Westminster Forum Projects

About Westminster Forum Projects

 Who are we?

Westminster Forum Projects (WFP) has its origins in the UK national Parliament, but its work now extends to policy decided in UK devolved Parliaments and Assemblies, the Oireachtas, and the European Commission and Parliament.

WFP currently offers 16 influential, impartial and cross-party forums:

All of the forums enjoy substantial support and involvement from key policymakers within legislatures, governments and regulatory bodies, and from stakeholders in the professions, businesses and their advisors, consumer organisations, local government, the third sector and other interested groups.

The forums organise senior-level conferences on a wide range of public policy areas.

None of the forums has a policy agenda of its own, other than simply to raise the quality of debate on public policy developments and so create opportunities for informed discussion.

Each WFP forum is structured to facilitate the formulation of 'best' public policy by providing policymakers and implementers, and those with an interest in the issues, with a sense of the way different stakeholder perspectives interrelate. Usually this is through impartially-framed, inclusive discussion conducted either in public or under the Chatham House Rule.

Forum conferences are frequently the platform for major policy statements from senior Ministers and regulators, Opposition spokesmen and leading opinion-formers in industry and interest groups. Conferences regularly receive prominent coverage in the national media and trade press.

We are a private company offering a proposition of strict impartiality in organising timely conferences on public policy.

The aim of all conferences is to provide policymakers with context for arriving at whatever decisions they see fit, and for all delegates to have the opportunity to lobby, learn, exchange views and network.

WFP forums derive revenue from two sources: sponsorship and the cost of individual places to events or copies of publications. There is no other source of funding.

The first of the forums was the Westminster Media Forum (WMF), which began in 1996 as a series of annual meetings organised on behalf of the Westminster Parliament's All-Party Parliamentary Media Group.

The BBC in 2002 suggested that we intensify our activity to reflect numerous events happening in this space, including the passage through Parliament of the Communications Bill.

In 2003 Parliamentary patrons of the WMF suggested there was a need for a similar forum on nutrition and health issues. We later added a separate series on electronic commerce and telecoms - the eForum - and then the Westminster Education Forum in 2004.

Other forums have since been launched at the suggestion of Parliamentarians, officials, businesses and others.

FAQs

 Our automated delegate login area

Bookings are made via our website and once they have been submitted you will be issued with a unique booking reference number which will enable you to manage your booking.

The delegate login area can be used to review bookings, make delegate replacements or cancellations or update delegate details, and view agendas, invoices, venue information and transcripts.

We offer free places to policymakers and the reporting media

This applies to people from organisations that decide on what policy should be put in place or how it should be implemented, including:

  • UK, devolved nation and EU policymakers and their pass-holding staff; and
  • Officials who work within UK and national government departments; European Commission officials; members of the Oireachtas and Government of Ireland officials; and some regulators who are able to decide policy.

The reporting press also receive complimentary places, as we want to have our proceedings widely reported on.

Anyone else?

  • The other broad group that are offered free or reduced-fee places are those who cannot be expected to be able to afford to attend.

The reason for this is that if we didn't offer complimentary or concessionary-rate places to this group we wouldn't be fulfilling our main brand proposition of organising impartial seminars because some interested parties would be disadvantaged or even excluded from our discussions by our fees.

Usually this will apply to:

  • Individual service users or carers;
  • Full-time students;
  • People between jobs or who are fully retired with no paid work; and
  • Representatives of small charities - not businesses, individuals funded by an organisation, or larger charities/not-for-profit companies.

The criterion is ability to contribute so larger charities and not-for-profit organisations are expected to have the resources to pay the full delegate fee, as are commercial companies of any size.

Our aim is to fund our work in the fairest possible way, which is why we ask those who have the resources to pay their way so we can offer concessions and complimentary places to those who can't contribute.

If you're in doubt, fill in the online booking form and our customer services team will be in touch.

Our preferred payment method is over the phone by credit/debit card, however should you like to receive an invoice this can be requested in the comments box when completing the booking form.

Dietary and access requirements can be added to the comments box when completing the booking form.

If the booking form has already been submitted, please login to our Delegate Login Area with your email and unique reference number to contact us.

There is no strict dress code; delegates tend to attend in a mix of smart and casual but no code is enforced.

Generally these are morning conferences which take place from 9.00 until 13.00, with registration opening from 8.30.

