Digital revolution in the Labour Party

Digital is transforming nearly every part of our society.  I had a very clear message from Labour members during the Deputy Leadership election that they expect the party to change. By the next general election they expect us to use technology differently in our campaigns, in the way we make policy and how we organise our communities.

Joining the party should be the start of a journey. So we’re going back to first principles to look at how voters, members and supporters interact with us.

The change we want to bring about

We want to understand what the best experience looks like for members, potential members, supporters, volunteers and voters by:

  • Using technology to engage people, while not excluding those without access to technology
  • Exploring how to further open up the party in a way that leads to effective decision making
  • Building a deeper two-way relationship with members and supporters
  • Extending our reach into our communities
  • Increasing our membership base
  • Working more with our members to understand how they can help the party

We’ll also need to understand how we improve talking about what we do as a party and how people can get involved in what we do.

  • Communicating in a more human way
  • Being even more open and clear about opportunities for members to stand for election
  • Making the party easier for everyone to understand

We’ll discover more as our work progresses.

Digital discovery and the Labour Digital team

We’ve set up a digital discovery team as part of the Labour Digital team. They’re exploring how the Labour Party should adapt to the wider digital revolution happening in the UK and beyond.

The digital discovery will last for about 8 – 12 weeks. During this time they’ll talk to as many people as possible to understand their needs and to identify where there are problems we need to solve.

They’ll test solutions and start to understand what the party needs to do next. They’ll be open-minded and change their focus based on what they learn.

Learning by doing

The digital discovery team will be flexible in how they work.

We don’t yet know all of the things that we need to do; that’s what I hope this team will be finding out.

As a party we need to bring about change quickly. We don’t want to spend years in lengthy consultations or writing detailed papers. But we need to get it right.

That’s why each week the team will update their findings on this blog.

This will be an open and collaborative process, with ways for you to get involved.

In the meantime, if you have any comments or thoughts we’d love to hear them either comment below or email

94 Thoughts on Digital revolution in the Labour Party

  1. Fantastic – this is something I’ve been looking forward to! I’d love to help out if possible – I’m a software developer and have had conversations with others about what Labour could do. I look forward to seeing this progress, we can’t afford for Labour to not embrace technology!

    1. Great to hear from you Tom, we will certainly be looking for software developers who can volunteer time. How to best organise this work will be part of my job during this discovery, but I will be in touch, and expect lots of Github activity!

      James Darling,
      Technical Architect,
      Digital Discovery Team

  2. As the CLP Secretary for Altrincham & Sale West, since the GE I have had to change how I communicate information to members and supporters. Our membership has trebled in 6 months. Emails were blocking up my server due to the high numbers. I now use ‘Mailchimp’ which is free, so quick and easy. I circulate information every month on events and campaigning locally. Members details are kept confidential. I update email addresses every month using Membersnet. I even get email replies thanking me! Makes a change! Members can remove their details from Mailchimp if they do not wish to receive them. My only concern if for those members who have not listed an email address.

    1. Why don’t you set up a CLP site on Facebook. We set up two. One which is open giving info regarding events and news and encouraging people to join. The other site is closed and only Labour members can join or can be invited to join by our membership secretary. It is also a discussion and debating site . Our members details are kept confidential and we share information about events and any help available from other Labour CLP sites. We have run a few joint campaigns ie Junior Doctors Strike , Rail Fares etc and we get immediate feedback if any of the dates or times of the campaigns are changed. The logistics of using only emails to change the times of events is impossible but if our members visit the party site they can get the info at once. The old ways of doing things are no longer viable in this digital age. We also run a learning programme helping people to access the internet safely.. It must not be forgotten that Jeremy was elected through the digital media and the process needs to be enlarged

      1. I think it would be better to organise things through the Labour Party website, which already has the public and members only sections. I don’t trust profit driven social media companies like facebook, twitter, google et al. to respect the confidentiality and openness of a socialist party. What if we were debating the corporate taxation policies of Facebook on a Facebook page and some of the content mysteriously disappeared due to a ‘technical glitch’? Or we were criticising a company and Facebook or Google Ads puts a banner ad for that company on the same page?

    2. Sounds like a really progressive, effective tool.
      I am liking this plan, to exploit communication, to improve the progression of the Party. I believe it will net those young adults, currently being attacked by the Right. They have been disillusioned by Politics, but are more important than ever.
      The net of effectiveness, needs widening, not shortening, to undermine the few who manipulate power.

    3. Hi, I’m now secretary of Broxbourne CLP. I’ve also had problems sending out emails to all members because of “too many recipients”. So I signed up to Mailchimp but was put off using it when I realised our Members list would be stored somewhere on there. Is there a confidentiality problem?
      Secondly, some of the email addresses supplied by our members seem to be faulty, but my email provider doesn’t tell me which, just says that some of the emails couldn’t be delivered! Do you have this problem and how have you dealt with it please?

      1. I’m chair of City of London BLP in the Cities of London and Westminster CLP. Following the upsurge of interest I opened a Mailchimp account, which all branch officers can access. It provides valuable information about who is opening our campaigns, and how quickly.

