Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Case Study

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (the Trust) wanted to provide its members with the option to vote online in their Council of Governor elections.

To allow this, and to enable the first online election for a Council of Governors, the Trust’s election rules needed to be amended and an online voting site built.

What we did

In 2006 Electoral Reform Services (ERS) was integral to the development of the Foundation Trust model election rules. With this in depth knowledge of the model rules and with over 14 years’ experience of online voting, ERS was best placed to assist the Trust with the amendments required to their rules. ERS provided advice and suggested wording for the online election rules.

ERS built a secure online voting site using its market leading VotebyInternet platform. Members were able to vote online in the election by visiting the site and accessing it using their individual security codes. The security codes were printed on the ballot paper sent to members by post or e-mailed to them if they had chosen not to receive a postal ballot pack.

ERS and the Trust further enhanced the online election process by providing an election website. The ERS created website provided all of the election information online in one place.

To encourage other members to participate in the election an additional feature of the online voting site enabled members who had voted to share their participation using social media.

What were the results?

The election project was completed successfully. 20% of the members who voted chose to vote online. Of the members who had chosen not to receive a postal ballot pack 43% voted – a figure markedly higher than participation rates in similar projects.

Significantly, when compared to the members voting by post, the majority of the online votes were cast by members who are under 40 years of age.

What we think

Moving in line with the governments cost saving initiatives and their digital by default policy, this ground breaking project has facilitated the use of online voting in the NHS Foundation Trust sector. Combined with the potential for richer voter engagement through additional communication channels we see this as an important milestone for public accountability and governance within NHS Foundation Trusts.

Ciara Norris, Head of Foundation Trust Elections

What our client thinks

It was a pleasure to work with ERS and their experience of using electronic voting in other sectors was extremely beneficial to us. As part of our preparations for introducing online voting we undertook a site visit and were impressed with ERS’ systems and processes. We were really pleased with the way the elections were delivered and with the results as described above. We hope that by continuing to use online and text message voting in our elections, our members will become more familiar with it and our turnout will further increase.

Paul Howard, Company Secretary