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Evolving Processes to Manage Complex Communications

FDM Document Solutions was initially appointed by Wiltshire Council in 2009. The following year, we provided document management services for the 2010 Parliamentary elections, before supporting with the Alternative Vote Referendum in 2011.

Building on the partnership that we had developed during that time, in 2012 FDM implemented and ran the elections for the newly created role of Police and Crime Commissioner. Working with Wiltshire Council, we ensured the new legislation was interpreted correctly and the necessary processes were followed.

Becoming one Unitary Authority

In 2013, we supported the Wiltshire team running their second elections as a new Unitary Authority. With 98 council members standing, this would be a complicated process. In addition to the Unitary Elections, the Town and Parish Council Elections were also taking place on the same day.

Adding further pressure, it would only be confirmed 19 days before polling day which contests would be going ahead. This meant there were 405 elections potentially happening on the same day.

Working together to deliver results

Thanks to the ongoing relationship with Wiltshire Council, we worked together to develop a solution and set about managing the poll cards, postal packs and ballot papers.

Making a great team, the process worked well in practice.

This then led to FDM being appointed to manage multiple by-elections, Parish polls, implementing new Neighbourhood Planning Referendums, Parliamentary Elections, the European Referendum, Police and Crime Commissioner Elections, Individual Electoral Registration and Local Elections.

Adapting to change

During 2017, FDM was already coordinating the complex Unitary Council Elections and Town and Parish Council Elections, when partway through the process, a snap General Election was called. Once again, working closely with Wiltshire Council, we had to continue to ensure the smooth running of the May poll, whilst simultaneously producing everything for the snap General Election to be held just weeks into June.

Fast-forward to 2019, and once again, when the European Elections were held with little lead time and then another snap General Election in 2019, we were all prepared to implement the necessary processes to manage the effective delivery of all critical communications.

Expertise in practice

Having been prepared for the 2020 Police and Crime Commissioner Elections in May 2020, as a result of the pandemic, the unprecedented decision was made to postpone them to 2021, which was also when the Unitary Council Elections and Town and Parish Council Elections were scheduled to take place.

As a result, this meant there would be three elections taking place at the same time. It was another huge and significant project.

Thanks to the relationship between FDM and Wiltshire Council, we set to work, developing a bespoke solution that would fulfil all requirements.

Once again, all documentation was printed, managed and distributed to plan.

Partnership Working

Working together with Wiltshire Council, the results that have been achieved since we were first appointed in 2009 are testament to the approach that we take and the trust that has been built over time.

Caroline Rudland AEA (Cert), Electoral Services Specialist Manager, comments: “We’ve relied on FDM for a long time and have built a real bond with them. We trust them to do so much more than just our elections and by-elections.

“Working so closely together has made all the difference. We have the chance to test and measure new ways of working and find out what solutions deliver the best outcomes for us. We really value the benefit of this partnership working.”