      2. Kathy, you are right to be concerned about “a confidentiality problem”.

        In every CLP’s Data Protection registration I’ve looked at at the Information Commissioner’s website, the CLP promises that “[personal] information is only shared within the European Economic Area (EEA)” – I think this is taken from the standard DPA template for local political parties. So if a CLP uploads its email list to a US hosted and controlled service like Mailchimp, I think there is a Data Protection issue.

        This could also apply to Facebook usage if the CLP uploads personal data. But if all the members voluntarily subscribe to the Facebook page, they have all given explicit consent so that is probably OK.

        I actually raised this issue with Labour’s national Data Protection Officer when Labour first started recommending Nationbuilder to CLPs in 2013, as at that time Nationbuilder was hosted in the US. Since then Nationbuilder website hosting for Labour CLPs seems to have been switched to the UK, which eases this problem. Though Nationbuilder is still controlled from the US, meaning US staff have access, so the Data Protection position still does not seem entirely clear to me.

        UK/EU Data Protection law generally precedes large scale internet usage, and the two do not sit easily with each other. Quite a tricky problem, for which I wish there was clearer guidance to CLPs from Labour’s Data Protection Officer or now the Labour Digital Team.

        1. In terms of data protection, MailChimp isn’t the only provider of Email broadcasting services available to us.

          We could utilize UK providers – like

          This would make our Data Protection compliance crystal clear.

          However, why are we using external platforms. Why use Facebook when our membersnet could offer the same platform. Yet, secure within the Labour servers and access could be better monitored.

          Food for thought eh?

          1. Thank you for the replies. I’ll have a look at totalsend or other UK providers but would have to be convinced the data couldn’t be accessed by anyone other than me. I hope the digital revolution group will come up something to solve this problem.
            Another problem – about 70 of our members don’t have email. Each month the postage costs us £38, and this month the date of a council meeting was changed – I had suggested members go to the meeting to support our councillors, so we had to send out another mailing costing the same!

  3. The youth are very IT savvy but are also often misguided by established media. I have tested this with several young students who visit me. We need the following:
    1. An interactive media site that
    A. correctly portrays our principles and our reality.
    B. This site should also have an update on all issues/challenges facing the youth and direct links that will provide support around these challenges.
    C. Interactive games that teach the benefits of practicing our core values.

  4. Tom,

    Who is the LP’s CIO? – We *need* a visionary!

    8-12 weeks is *nothing like* long enough to deal with this – that will be long enough to establish the top level requirements at best, and no more.
    I think the party is *completely* underestimating the importance and power of the new technologies.

    1. Hi Andy,

      The first piece of work that we’re doing is a discovery project – this is definitely the start of the journey and by no means the end. Like you we appreciate this is a big job! The aim of the discovery project is to understand the problem we are trying to solve, to capture user needs, to do lots of user research. Based on what we learn we will then decide what to do next.

      We’ll be sharing updates on this discovery each week, so would welcome your comments on the different findings coming up from the work.

      1. Chief Information Officer – usually a term describing the executive c-level board member in charge of technology. So CEO or CFO and now you have CIO.

    2. I agree – I think the Digital Tranformation project is a great idea, but I think it needs to be longer and also research new and emerging technologies to reach out to disempowered people. We almost need our own media channel to counter a lot of the misinformation spread by the mainstream media.

  5. “Joining the party should be the start of a journey. So we’re going back to first principles to look at how voters, members and supporters interact with us”, “Building a deeper two-way relationship with members and supporters” and “Communicating in a more human way”. The basic tenet here of a party communicating with it’s members is problematic. The party is its members. If this becomes about how to communicate a position and then get feedback on it, or simply “better messaging” that would be a wasted opportunity. A digital strategy should be more about how to give members, whether within CLPs or across them, more opportunity to interact with each other and share ideas for activism, policy, organisation and broader discussion of politics and society. A really good strategy would also make sure that those opportunities for debate and discussion can be taken offline into real meetings as quickly as possible.

    1. Thanks Ben, this is something we’d agree with and we will be keeping in mind for the discovery work.

      James Darling,
      Technical Architect,
      Digital Discovery Team.

      1. I think the design is important. It shouldn’t be slick but in this regard Labour should in every detail ooze confidence and progressive futurism. People should dream of a utopia and idealism. The content should be imaginative, crafted and original. Am arts division should be set up within the Labour party. Maybe as bold as the Bahaus..

        1. A technical architect is somebody who understands and can design technical systems (i.e. software) whilst keeping in mind things like stability, security, scalability, performance etc. They are often responsible for the breaking down of higher-level requirements into tangible components which can be built by independent teams. For a quick example, Facebook is not just a website – there are a whole host of other applications, services and components which all need to work together in order to provide a good experience for the end-user. A technical architect (or somebody filling that role, whether it’s their job title or not) views the entire system from above.

          In the same way that an architect designs a building that ‘works’, a technical architect helps to design a software system that works. They can see all of the wiring, all of the plumbing, how it all fits together to form a whole, whereas the people working on an individual room only really need to know how to build their specific bit.

  6. The fact that Tom Watson is communicating here via a web video is an excellent start. Labour needs to make maximum use of this medium. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a well edited web video is worth a million.

