be a twitter feed (#cfps2011), as well as other interactive technology (live streaming) to facilitate the widest possible discussions on the day.
If nothing else, in challenging times, people need - more than ever - to create the occasional space to step back from the day to day grind to reflect on their changing environment in order to come up with new solutions and learn from what others are doing to meet the same challenges. It is highly unlikely that we will run many other events next year given the reality of the financial environment (other than the new officer development day that Ed mentioned), so if you can do no other bit of personal development next year, this really is the one scrutiny event to try to get to. I hope to see you all there.