My first year as Director for People

It’s been just over one year since the Snap General Election was called on my first day e as Director for People. It was one heck of a start and it’s been a heck of a year. Out of the window immediately went my careful plan for membership development, training for volunteers, online fundraising and candidates. The roadmap to 2020 was suddenly obsolete. It was terrifying, but fast paced and fun.

This job is not dull. Working for the party is challenging and can be frustrating but ultimately rewarding.

One year in and no one’s ‘To Do List’ is getting any shorter. We are doing more with less. My teams have been minus key staff for the last six months. It’s a credit to them that we have still achieved so much: Record breaking General Election fundraising; membership retention at over 90%; a record breaking first quarter in a non GE year; launched the first of our bi-monthly micro surveys with 13,000 responses – the most successful survey ever; piloted a chatbot to test the party’s message with members; developed a training plan for the party for newer and veteran members alike; relaunched the members portal on the website; redesigned the online training provision now called Lib Dem Learning, worked across teams to deliver lobbying in the Lords and the Brexit campaign; built a digital dashboard for diversity to drive a data driven approach to improving diversity and worked with the Campaign for Gender Balance on the first of this year’s Future Female MPs weekends. The second instalment is in May and you should apply here now: for one of the best training courses the party runs.

Phew! Not much then. But, we do need to be SMARTER, using our resources, our staff and enabling our members to better effect. The 13,000 responses to the first mini survey shows that members are chomping at the bit to get involved and do more. And we must react to that urgently. Personally, my favourite thing to do in the Liberal Democrats is run by-elections – town, district, county, parliamentary, whichever. Those moments like Brent East 2003, Eastleigh 2013 & Richmond Park 2016 have given me adrenalin rushes better than sky diving. But it’s not just the thrill of winning that I revel in. It is the camaraderie. It’s the sense of working together towards a shared goal. For a few weeks the entire operation be it a small local party or the entire party machine works together, full pelt, each person in the team knowing exactly what the goal is and what their role is in achieving that be that delivering leaflets, knocking doors, raising money or talking to the press. It’s about being a part of something bigger and about knowing that you have contributed to making that happen. That’s what I want for us as a party, for every person to have the opportunity to engage, and do what they can, when they can, to put more yellow on the map and put our Liberal values into action.

This weekend the membership team and I have been at Scottish Spring conference in Aviemore delivering training and meeting local teams. It’s amazing to see so many women from this year’s Future Women MPs weekend here. And the Scots appear pleased to see ‘The Feds’ this far north.

The next year will be no quieter or less challenging than the last. I’ll be no less a FaceTime mum, but I hope we will be a few steps closer to being a dynamic, responsive, diverse and fun political party using everyone’s talents to the fullest.

* Rachel Palma Randle is the Director for People at Liberal Democrat HQ, responsible for membership, online fundraising, candidates, diversity, training and development).

Read more by or more about , , , , , or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • A superb report back and what an effort the team are doing, you should all be really proud of the work being produced so far.

  • Jenny Wilson 22nd Apr '18 - 11:40am

    Thank you for coming this weekend! Our members loved having you up here. So greatful that you just ‘get’ Scotland and understand the work we need to do up here, and then get on with a plan! Looking forward to see what the next year brings you, the feds and the Scottish Party! Keep up the good work 💪🏻💪🏻

  • Terrific year Rachel. Well done. If LDW can help with the Future Women MPs week end again, please let us know.

  • To be fair to Rachel Rome wasn’t built in a day or even a year. However, having been given the run around by the party for the past twelve months (and twelve years!) about basics like maternity leave for candidates I must admit to finding all that alliterative jargon about building “a digital dashboard for diversity to drive a data driven approach” just a teensy bit irritating.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

This post has pre moderation enabled, please be patient whilst waiting for it to be manually reviewed. Liberal Democrat Voice is made up of volunteers who keep the site running in their free time.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Nonconformistradical
    "People on very low incomes in quite demanding jobs with long hours pay tax for public services...." If their jobs are demanding perhaps they deserve to be pai...
  • Michael KilpatrickMichael Kilpatrick
    I note the prominence given to internationalism, environmental awareness and modernising Britain. Those might be viewed as abstract geekery, remote from people�...
  • Roger Lake
    I do mean something! I believe I have already drafted, checked, and sent a reply to this question. So I wonder where that is now. Briefly, I tried to exp...
  • Rif Winfield
    The level of UBI. Clearly this will need to be set initially at the threshold for paying the basic rate of tax, i.e. at £12,570 - or rather at whatever the thr...
  • Roger Lake
    I am shocked by all this noise. No-one seems to be actively looking ahead and working towards the General Election c.2029, when I refuse to be so pessimistic ...