    I suggest that Labour puts out a call for a national network of members in every town and city who are videographers and/or video editors who will volunteer to film local Labour, trade union and other campaigning events, rallies or interview party candidates to get the party message across via the Web

    Today, in addition to digital camcorders enthusiasts, almost everyone has a smartphone or tablet that can shoot pretty good quality video or audio. They might need a few tips and words of advice like holding the phone in landscape not portrait position when filming (video is normally displayed landscape!) and using video editing software.

    Perhaps the party could set up a platform to display videos about local party news and issues? Video could be uploaded to YouTube and then displayed on the platform.

    1. Definitely. Video has a large and growing importance in online media. Labour have had some great recent successes in this area, something we’re hoping to learn from and grow dramatically on. Looking at a more user generated model is something we will be considering during the discovery.

      James Darling,
      Technical Architect,
      Digital Discovery Team

  7. Just a thought – I have been accused by a couple of my Facebook “friends” of posting too much “biased baloney” on my Facebook page. Most of it, but not all, is reposting “Jeremy for PM” posts and some left-wing articles from the Mirror, Independent and Guardian. The Labour Party needs to find a way of getting the message out there using social media without alienating the very people we need to reach and persuade.

  8. Serious consideration needs to be given to funding for, for example, Facebook campaigns at LOCAL level. Overseeing my local branch Facebook page, were getting modest organic growth, but a relatively small amount of investment is needed to spread our message more effectively locally. This was taken very seriously by the Tories but was largely ignored by the Labour Party. Yes, we need central social media focus, but it’s the local focus that will truly grab attention. Modest, really modest investment from, perhaps, CLPs to branches would be an important step.

    1. Facebook’s advertising platform is incredibly powerful at targeting people based on location and interests. With some investment, it’s possible to inform a very specific audience about local campaigns. Digital marketing is changing how organisations reach out to both “warm” and “cold” audience segments.

  9. Keep us and others in the loop, Social media is a particularly important tool because so much of the UK newspapers and news services are so thoroughly biased we need to hear what’s really happening

  10. With the media in the hands of tory stooges, it would be good to have a daily brief on the issues going through parliament. The perspective from the left.
    Hot topics, or ongoing debates could be compiled into files which people could access. e.g. Trades union legislation- Because time elapses between debates and readings a summary could be accessed to bring people up to speed.

    The most obnoxious thing in politics is spin. The snouts in the trough dictating the direction of policy. It would be good to make the links, have drop down menus on political figures and categories, like which companies they have declared interests in, what their expenses claims are etc. Then when we hear them blathering on about nuclear or fracking and check up on their directorships, we can make a better judgement to see through the spin.

    1. Sean Gerachty the system you describe sounds very appealing to me. I am guessing it would be technically sophisticated needing plenty know-how to set up plus a heavy ongoing requirement to update if it is to keep its relevance and appeal. As a non-technical person who uses digital media I would love to have such a resource to access.

      1. Maybe with a simple to use content-manageable front end, people could be responsible for updating their own information to avoid any heavy ongoing requirement? (A bit like Wikipedia). With an open log/list accessible, to show who has made all updates for transparency. A short one-off registration for ‘admins’ perhaps, to limit any malicious foul play?

  11. I am all for this move by Labour. For a while I have thought that with digital technology the public could become much more directly involved in governments descision making – they in essence become part of the govenment! Certainly we could as Labour supporters have more influence in policy making, helping to form the party from the inside so that it really is it’s membership.

  12. A few of ideas:

    1. Create topic-specific chatrooms, so members from all over the country can come together and engage in debate (and ultimately policy formation) in specific areas they are interested and knowledgeable about

    2. Create short youtube videos that challenge specific false narratives pushed by our opponents. The videos should be informative, based on verifiable facts and data (which is referenced), presented visually and well argued. The intention would be that people see them on social media (like Facebook) and like and share them with their friends lists, with the best going viral. We should get creative and ask members (possibly through the single-issue chatrooms) to submit videos in a little competition and then the best and most persuasively put arguments (potentially as voted for by members) could be released to the wider public. This type of crowd-sourcing would likely bring out far more creative ideas than can be found through a central body commissioning a video; if the tech-swavy youth are given free reign they will probably produce something pretty good

    3. Do the same as number 2 but based on selling individual positive Labour policies (rather than just opposing Tory policies).

    1. Great ideas – need also to ensure that intelligence developed focused on a specific issue is also consciously connected to other issues such that potential knock-on effects (aka unintended consequences) can be more easily understood in a systems thinking manner. We need to become more articulate in such things as Causal Loop Diagrams.

      Also – we need to harness the innovation in this Citizen Web space being developed worldwide.

      1. Agreed. All public spending should be judged in this manner, as in, what benefit do we get from each spend? Not only directly but in savings elsewhere (i.e. spend on early school and support for parents now, gain lower spend from averted social problems later and higher productivity from the child when an adult). What is the predicted multipler that the government/society will get back from any given spend (i.e. spend now on flood defence, save 5 times on averted flood damage). If all spending is analysed in this way then the narrative changes to no one of arguing over levels of spending but about the benefits of each individual outlay. There should be no defined limit on what a government can spend as long as the payback is greater than the outlay. In practice we know that there is a limit to public spending but the point is that is picked up by the cost benefit analysis of each individual project rather than a limit artificially selected centrally. Of course, the key other half of this approach (a half which cannot be ignored or treated as less than the benefit analysis) is if the funds weren’t taxed what would it likely be spent on (internally bought services, externally bought products from China, second homes, pension schemes etc.) and would that be more or less beneficial than what we’d get from the proposed public spend. These are the types of analysis that the government should do and the results should be published for all to see and pick apart. Labour should develop a methodology in tandem with the relevant experts and then sell it to the public by pushing it as an approach every time the media quizzes us on what we are planning to spend how we would pay for it.

