Currently, local parties are either invoiced or debited for Connect and Salesforce. Processing all this and then chasing it up involves significant staff time and pointless bureaucracy.
Worse still, there are grotesque and unjustifiable anomalies in the sums that local parties, both large and small, are paying for these digital tools. Some are even getting them free.
It is also unfair for smaller local parties with lower incomes to be paying the same (more in some cases!) as larger local parties with much larger incomes. If we are going to develop winnable seats for the next 10-20 years, we must help smaller parties to grow.
This is why we are removing the need to invoice or set up Direct Debits for Connect and Salesforce for members in England & Wales.
From the first quarter of this year, local parties will pay for Connect and Salesforce through their membership service fees. The current basic service fee rate of 3% of membership income for local parties will increase to 5%, with 4% being deducted for Connect and Salesforce.
Each local party will be notified in their quarterly e-mail from the Membership Team how much money they have paid for digital tools.
We are still in discussions with the Scottish party about how this change will work for them and hope to have these discussions concluded soon.
Under this system, local parties will pay for these tools (at a hugely subsidised rate) irrespective of whether they currently use them. To comply with tough new data standards (‘GDPR’) coming into force in May, and to maximise our campaigning cohesion, we really need local parties using the same systems.
Looking forward, we also aim to include a website platform in this scheme. We constantly try to improve our digital tools in the light of feedback from local parties, and to this end we aim to bring forward a new website option later this year or early next.
On a personal note, my first few months as Chief Executive have brought many challenges, but I have been heartened by the passion of so many members who battle on fighting for their communities. I see my role as Chief Executive to make your life easier, and LDHQ’s purpose as being to support you in any way we can. Please get in touch if you have ideas of how we can do this more effectively.