In forty-eight hours, we've made pretty good progress. The selection criteria are almost agreed, a draft Regional Profile has been circulated, and a vast array of papers have turned up from Party HQ in the nick of time. For me, this is pretty amazing, as I am prone to leaving things to the last moment.
The Selection Committee and Returning Officer have been hard at work, reading documents, letting me have their thoughts, and generally being great, and we're even now talking dates for the shortlisting phase.
The one members meeting (you can't call them hustings any more), will take place at the Regional Conference in Cambridge on 20 October (I think that I chair that), and I am encouraging Local Parties to organise events elsewhere to give the applicants an opportunity to meet members.
I do have some concerns, however. As the deadline for publishing the advert was missed, due to the failure to appoint a Returning Officer for South West England until very late in the day, the deadline for applications is only two weeks after the advert goes live. That does potentially mean that anyone going away on holiday will have very little time to complete their application form, and I do wonder whether or not more time could be given, especially as we have more than ten weeks to agree the final shortlist.
That may be something we need to look at in the coming week...