  13. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter played a major part in my opinion in my local green candidate’s result (she came from nowhere to third behind the Tories and UKIP) She connected with young people on the issues , nationally and locally, that mattered to them on a platform that they use on a day to day basis. By comparison the Local Labour candidate could as well have been gagged.

  14. The truth is simply stay one step ahead keep it to 30 seconds GIFs.
    Make things fun & simple.
    Best GIF or MEME of the week. Competition then circulated that. People do that now anyway expand on that.

  15. I am a IT Support Technician at a University in Scotland, a Labour member and a UNITE lay Rep and official.

    My interest is in linking up all digital media with traditional campaigning and increasing Labour membership in Scotland through this means. Scottish Labour needs reinvigorating and to take the SNP head-on, we need to harness the power of social media and other technologies and integrate them with traditional campaigning.

    I would be very interested in helping this along through my CLP and the wider Labour movement in Scotland.

  16. I’m one of the candidates for the ward of Paston & Walton, Peterborough: we’re already using technology effectively in the campaign, though admittedly it’s a learning process. It’s fantastic that Labour is positioning itself as a the Party of Digital – I’d love to assist further.

  17. Nationally I think we should look at setting up a YouTube TV channel (short clips) to discuss policy and get ideas across. People seem to be reading less and less. Different feedback channels for members and voters would provide some enlightenment about how well-received LP ideas are by voters. Not too much talking to ourselves please..Locally (Southampton) we have had some difficulties with Nationbuilder. It seems to have potential. Our capability for delivering IT projects locally is limited.

  18. I have just emailed you a note about how we can also has a party take a collectivist lead in tackling cyber-bullying. As a party with a higher number of women in leading roles we know our reps are facing misogyny and we can use our new enhanced digital engagement and social norms to tackle this if we want to. I look forward to this being coverd in the final report of the review

  19. Two things really

    Contact Creator on an App! Would make campaign sessions so much easier and would also help campaign Strategies!

    We also need to hugely increase our Social Media presence! During the General Election the Rapid React system was great in telling Members to get on to Facebook/ Twitter and share, like etc!

    1. Martyn is correct.

      We are utilising twentieth century Voter ID systems when we could be using smartphones and tablets to collect data from campaign sessions and have quicker and more defined access to this body of big data.

      We should develop a membersnet app to help our ground teams canvass. It could include upload tools, education videos on how new members canvass and policy sheets to download.

      By digitizing the campaign and canvass experience we streamline the back office and training responsibilities of senior CLPs. This allows senior CLPs to focus on strategy and team building.

  20. There’s an Amicus app where you have the Amicus logo in the corner of a poster/brochure/leaflet etc and, if you have the app, you point your phone at it and the poster becomes a video on your phone. Imagine if all our billboard posters had this on it – it would magnify our message tenfold! Sorry if this is old hat to more IT savvy members!

  21. I am the IT Officer for Shrewsbury & Atcham CLP; I have been developing a new website, which should be online soon and be followed by a much larger presence on social media. I welcome this initiative, but I feel that it does not go far enough; it is catching up with where we should have been a decade ago rather than looking forward. I hope to be able to say a lot more but for a start I would like to make three points:
    1. It is not enough to cater for those being left behind by modern technology. There is a growing technology gap which is potentially more important than the wealth gap. The Universal Basic Income may solve one problem but would still leave many “poor” in terms of their access to new technologies such as those that prolong life.
    2. The very nature of democracy is changing. We have relied on representative democracy because implementation of direct democracy, the direct involvement of the entire population in policy making and decision making, has been too difficult. That may no longer be the case so even if some form of representation may remain necessary, its nature will change.
    3. Change is being driven by technology, science and engineering, yet if we look at parliament and the top echelons and policy making bodies in all the parties we see a lamentable lack of scientists, technologists and engineers; if they get involved it is as experts, often ignored if their advice conflicts with political desires. This is completely the wrong way round; it is these and other “ordinary” people who should be at the centre and the career politicians should be the experts called in for advice in formulating and implementing policy.

    One final point, the exponential nature of change is poorly understood. It is all going to happen much more quickly than we imagine. Even the world of 2020 will be amazingly different to today!

    1. Mike – all great points. The issue is that we are deeply into an era of disruptions – on all fronts. Agility and intelligence is critical. We all have a role to play in this.

  22. Can I suggest allowing our branches to elect a Digital Officer? In Walthamstow we’ve already set up a CLP Digital group; however, there’s a need for the appointment of responsibility. The elected officers from each branch can then set the agenda with regards to digital within the CLP and be a point of contact with the wider party.

