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The UK Liberal Democrats enter a new era for government and embrace Web 2.0

July 20, 2010

The Liberal Democrats are taking advantage of Web 2.0 technology to help run their headquarters, improve communication within the party and share materials with campaigners across the UK. Using Huddle, the Liberal Democrats are connecting more than 1,500 party campaigners and volunteers at a local level to share central campaign materials. In the run up to the general election, there were more than 46,500 document viewings in the party’s online workspaces.

To help local candidates get elected and spread the party’s messages, volunteers can now work securely with other people online and access training documents and artwork. During the general election campaign, the Liberal Democrats’ Media Intelligence Unit, set up by the party’s press office, also established a 24 hour media monitoring rota so that press coverage could be analysed and media feedback recorded. All press articles were stored in Huddle to ensure that everyone could view the media’s response to the party’s campaign efforts.

Prior to deploying Huddle, the Liberal Democrats were relying on email and an extranet to communicate across teams. Recognising that the internal IT system was struggling to cope with the volume of emails and it was difficult to share files with people outside of the party, the Liberal Democrats chose Huddle to improve collaboration and connect with party colleagues, volunteers and conference organisers.

“It was becoming increasingly apparent that the party needed to replace its ailing extranet with technology that could be tailored for different teams,” said Sam Lockwood, Web & E-Communications Technology Manager, Liberal Democrats. “While Huddle was initially deployed for file sharing, we quickly realised that it has multiple other functions and groups across the party are now using it to manage projects, organise conferences and have discussions. Our Federal Conference Committee, which is responsible for running our two annual conferences, uses Huddle to manage and organise these events with external support staff. Huddle’s flexibility has enabled the party to realise the benefits of cloud computing and increase efficiencies. “

The Liberal Democrats’ Policy Response Unit has set up an online workspace from which parliamentary candidates can access and search for required policy information. A workspace has also been established to meet the specific needs of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, so that members have access to Scottish policy briefings and responses.

“Recognising the value of using social media in politics following Barack Obama’s successful election campaign in 2008, the 2010 British general election saw all three mainstream parties use tools such as Twitter and Facebook to reach and engage voters,” said Alastair Mitchell, Co-founder and CEO, Huddle. “This year, we’ve already seen a big increase in government departments and organisations deploying Web 2.0 internally to boost communication and increase efficiency. The Liberal Democrats have placed Web 2.0 at the heart of party communications and we expect more organisations to follow suit and deploy tools that help them to work better together and save money.”

Huddle currently has 60 per cent government penetration, including customers such as the Home Office, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.