Activism advice to Liberal Democrat members and supporters
This page contains the most up to date advice for Liberal Democrat members and supporters about party activity.
This page will be regularly updated in line with Government and professional guidance. Please share this link with other party members and supporters and check it regularly to make sure you are basing your advice on the most up to date version.
This page was last updated: 1000, 28 May 2020
What are we asking members and supporters to do at this time?
ALWAYS FOLLOW OFFICIAL MEDICAL ADVICE
Above all, we are asking members and supporters to follow official NHS and Government advice at all times in relation to any activity they may consider undertaking.
The latest medical advice is available at nhs.uk/coronavirus
PLAY AN ACTIVE ROLE IN SUPPORTING COMMUNITIES
Our priority as a party is supporting communities through this crisis. We are asking members and supporters to focus their efforts on helping communities deal with the impact of COVID19.
Further down this page is more detail on the ways in which this could be possible. Please always have regard to the latest medical advice and your local circumstances when deciding what action may be applicable.
We ask all members and supporters to promote safe volunteering and adequate safeguarding whilst active in the community. We do not want to see vulnerable people taken advantage of by an unscrupulous minority at a time of national crisis. We have a role in signposting to official sources of advice and help, and promoting strong safeguards within community organisations. You can read the latest safeguarding advice from NCVO here.
The web page you are reading now is designed to give advice to Lib Dem members and supporters. We have designed a separate online resource (libdems.org.uk/coronavirus) that is designed to be shared with the general public as a resource bank for safe community organising.
VOLUNTEER WITH DATABASE & REMOTE ADMIN WORK
Our priority is supporting communities through this crisis, which is why we are promoting safe community activism.
Not everyone will be able do this, especially when self-isolating. Some members and supporters will want to focus on looking after themselves and their family. For others, including many for whom campaigning with us is one of their primary opportunities for social contact in ordinary times, it could be a lonely experience.
That is why we are making sure there is a range of “behind the scenes” administrative work for the party available, for example helping enter data and database maintenance etc. LDHQ and ALDC will be providing a programme of live and recorded online training over the coming months for anyone who wants to participate.
If you would like to join our team of national data entry volunteer, focusing on entering marked registers, please email email@example.com
This page will be updated with details on how to participate in any of these activities in due course. In the meantime, please contact your Local Party who may need assistance immediately.
DELIVERY OF CONTEXT APPROPRIATE PRINT MATERIAL
From the introduction of lockdown until the end of May 2020, our advice has been that local parties should NOT ask members and volunteers to deliver party print materials.
We understand that many Lib Dem campaigners and in particular elected representatives will want to engage with the public to identify areas of concern, and report back to their constituents about actions taken on their behalf.
We have reviewed this advice in line with changes in Government advice, which is currently different in England to the advice in Scotland & Wales.
In England, the Government has changed their advice from “Stay at Home” to “Stay Alert”. They have signposted that further restrictions will be lifted from the 1st June.
We are therefore amending our advice in England with effect from 1st June and it will be acceptable for local parties to deliver print materials from 1st June onwards, where local teams feel this is appropriate in their area.
Please follow the guidance below on what is suitable content for literature in the current context and always follow social distancing and public health guidelines. Relevant medical advice which can be found here.
Scotland and Wales
Distribution of print material is not currently advised in Scotland or Wales as their devolved Governments are still advising people to Stay at Home.
Local teams in Scotland and Wales should feel free to use Royal Mail (posted mail and Door to Door) and may want to consider preparing content that can be sent to print at the point the Scottish and Welsh Governments reduce restrictions.
SUSPEND OTHER PARTY ACTIVITY
Because our priority is supporting communities through this crisis, we are specifically suspending the following party activity:-
Conventional door-to-door canvassing, voter ID etc;
In-person party meetings – in line with social distancing requirements these should be moved to online meetings with measures in place to enable those self-isolating to participate. An online video conferencing tool like Zoom is free for small-scale use. For advice on moving party activities to online channels, and the opportunity to share best practice, please go to the Lib Dem Digital Campaigning Forum on Facebook.
Community Activism: what this means in practice
The objectives of our community activism programme are to:-
Ensure residents know where to find the latest official sources of advice and support;
Identify potentially hard-to-reach vulnerable people and signpost them to the relevant advice and support;
Promote a bank of online resources that can be of use to non-partisan individuals and community groups looking to provide help and support;
Ensure that safe volunteering and safeguarding is built into community organising at ground level.
What does this mean in practice?
Access to the latest advice and support
We can facilitate access to the latest advice and support through three primary channels: online, telephone and in print.
Guidance for ONLINE activity
The page libdems.org.uk/coronavirus has been designed as a resource to be shared with individuals and community groups who are looking to organise a community response to COVID19. It is not exhaustive and will be augmented as and when suitable additional information is available. If you have any suggestions for resources that could be available on this site, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In many localities we have substantial email lists and social media audiences. We should use these regularly to circulate updates to official advice, signposting people to trusted and reliable official sources of and information and support, as well as safe volunteering opportunities.
There is – as always – a lot of misinformation as well as useful advice circulating on the internet. We need to be scrupulously careful to only circulate official advice and links to safe community action. Please bear in mind the earlier comments about safeguarding in this regard.
Guidance for PHONE activity
We are asking all Local Parties to use the template script and Target Pools available in Connect to make contact with potentially vulnerable people in their local area.
The purpose of these calls is to check on the individual’s wellbeing, ensure that they have access to appropriate reliable sources of information, and to signpost them to official sources of help locally.
This needs to be coordinated at Local Party level in order to provide callers with a guide on how residents can receive support locally. Each local party needs to collate this information and circulate it to callers before calls begin.
Please respect TPS and GDPR requirements, and again have due regard to safeguarding, referring people to trusted official sources of help.
Guidance for PRINT activity
Local parties should make their own assessment of whether or not distribution of print materials is appropriate in their own area using members and volunteers.
There is no barrier to local parties distributing print materials via the Royal Mail (e.g. addressed mail and via the Royal Mail Door-to-Door service).
Any print materials must be sensitive to the current context e.g. recognise that the public mood will not favour aggressive party political attacks on other parties.
All print materials need to be considered in tone, and wherever possible signpost people to appropriate COVID related advice and support. Our role is to support and enable at this stage.
If you have any queries on what makes acceptable content in the current environment please check with LDHQ at email@example.com and/or with ALDC.
Guidance for DOORSTEP activity
All party doorstep activity has been suspended and all members and supporters are requested to adhere to social distancing requirements, in line with the Government announcement on 23.03.20.
We will review this position regularly based on any changes in Government guidance.
Caring for our members and supporters
Given the scale of the current crisis, it is understandable that many members and supporters will be concerned about their own welfare and that of their friends and family. Communicating regularly with them is an important way to offer missing social interaction.
Local Party officers may want to organise a systematic ring-round of members, supporters and deliverers to check on their welfare, and offer appropriate help and support where needed.
There will also be understandable questions about what party activity may be appropriate, and in what forms. Please share the advice on this page widely within the party. Please do this electronically using a link to this page, rather than cutting and pasting it or printing it out, as this advice will be changing regularly. By accessing the advice live on this site they will always have the most up to date version, so we encourage members and supporters to check this page regularly.
Please do reassure members and supporters that we are monitoring the situation, and are reviewing and updating this guidance on a regular basis.
Members and supporters should, at all times, respect the medical advice given by the NHS (see nhs.uk/coronavirus). They should feel under no obligation to participate in any party activity, especially where they are concerned it may pose a risk to themselves or others.