    1. I agree – good points.

      In this task we need to balance local initiative and innovation with light touch coordination from the Digital Team.

    2. Hi Ollie
      Barnet CLP have acted on your suggestion and voted to elect a Digital Officer, I’ve been asked to draft a role description. It has been proposed that we look at setting up a Slack channel to see if that helps with co-ordination.

  23. I believe that it is vital for us to adopt new technologies in communications, particularly to address the needs of the vast movement of young people who recently join the party and also to make the whole process more democratic. Podemos in Spain (and less so the M5S in Italy), have shown that an “integrated” version of direct democracy is possible using indeed the same media successfully adopted by Occupy. We must not be afraid of any mean to increase inclusion and communication.

  24. The comments are generally misleading, I have been involved in what is often refered to as IT for 35-40 years, dependant upon how you choose to define it. Sure the use of technology will help in communicating with members, electorate etc;. However it also interferes with communications, much that is not true face to face is superficial and often misleads and the absence of true “body language” can cause total misunderstandings to arise.

    Another factor is that generally computer/it solutions lead to lower productivity in many areas for example everyone wastes time emailing/messaging people sitting close to them, when a conversation is much quicker and more accurate method of communicating or we eliminate Secretaries/touch typists replacing them with extremely expensive very very slow and inaccurate people typing for themselves (how many people do you know these days who can type between 64 and 100 words a minute?) So as alaways, we must choose “horses for courses” a thorough bred cannot pull a cart!

    1. In my working life by far the two biggest wastes of time have been:
      1. Context switching, having to stop what I am doing to respond to someone who interrupts in person or by phone, instead of sending an email which I could have dealt with at a more appropriate time.
      2. Travelling to face to face meetings which could have been, and would have been far better, done over Skype or Google hangout!

  25. A question don’t think asked or answered above: Why (oh why!) is this not being done for Momentum, or the wider group of stakeholders that thing could involve? For me, unlikely to get involved via LP but might via something wider such as Momentum. For me most important positive for Momentum could be its participatoryness. Disappointing that so far no signs of any real (ie at least open) involvement online. If you choose to leave out people like me, its your loss rather than, or at least as well as, mine.

  26. I’m sure you are aware of Madrid’s Open Government Portal

    Pablo Soto, a Madrid councillor said that Decide Madrid “is being studied by other cities such as Barcelona, Zaragoza, La Coruña and Santiago de Compostela”. (

    Madrid Decide uses open-source software which extends and strengthens exchanges by sharing its application and supports a community that can participate in its growth

  27. NS describes how the ingenious Ben Soffa developed the app that transformed the effectiveness of phone banks during the Corbyn campaign.

    It created a centralised record of each voter and when they are contacted, thus reducing time spent on duplicate calls. It also gives the volunteer a brief script and a way to record responses.

    I’m wondering if there is a way to adapt this for use by the London CLPs in the Mayoral campaign?

  28. Like many other CLPs we use Mailchimp for emailing members. Gets a bit tricky when you reach the free limit though. We have a website using Nationbuilder and would much prefer to send emails out via that (so we can better log our communications with members), but the templates are uninspiring and don’t have the flexibility and easy usability of Mailchimp. I did raise with the support team who acknowledged the issue, but said we would have to get a NB architect to design us new templates – not something we can prioritise spending money on at the moment.

  29. It cannot happen quickly enough, but please please have input from members like myself who are IT literate but not software bods on ease of use for members.

    Also please look at the current Labour website and simplify it.

  30. By far the most important requirement is the implementation of bottom-up democracy. We need the plan:-

    – How will members, supporters and members of the public submit and discuss policy ideas?
    – How will policies be selected for discussion and voting?
    – What will be the mechanism for voting?
    – Who will be allowed to vote?
    – Will it be one member, one vote?
    – Will any sections of the Party- Conference, the NEC, the PLP, the cabinet or the leadership have the right to veto?

    Get this right, communicate it well and roll it out professionally and Labour will win in 2020. Put another way- the Tories will remain in power until we get this right.

  31. Just reposting here a few ideas I sent over to Tom Watson earlier for discussion.

    The Labour Party currently makes use of the Contact Creator web portal to manage its canvassing campaigns. This tool holds a useful store of information and is not lacking in functionality per se, but from what I can gather its accessibility may be limited while out on the street (no mobile app, heavily prefers the Internet Explorer browser etc). I suggest that the Party moves over to a more mobile-friendly tool (to the tune of e.g., or perhaps creates its own mobile apps to interface with Contact Creator. This would enable the use of tablets and other mobile devices while actively campaigning to e.g. share updates and co-ordinate streets covered in real-time.

    Engagement portal
    MembersNet provides access to useful resources, but it is not yet a true Web 2.0 platform. Many schools – such as the one I work at – are making use of VLEs (Virtual Learning Environments) to provide a single online platform for lesson content, resource delivery, social features such as messaging, commentary, e-portfolios and blogs, data analysis, knowledge repositories and reporting functionality. A Party platform of a similar nature could provide members with a bird’s-eye view of opinions and resources in their local area, social contact and co-ordination between members (if they opt-in), Party-commissioned hashtag tracking, analysis of local versus national political trends, local campaign news, upcoming events, commentary on the Labour position during live Commons/Lords debates with the ability to contribute for/against so the views of ordinary Party members – instrumental to Mr Corbyn’s leadership victory – could be accessible in real-time in the House etc. This might have been handy during the recent debate on Syria, for example. Also useful would be the ability to update e.g. membership rates (as they are partially voluntary) online through the member portal – there may be savings in support line costs to be had here too.

