The team have been undertaking an Improvement Audit of our By-Election Service.
A number of minor improvements have been implemented immediately, but we propose to implement further improvements from October 2010 following consultation with members. A number of more complex issues which require programming work to be undertaken would be commissioned in October, but take a number of months before they become live.
Members are asked for their views on the issues in the review.
ALDC currently collects information on all principal local authority by-elections in Great Britain.
Members and other Liberal Democrats help us to do this by notifying us of forthcoming by-elections and vacancies.
We publish all forthcoming by-elections on our website, together with details of the Liberal Democrat candidate and contact details for support.
We also report on all Town and Parish council by-elections that we are made aware of.
Emails are sent to candidates with a number of resources and campaign ideas.
Each Friday we research all the above by-election results.
These are published online as we are notified or following contact with Returning Officers, including a comparison and swing from the previous time this ward was contested.
As soon as we have all results in a by-election email is circulated to those ALDC members who have asked for this, together with a number of key party officers and officials.
The results email also includes all forthcoming by-elections.
The results and forthcoming by-elections are published in our column in the subsequent edition of Lib Dew News, together with a short analysis column which is also published online.
The results and forthcoming by-elections are published to the LD Members and ALDC conferences in CIX.
Emails are sent to the by-election candidates following the result.
Every six months we publish an analysis of by-election performance in our members magazine Campaigner. Additional analysis is made available within the party (for example as one of the performance indicators assessed by the Federal Executive.
The team want to consider improving the by-election service to address the following issues:
– the amount of officer time taken to provide this free service
– potential to use more recent technology to improve the service
Changes that we are considering
Parish and Town Councils
In future we propose to only report on Town and Parish council elections where they have Liberal Democrat candidates AND are significant elections for the local Lib Dems who are contesting them (we’ll let you decide what is significant!). Town and parish council by-elections will continue to not form part of our analysis of by-election results.
We have immediately began to “tweet” all forthcoming by-elections as they are notified to us (you an follow us @aldc to receive these updates); and are tweeting our by-election alalysis column every Friday afternoon.
Encouraging local campaigners to report more results to us
We will be encouraging local campaigners to report results to us as they happen, to allow us to report on results earlier on the Friday. Over time we will investigate using technology to automate this process.
Currently we wait for Friday morning counts before publishing our results email. We propose to not wait, but to publish the Thursday results as soon as they come in, with a supplement if there are Friday counts. At present we sometimes have to circulate two emails to cover all the forthcoming by-elections, in future we will limit this to one email with the next elections by date.
Contact with candidates
We will review the emails that we send to candidates before and after the election. All winning Councillors will be sent ALDC’s Councillors’ Handbook when elected.
We propose to cease posting results on CIX from later in the year. CIX has served ALDC well for many years but is now only used by a small number of members. All the information currently available will be available to members online.
We will cease publishing turnout figures unless they are reported to us by the local campaign team (this is a significant time saving).
We propose to make our forthcoming and results services available as RSS feeds on a regional basis. We hope that this would be of use to Regional and State parties to enable them to promote by-elections in their area, and also as a widget for local liberal democrats to include on their websites.
We propose to begin a project to make the by-election results analysis “live” on our website, but this will take a number of months to implement.
Members views are very welcome on the above proposed changes before the end of September 2010.
ALDC Chief Executive