Occasionally we have afternoon events, which are advertised as such (timings may vary).

Venues for conferences are usually confirmed 4-6 weeks before the event and the information will be displayed on our website. Delegates that are already booked to attend will have the information emailed as soon as it is confirmed.

Unfortunately we do not allow delegates to transfer between events, but please feel free to contact our office if you would wish to discuss this further.

We will be more than happy to update the delegate details. There is no charge for this. Please login via this website with your email and unique reference number. You can then replace your delegate and will also be able to check and amend names, job titles and contact details. You can also view venue information, timings, the agenda, invoices, receipts and other relevant details.

Any issues please contact our office for any further information.

We understand that circumstances sometimes change and that occasionally delegate bookings need to be cancelled. However, processing bookings and cancellations incurs significant costs for us, and so - as is the case with other providers of conferences and similar pre-booked services - we need to recover these costs. You agree to this when confirming acceptance of our terms and conditions during the booking process. Our cancellation fees are in line with other organisations.

Please note, though, that there is no charge for simply replacing your delegate. To do this, please login via this website with your email and unique reference number. Alternatively delegate changes can be emailed to delegate.relations@westminsterforumprojects.co.uk along with the replacement delegate’s job title and email address.

However if you cannot find a replacement then the terms are as follows:

Cancellations 14 or more days before the event will be charged at £70 + VAT per delegate for conferences based in the United Kingdom and €90 + VAT in the Republic of Ireland.

Cancellations made less than 14 days before the event will be charged at the full delegate fee of £210 + VAT for conferences based in the United Kingdom and €275 + VAT in the Republic of Ireland.

Cancellations must be notified via the login on our website or in writing to delegate.relations@westminsterforumprojects.co.uk.

It is always worth trying to book a place on our conferences at the last minute, although events are sometimes oversubscribed, in which case this will be noted on the website. Please use the booking form on our website, or contact us if you require any further information.

No, neither speakers nor chairs are ever paid to take part in our conferences discussing public policy issues and we never make exceptions.

Neither do we offer payment in kind by way of extra places, complimentary places to other events, donations to a third party such as a charity, or any other means.

Our side of things is that we bring together an influential, interested set of participants to engage with speakers and chairs on their points of view and to network with eachother.

All speakers and chairs are expected to stick to discussing policy rather than plug any organisation they are associated with.

We will only provide expenses to speakers or chairs in exceptional cases of need - either when the speaker doesn't receive funding from an organisation, or sometimes for legislators who need a taxi to get them back urgently for a debate.

The forums warmly welcome the involvement of sponsors, but we organise seminars whether we get sponsorship or not, and all events adhere to our core proposition of impartiality, not to the agenda of any sponsor. Final decisions on all aspects of seminars remain with the Forum in the interests of impartiality.

Sponsors receive significant benefits, including:

  • Prominent acknowledgement;
  • First refusal as speakers (if appropriate, however note that sponsorship is not a condition of becoming a speaker); and
  • Consultation on themes to be included for discussion.

We also ask sponsors to suggest policymakers, reporting press and stakeholders to be invited to take part. However, no-one with a relevant point of view is excluded from seminars at the suggestion of sponsors or anyone else.

For further information on sponsorship and exhibition opportunities,  please check our sponsorship page on this website, or contact us at sponsorship@forumsupport.co.uk.

The aim of WFP forum activity is to be indispensable to all responsible stakeholders in contributing to development of the best possible public policy. So events are usually held when there are current issues to discuss and there is an opportunity for stakeholders to affect outcomes.

Typically this could be when decisions are due to be made, implemented or reviewed, or when an emerging issue seems worth raising for exploration and discussion.

The core programme of events flows from informal, confidential meetings the forums regularly hold with senior officials in governments and regulatory bodies, with Special Advisors, and with our Parliamentary and Assembly patrons.

These confidential discussions help us understand in detail the timing of various stages in policy formulation, consultation and implementation and often highlight key unresolved issues. We also consult industry (including our sponsors), support services, interest groups and academics. These help us schedule and structure events appropriately.

Just get in touch.

We always welcome ideas for seminar topics, the themes for discussion and for speakers - if you or a colleague would like to be considered as a speaker at an upcoming seminar, contact us at speakeroffers@forumsupport.co.uk.

WFP never offers fees to speakers, and all speakers are expected to give their views on public policy, not a plug for their organisation if they have one.