  32. I’m a full member with Salford and Eccles. Until I developed cancer, I was a Datawarehousing/Business Intelligence consultant for some 20 years in various international companies within Europe. As such I can see great benefits in the party adopting a digital platform for not only presenting information but also, collating views on policy (maybe from member based opinion polls).

    As a result of my cancer, I am housebound so I am unable to attend any meetings (and my concentration span isn’t brilliant any more!), but if I can give any suggestions or advice, I would be delighted to help.

    Please could you tell me what architecture (hardware and software) you are using.

  33. Sorely disappointed by what is on offer for Leeds Central CLP and for our Branch, Hyde Park and Woodhouse. Yes a “presence” on FB but not a lot else.
    No notices of any events and not even a calendar of meetings for either.

    At a basic level each branch and CLP should have a standard set of tools available for putting information out to members, Facebook being a possibility but a dedicated website built to a set standard that any branch or CLP can use that is the same for all of us may be a good way to go.

    Digital team build the basic site, each branch can download the site pages modify to suit each local area, calendar page, events page, upcoming campaigns etc and an interactive chat area/forum for discussions.
    Then it would require hosting somewhere, would the LP have its own servers?

    I seem to be also getting an awful lot of emails about issues and begging letters asking for donations, whilst I understand that we need to raise money it is not always that easy for people to give. I certainly have no disposable income as I exist on £103 pw ESA. So £5 is a lot of money for me, but a £1 maybe doable for me and a lot of others, could I suggest we use donate by SMS (text msg) from our phones.
    The reason I suggest this is that a lot of people use Pay and Go phones where they get a package of sms and call time, but often when top up time comes they have remaining credit on the phone (i do) so would be quite happy to donate that via sms to the Labour Party, because if I do not use it, it just builds up, last year I ended the year with £87 of unused credit and thus far I have £12 from last month.

  34. I have a suggestion for engaging with members and developing policy which I am also willing to help with.

    There is a problem with existing methods for feedback and consultation. This relates to the way in which submissions are handled. Effectively they disappear. If they are posted on line they can sometimes be searched for but otherwise they are lost behind more recent submissions in the usual way of blogs. They are then filtered by a small number of people and the results published as policy documents whose contents are decided by those same people.

    My suggestion is for a way of managing the information that can incorporate all the issues and points of view in a way that enables everyone, including policy makers, to have ready access to them.

    My suggestion is a sort of “policy wiki”. It is a bit like Wikipedia with the following differences:
    – Whereas Wikipedia aims for a neutral point of view a policy wiki aims to incorporate all points of view. Arguments can be presented for or against different policy directions.
    – The whole policy wiki section, not just individual pages, would have a clear hierarchical structure (topic, sub topics, sub sub topics and so on). There would be pages rather like contents pages that would give overviews of the structure.
    – As well as a good search facility it would have breadcrumb trails. There may be several conceptual hierarchies that can apply to the section, so there may be several trails that apply to one page, e.g.:
    Education > Primary Education > Subjects > Sport > Football
    Education > Subjects > Sport > Football > Primary Schools
    Education > Resources > Land > Sports pitches > Football > Primary schools
    – Another difference from Wikipedia is that policy wikis would be edited. A team of people would make all the entries on the site. It would not be open to anyone to delete or distort particular points of view. The intention would be that everyone’s point of view would be covered on the site, erring towards inclusion within reason if someone thinks their point of view is not adequately represented.

    It would be possible for Party members to “vote” on different proposals that would give an indication of the strength of opinions in the Party. These would be sorts of straw polls that can be taken into account by those who will be making decisions.

    The result would mean that members would feel “heard”. They could see that their ideas and opinions have been included. It would also encourage a more problem solving approach to policy rather than debate starting from competing solutions.

    1. John

      Good ideas – my one comment is that we need to beware policy editing too quickly.

      There are crowd sourced “ideas generation” platforms out there that encourage the full spectrum of ideas to find their home in a structured way that requires transparent references and substantiation. These platforms allow ideas to co-evolve through participation – being shaped in an inclusive way. One useful starting point is to explore the ideas and the activities developed by FuturICT and associated organisations such as, the latter being an example of how to collate, compare and compete concepts. I am not saying that these organisations or individuals have THE answer, but rather use these as examples of what is being developed. So let us not re-invent.

      1. Richard
        Thank you for pointing me in this direction. The Deliberatorium seems as if it may be a useful start.
        One point about my suggestion is that references and substantiation would not be required. If someone has an idea or opinion or there is a possible option then it would be included. Making a case for a particular option would be something else, although there would be links to such material.

  35. Hi,

    All I’d say is don’t try and re invent the wheel. If Lab members are comfortable with FB, Twitter, Google, Youtube ect then try and adapt these to your needs try and be pragmatic and agile, it don’t have to be perfect it just has to work.

