How accessible is Federal Conference?

For those who are regular attendees at Federal Conference, you will know that over the last few years, the venues have changed significantly. Being in Government, we’ve seen a shift from open door policy to armed police.

And with this added security, many of us with access needs have found problems. Walking distances have increased, check points have increased and venues seemingly expand every year in colour, size and choice of experience.

When you suffer from a long term condition, it’s often overlooked by those who don’t that such needs can have an impact on your ability to enjoy and make the most of the Federal Conference experience. And as a member of Federal Conference Committee, I want to make sure that equality of opportunity is open to everyone who attends, regardless of their access needs.

Suffering from Fibromyalgia myself, I found Glasgow SECC, with its stairs, corridors and disconcerting twists and turns, to have more of an impact on me than I’d anticipated. And reports to the Access Committee of Federal Conference Committee echoed these concerns.

However, the distances people can or cannot walk are not the only considerations we need to take into account. People with disabilities have a wide range of needs, we cannot take a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

In order to try and overcome some of the issues people face at Conference, I am inviting members of the Liberal Democrats to feed back on access and disability issues via a simple survey

This survey is confidential and your information will not be used for any other purpose.

Please complete the survey by 31st December 2013

I’m also happy to discuss any issues or concerns you may have separately, should you prefer. Please feel free to get in touch.

Conference is a fantastic experience, and I need your help to make sure it’s an enjoyable experience for everyone.


* Kelly-Marie Blundell is a member of Federal Policy Committee, Vice Chair of the Social Security Working Group and previous parliamentary candidate

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Grace Goodlad 30th Oct '13 - 12:14pm

    I still say that economic factors cause the largest exclusion from conference.

    Although it is laudable that we still make policy at conference at Policy, in reality the wealthy, the middle class, and people who get paid to go to conference make our policy.

    I firmly believe that there is a role for the party centrally to pre block book a significant number of budget/value hotels (such as premier inns) before venues are publicly announces and then re-sell them to reps.

    As a two-Libdem household we worked out that registration, travel, accommodation and food for two would come out at close to a thousand pounds. Oddly, we don’t have that sort of cash jangling about spare…….

    I know it is a thankless task organising conference, and I do respect that huge amounts of hard work go into it, but as belts keep tightening some effort needs to be made to help people on average or low incomes.

    //rant over

  • Tracy Connell 30th Oct '13 - 12:15pm

    There are some people who can’t even get to conference.

    I suggested back in spring 2011 that we have video conferencing etc. for things like fringe meeting so people at home can participate. So far, nothing done on this issue.

  • Norman Fraser 30th Oct '13 - 12:20pm

    I’m glad to see you taking this issue forward. Unfortunately the survey seemed to freeze at the end and I’m not sure my results were saved.

  • “I firmly believe that there is a role for the party centrally to pre block book a significant number of budget/value hotels (such as premier inns) before venues are publicly announces and then re-sell them to reps.”

    OMG this. Would help SO much.

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 30th Oct '13 - 8:49pm

    Excellent initiative Kelly-Marie, just goes to show why you should be an MP, you listen!

  • Survey froze at the end. Not sure it got through.

  • Simon Banks 1st Nov '13 - 10:25am

    I don’t have a disability issue, but I too found the SECC disorienting, the layout stretched out and confusing. Permanent signage was quite good, but prominent temporary signs would have helped. And I remember long ago a Liberal Assembly in Dundee where the venue staff were not only helpful in pinpointing named rooms, but were able to direct you to a workshop by its arcane Liberal policy freak name.

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