Digital technology will have a major part to play to help us get over the 50% turnout threshold in the pay campaign over the next couple of months.
This ballot will be the first where we can start using some of the functionality of our new database, and demonstrate in a real way the investment that PCS has been making in digital technology over the past 18 months.
Getting 50% turnout of 120,000 members in hundreds of branches and thousands of workplaces is a major logistical challenge. If branches and staff knew who has been spoken to by phone, or in person in the workplace then, and who has already told us they have voted, it would help us all focus our valuable time and energy.
To do that, all conversations on the phone and in person need to be recorded and added to the information that members give us online, responding to emails to tell us they have voted.
Our new database will enable us to capture all this data and share it with branches. It will integrate with digital campaign phone bank software, which will enable staff, reps and volunteers to call members from anywhere they can access a browser and a phone. On 28 February we give branches access to data through an app, which can be used on a computer, tablet or smartphone.
Before the ballot starts, this app will enable branch reps to quickly and easily record contact with members and collect volunteers. This will help branch committees keep track of progress and ensure everyone who want to get involved can be followed up. Anyone who volunteers for phone banking will be contacted centrally with a login and a user guide.
Once we have voting data, from around 1 April, the app will display all members who have told us they have voted, and enable reps to log members who tell them they have voted. This data will be collected through phone banking, where members have clicked a link in an email confirming they have voted and through face-to-face contact in workplaces. Data won’t quite be real time, but will be refreshed twice a day.
Reports will also be available during the ballot on progress towards 50% turnout.
The app is previewing the new PCS reps portal, which will replace iMembership and the document library and include additional branch administration and communication tools, which will be launched after the ballot closes.
The vast majority of the work on this has been developed by the in-house digital projects team, which was set up in January 2018.