  36. Please, please, please can we just have one attractive Labour Party website with a clear menu with sub headings that are easy to navigate. It can be linked to social media in the usual way. The main page should change often to reflect news and issues. It should that we are a working party. It could look like the Guardian web page or the Conservative Party page. They work! The Labour Party webpages look stagnant, bare and boring and there is no way to navigate from one to the other.

  37. I see the many comments about how to communicate electronically, with so many new members. We all had this problem and you can see that most have solved it by moving to Mailchimp. This is exactly what I did, having got some advice from a nearby CLP. Would have been nice if the party had recognised that we were all going to have this problem! Hope this project is able to solve the feeling of working in isolation which I am sure many in CLPs face – hope you get somewhere.
    Jill Gipps
    CLP Sec
    St Albans

  38. As a clp sec I don’t want anything new to try and do if you are not taking away something else I’m already doing. Keep it simple…Small is beautiful. Bear in mind we are trying to juggle contact creator, campaign creator, nationbuilder, all of which are individual struggles for some of us. Also bear in mind most of this is done on computers and phones owned by volunteers in the party. Some of our officers are still on dial up. And we still have 20% of our membership not on email…so include a strategy for fundraising for postage or we end up with two classes of members.

  39. If this is for forming policy how do we moderate it to ensure all views are voiced. We looked at the defence review the other night at my branch. Was mainly a turn out of older long serving males. In a meeting its possible to say…but so and so is not here they would say “xxx”, or for the chair to say “fred, everybody else has had their say, your turn”, or “well we haver 150 members in our branch, there are just 12 of us here tonight…do you think we are representative of the whole”. Must be a policy making system that ensures it has all our views and not just those who like the system of responding or are confident about expressing themselves online

  40. we have to be honest and realistic about what gets opened and read…yesterday I sent 233 members and supporters an email via Campaign Creator about a meeting about closure of an Urgent Care centre at our local hospital…so far 24 hours later 88 of those have been opened. That seems to be about average…so always 50 to 60 % not read. Its better than not communicating, but it is not a sharpe or reliable tool, and needs honing to be called democratic

  41. Hi,

    In response to your digital listening exercise, I would like to talk about an intuitive way of engendering support for digital debate and discussion within the Labour family.

    The Labour Party Forum on Facebook has 25,000 members. Every day thousands of people engage – most of the time it’s pro or anti-Corbyn posts. However, if we move past that we find some substance.

    Lots of people who are digitally aware are asking questions about local CLPs, asking about policy, offering think tank whitepapers and publications. Some are asking basing questions about etiquette and protocol.

    My idea is very simple. We move this unofficial Labour Party Forum onto the Labour Party MembersNet. We create a network of CLP forums and this creates a real-time link between members of the CLP and the wider region.

    This can revolutionize digital CLP engagement. It can allow new members to ask for support about good practice for canvassing, opportunities for those unable to attend evening events to keep abreast of these meetings via web streams and other forms of communication.

    In a big data context, you can cloud analyse your CLPs and monitor sentiment and discussion. Not in some vain big brother endeavour but on policy keywords. So the central party can understand what CLPs are thinking by utilising big data algorithms (think word clouds).

    Finally, this approach can help dust of any sense of digital complacency from within the CLPs. A network of local parties collaboration in unison through a web of diverse forums creating avenues of discussion, education and engagement that bring about a digital renaissance within the Labour movement.

    I thank you for taking the time to read my submission. I hope you found my concept and vision of interest and I hope parts can be utilised in your digital thinking.

    Many thanks


  42. I agree that many people find FaceBook and Twitter attractive – but very many do not. As someone who has worked with computers since 1968, I am one who has no interest at all in those.

    We should seriously consider having a forum of our own – open to members and interested non members with clear policies on acceptable posting.

    We should all ditch Mailchimp and any other, similar, commercial site and labour should host their own mailing lists using freely available open source software. In fact, labour should be encouraging people to move to open source software wherever possible.

    Alternatives such as Simple Mailing List or phpList (look at, not the commercial are lightweight and easily installable on servers under our control.

    There is a large swathe of people for whom computer use is out of reach. At the same time, a large number of old machines are dumped every year. These could be resurrected with secure open source software and the local parties could hold open evenings in which disadvantaged people of all ages could be shown how to use them and then take them away (or have them delivered by members).

    I have been using Linux since 1993 and in that time there has never been a case of a user’s Linux system being infected with a virus.

    Over the past couple of years I have found that people who do not have a lot of prior experience with home computers find linux easier to use than the alternative – and it comes with all of the software that people need.

    We also need a site that will simply put out truthful – checked and verifiable – facts for the public to counter the very effective smear campaigns from the Tories. The previous government did a great job of implementing Joseph Goebbells’ dictum that if you tell the same lie often enough people will believe you.

    I will happily host such a site at no charge

  43. Really interested in Digital, as I use this technology every day, but feel that at present we are still quite ‘staid’ as a party in how we use techniques like SurveyMonkey to poll for the hot issues. In particular, I don’t feel that the party at a local level is engaging with younger members using Digital at all, and there have to be things we do much better in that domain.

