Career stories

What’s it like at party conferences as a public affairs consultant?

by Ben Farmer

Party Conferences are a critical moment in the public affairs calendar. Account Manager Ben Farmer provides an overview of what party conferences are like from the view of a public affairs consultant. Ben was one of the consultants PLMR Group funded to attend the 2023 Labour Party conference as part of our 18-event Policy Hub programme.

It’s a good way to increase your policy and sector knowledge

The plethora of fringe events on every topic imaginable means it’s a very time effective way to keep up to date with the latest discussions and debates within the sector. For example, this year, I enjoyed attending a panel from Keep Britain Tidy on litter and recycling and a panel on childcare reform which both provided useful insights from industry leaders which we can use to inform our wider work.

It helps you understand how the parties work

A key skill in public affairs is understanding the inner working and mechanics of each political party. Party conferences are a great way to see this in action, especially at Labour and Liberal Democrat conferences with votes taking place throughout the week on the conference floor. Understanding the main levers in the policy making process is crucial to deliver effective engagement. For example, for engagement with Labour, being aware of the policy making role unions, members and social societies have can assist in getting your policy asks across.

It’s hard work

Between attending fringes and receptions, supporting clients, networking and keeping up with the main news stories of the day, attending party conferences are tiring! Top tips for success include making time to eat (and finding somewhere to do so), keeping hydrated and fitting in some sleep.

It gets you close to the action and it’s a great way to get up to date with insights

Party conferences are a great opportunity to get away from the office and network with MPs, staffers and other influencers in real life. Stakeholders can feel remote or removed over email or on the phone and chatting in-person can help with building up relationships and connections, especially when day-to-day life in Westminster is so busy.

Intern Insights – PLMR Interns share their experiences

PLMR colleagues reflect on their proudest achievements of 2023

More Careers Stories

Intern Insights – PLMR Interns share their experiences

PLMR colleagues reflect on their proudest achievements of 2023

What’s it like at party conferences as a public affairs consultant?

A Day at PLMR Healthcomms

How my role at PLMR takes me to parliament and beyond

My experience of being a Summer Stars Intern at PLMR

Three things I have learnt about the comms industry while working at PLMR

A taste of working abroad through PLMR’s Leadership Exchange Programme

PLMR colleagues to reflect on their proudest achievements from the year

Why I Came Back to PLMR Advent

Five Reasons Why PLMR’s Public Affairs Practice Is A Great Place To Work 

PLMR LEARN: Our foundational training programme for consultants new to the communications sector 

PLMR LEAD: Our training programme for experienced consultants 

PLMR: The job I never applied for 

PLMR helped me turn a sector passion into a consultancy career 

How I built a successful PR career in the Midlands 

How I started a new career and won the Intern of the Year award in just three months 

How a public sector career helped me thrive in an agency setting  

From Apprentice to PLMR Digital’s Deputy Team Leader 

From Intern to leading a team 

Add PLMR to your contacts

PLMR’s crisis communications experience is second to none, and includes pre-emptive and reactive work across traditional and social media channels. We work with a range of organisations to offer critical communication support when they are faced with difficult and challenging scenarios.