I thought a round-up of some of my posts and other background about the party’s new electoral database software, CONNECT, would be useful as they’ve been spread out over several months.
First, the origins: following the party’s 2010 general election review, it was decided to get a new electoral database with three companies tendering for the work (including EARS). The winning company, announced in March 2011, was VAN (Voter Activation Network, now merged with NGP to form NGP VAN). The VAN package is being adapted for UK use and is being given the name CONNECT.
That 2010 review was in fact only echoing the previous recommendations of the Bones Report, strengthened though by the post-Bones failure of EARS to deliver all the improvements the party centrally was willing to fund.
If you want a good example of what similar packages have helped other parties do, take a look at Lord Michael Ashcroft’s account of the 2010 Conservative Party campaign. Or for the view of a long-time Liberal Democrat user of EARS, see Iain Roberts’s post: Thank you EARS, but the VAN is coming. For the party’s take on CONNECT see The countdown to Connect has begun.
One of the reasons VAN won out in the procurement process was its record of providing reliable and secure services, something I talked to its founder Mark Sullivan about when I interviewed him during Liberal Democrat party conference (features cats). He also gave a lengthy TV interview in the US following Barack Obama’s election victory, talking about the role of his firm in helping to secure that.
CONNECT includes a casework module, which will be available at no extra cost to all ALDC members.