In the UK, county councillors are democratically-elected local government representatives.
Councillors need clear strategies and policies to achieve their vision for the people they represent and the services that are delivered to meet local community needs.
Norfolk, Liberal Democrats are coordinated by the Norfolk County Coordination Committee (NC3), led by chair Steffan Aquarone.
A politician and a digital strategist, Steffan identified a need for a digital tool that could help teams of Liberal Democrat councillors and volunteers communicate, collaborate and co-ordinate effectively.
After considering workflow collaboration tools such as Slack and Microsoft Teams, they chose Guild as their primary communication platform because of its simplicity, ease of set-up and usability.
Guild helps the Norfolk Liberal Democrats privately coordinate policy development, special projects, volunteering and election campaigns.
"We're discussing political matters and election strategy details. We needed a secure platform that was as easy to use as WhatsApp, but also a communications tool designed to be private and GDPR compliant."
Norfolk is a large rural county in England. Its top tier local government authority is the Norfolk County Council, based in the fine city of Norwich.
Councillors are elected local government representatives, but they also work with many volunteers.
The Liberal Democrat Party in Norfolk has a group of volunteers and elected local councillors dispersed across the county.
Co-ordinating and communicating in real time with a highly mobile and dispersed group around the county was proving challenging.
But any collaborative communications platform needed to be simple to use and as private as email so that teams could privately develop policy and discuss sensitive electorate strategies .
How has Guild helped you and others at the Liberal Democrats?
Steffan Aquarone, Chair of Liberal Democrat Norfolk County Coordination Committee, explains why they chose Guild:
"Sat in a room full of people shortly before the wind sadly blew the roof off (not kidding!), we identified a need for a digital tool that would help us communicate and collaborate.
We're made up of a group of volunteers and local councillors, and we come together to coordinate election campaigns across Norfolk."
They considered workflow collaboration platforms such as Slack and Microsoft Teams.
"Workflow collaboration platforms like Slack were 'overkill' for our needs. We really wanted a simple messaging tool, more like WhatsApp."
Steffan explains why they didn't choose to use WhatsApp, Signal or Telegram:
"Well, it's simple. These are messaging apps built for consumers and not businesses, organisations and certainly not politicians and their teams!
We're discussing political matters and election strategy details. We needed a secure platform that was as easy to use as WhatsApp, but also a communications tool designed to be private and GDPR compliant."
Steffan was able to set up a Business Guild account within minutes:
"The set up and invitations were really straightforward.
We have a group in Guild for each campaign (County Council elections, Police and Crime Commissioner, etc.) as well as smaller groups for people who are working on specific projects, such as our County Conference and overall policy development.
Although it's early days, so far we've used it to share planning documents, coordinate our response to the boundary commission review of Norfolk electoral boundaries, share and develop our long-term vision and strategy, and disseminate information to candidates.
So the fact that Guild offers that extra level of security and management of who has access is perfect - we don't want opposition political parties seeing our messages!"
What do you/they like most about Guild?
Steffan continues, "Its usability! We've got young and old, experienced and technophobic amongst us and almost all are using it.
People like the fact that you can use it on a browser if you wish and it doesn't need you to have a smartphone."
We're delighted that Guild has got the 'vote' from these local politicians!
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