Digital Report from #Lab17

Digital Report: Labour Conference 2017

Chris WebbConference 2017 was intended to be the start of a new direction for the Labour Party with regards to digital technology and campaigning. No fewer than seven new systems were intended for release or their preliminary showcase. However, the general election threw a spanner into this plan with some systems being released early while others took a backseat until the election was over.

Of the seven which are relevant to this report, five, are currently active or have been active at some point and are ready for deployment.

Targeting Portal: a canvass organiser App.  This has been online since the election and was used extensively in the General Election locally.

Turnout: An app for the organisation of polling day, committee rooms, etc. This was not used due to strategic concerns making it unsuitable for local deployment.

Dialogue: a decentralised phone banking app, this went live during the election.  Some members may have already used it during the election but it’s decentralised nature makes monitoring difficult.

Doorstep: A voter ID and canvassing app. This was online during the election but it was not used due to difficulties in use and deployment.

Promote: A social media advertising app. This was not used locally in the election. These five were active during the election the next two have yet to become available. Reporting Portal: an app allowing statistical analysis of canvassing data.

Organise: A nation builder replacement and volunteer management.

Due to lessons from the general election, some of these platforms have been delayed or taken offline in order to incorporate improvements.

In the immediate future I have attempted to enter the Organise Beta so we can have an active role in the development of the app and deployment can happen as soon as it is released. I also recommend that steps are made to roll out promote.

This conference marked a watershed wherein the Labour Party moved away from off the shelf products to bespoke products. All of these are intended to be free of charge meaning there is no risk in the in initial deployment and having participated in training sessions for these programs I will be available to teach people who feel they need it ensuring a cost-less and hopefully smooth deployment.

In addition, I was briefed on the changes to the DPA (Data Protection Act) which will be replaced by the European directive GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations). The Party is awaiting official guidance from the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) on how to proceed and will pass this along to constituencies when it knows how this will affect Labour Party systems.

In the interim we have been advised to carry out an audit of our digital systems usage and social media to ensure compliance to the legislation.

Christopher Webb – Regency Branch & Pavilion IT Manager