  44. From a UXD (User Experience Design) point of view the aims you have are interesting:

    – Building a deeper two-way relationship with members and supporters
    – Extending our reach into our communities
    – Increasing our membership base
    – Working more with our members to understand how they can help the party
    – We’ll also need to understand how we improve talking about what we do as a party and how people can get involved in what we do.
    – Communicating in a more human way
    – Being even more open and clear about opportunities for members to stand for election
    – Making the party easier for everyone to understand

    “Engaging” people would potentially be more effective if it was a 3 way relationship. That is using platforms to encourage members and supporters to talk to each other. That would only work if they had some reason to which would clearly need to be some power sharing (not consulting) throughout the labour movement. The aims would instead become:

    – Building a deeper three-way community with members and supporters
    – Allowing communities greater reach in to the labour party
    – Giving members money and resources to increase the membership base
    – Working more with our party to understand how they can help the members
    – We’ll also need to understand how we improve talking about what we do as a community and how we can get involved in what people do.
    – Communicating in a more human way
    – Making the party easier for everyone to understand

  45. I am free right now & would love to help.

    Summing up the comments above is a start :

    1)You need to interact with party members,staff & sympathisers
    2)You must be able to interact with the sites your members use
    3)Your MPs & candidates have already started using time saving tools
    4)You are aware of DPA pitfalls
    5)Your site needs revamping

    Very keen to help: synthesise existing findings, summarise other parties approach,architect,wireframe,code etc

  46. CONSENSUS is the key to making digital work. If we all have our say, that’s a lot of opinions to read, and potentially a lot of debate leading us to focus on areas of difference. I’m sure we’ve all been a part of online discussion forums where the most passionately held views drown out the most popular by sheer persistence rather than the merit of the idea being pushed. We need to somehow extract the very best ideas, refine them and agree upon a plan of action. We need an anonymous voting system to harness .

  47. Voting apps are a great way of engaging both the membership and British voters. Apps which enable the public and the membership to have their opinions acknowledged.

    As a pie in the sky best case scenario we could have constituents voting on bills to help their MP best represent them.

    As a more realistic membership scenario we can have members directly voting on policy, commenting and polling on recent debates and keeping our party aligned with it’s members.

  48. It’s very encouraging to see people excited about using technology to improve the Party’s reach. Might I suggest, as someone with almost 50 years working in information technology, that it’s important at this stage to focus on high-level goals rather than solutions to individual problems (though those have to come later, of course).

    How can the party get best value from the efforts it expends in this area? Should it be offering systems for use by individual local branches to save them effort and make sure information can be shared easily? Does it need to offer a way for geographically distributed members with common interests to collaborate and communicate? How important is it to have a channel that consistently rebuts the misinformation in the standard media channels? In short, what does the party want to get out of its uses of technology.

    Once these decisions have been made (they can always be revisited just like other party policies) they can inform our use of technology, and any new or proposed applications can be assessed in terms of the goals they meet and the members they serve.

    So I very much see the discovery project as the start of a long-term campaign to help the party meet its goals.

    Many of the solutions adopted by individual branches could be adapted by others, but it’s important to try and ensure that the “information base” isn’t fragmented, living in many places where it can’t easily be coordinated when necessary.

  49. I think it’s a good idea. You could maybe encourage people to campaign against Tory policies online and be seen and heard physically.

  50. Digital is fine and no worse for coming to the LP so late in the day. But the party needs policies, based on analysis and forward thinking. The recent change of leadership, though generating gushes of enthusiasm and support in the country has yielded not a single innovation in policy and strategic thinking. The only way many can know that the LP will support staying in the EU (will it so?) is that so many vocal Tories are screeching so loudly and unacceptably to come out.

    The people must be able to build on the country’s democratic tradition, values and institutions. Debate is fine, but we need also to work out a way forward for policy.

  51. We need to find ways of restoring greater policy making influence and power to the CLPs by using technology to promote political debate (possibly around resolutions) on line. Party members who are able to engage in political discussion (either on line, or at meetings) become familiar with the issues around particular areas of debate, and then feel more confident to voice Labour’s point of view in social conversations at work, in the home, or in social gatherings. It also helps to keep the Party “honest” if policy is made from the bottom up, rather than passed down from the top by an elite who may have been seduced by corporate and financial interests.

  52. Its great to see the Labour party embracing digital to communicate with its membership and the wider community. However there are some pitfalls. The most obvious is security and strong guidance is needed from the centre to avoid local parties using inappropriate or insecure systems. IT would be very bad press were for instance Labour Membership records be posted on line. I would also like to see Labour politicians really understanding internet technology and using that knowledge to expose the flaws in the Investigatory powers bill. Hacking a home router and using it to provide a terrorist or criminal is a trivially simple exploit. So when an innocent home-owners router is used undetectably to download terrorist materials the bill-payer is going to be left in a hopeless position trying to prove it wasn’t them with no evidence to the contrary. If MP’s really understood how the internet adapts to laws they would realise that collecting everyones data is a gift to terrorists and simply provides them with a giant haystack within which to bury false leads. Another Bill which is insane and extremely damaging for small UK businesses is DigitalVAT 2015. This law is shutting down small companies and preventing others from starting. IT should never have got onto the statute books and is only there because of the almost total ignorance by MP’s of of all parties of how eCommerce and the internet works.

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