Two Gloucestershire companies are working together to help safeguard the smooth running of our democratic processes and streamline the information gathering system that ensures we have the right to vote.

Two Gloucestershire companies are working together to help safeguard the smooth running of our democratic processes and streamline the information gathering system that ensures we have the right to vote.

Stonehouse-based Xpress Software Solutions are part of The Electoral Reform Services Group (The ERS Group) who are entrusted by thousands of organisations every year as an independent provider of end-to-end ballot, election and voting services.

Xpress, which has a 30-strong full-time team led by managing director Nick Crump, is the largest provider of electoral registration and elections management software in the UK.

“We service about 260 local authorities across England and Wales providing them with software solutions that allow them to maintain the Electoral Register and run any elections they are required to conduct,” he explained.

In a great example of Gloucestershire companies working together, Xpress Software Solutions have teamed up with Lister Unified Communications, a neighbouring company on Stonehouse Business Park.

Lister, one of the largest and most experienced telecommunications suppliers in the region, is providing Xpress with the tablets mobile device management software and full support service that enables local authority canvassers to gather vital information for the Electoral Register.

Every year local authorities send out forms for householders to complete so the Electoral Register can be kept accurate and up to date. If, for whatever reason, a householder fails to use the several methods available to supply the information a council canvasser is sent out to visit them.

In the past they had to juggle bags, pens and forms on the doorstep in all weathers.

But Lister have supplied some 2,000 Samsung tablets (and much more) to make the canvasser’s job must simpler and faster. Lister also provide the protective cases, mobile network sim cards and the MDM software. They set up all the devices, load on MDM and deliver them to the councils.

In fact, Lister did everything from the initial order to contract end, including supply, delivery fulfilment and support.

The Xpress App automatically synchronises encrypted data while the canvasser works so Electoral Registration Officers can assign, track and re-assign them in real-time.

Nick Crump said: “We have written a digital solution that runs on the devices providing by Lister Unified Communications. It tells the canvasser which property to go to next, what information to collect and feeds that information straight back into the system.

“Local authorities are making huge cost savings on this digitalised process. It improves the experience for everyone and has proved to be very successful.”

The information collected is protected and the system meets the requirements of the new General Data Protection Regulation.

Simon Gardner, sales manager at Lister Unified Communications, explained: “We also provide the mobile device management software that protects the device from viruses and malware. We can track where the device is and kill or wipe it if it gets lost or stolen.”

Like Lister Unified Communications, Xpress Software Solutions is a Gloucestershire business success story that has grown to achieve a UK reach.

Xpress originally began as an offshoot of Stroud District Council in 2001 and has grown organically and for the past ten years has been part of The ERS Group which also includes Shaw’s, together providing end-to-end ballot, election and voting services. In fact, everything

needed to run elections, from the election management software and ballot papers down to the pencils and voting booths.

Nick Crump is also a director of The ERS Group which employs 230 people and has a turnover of £37.8 million.

Xpress Software Solutions is working with four local authorities, including Swindon Borough Council, on a voter ID pilot trialled nationally for the first time at this May’s local elections.

Xpress has provided Swindon council with a mobile application that scans an electors secure poll card at the polling station. This makes the voting experience faster, more efficient and more secure.

Nick Crump said his company has developed a strong relationship with Lister Unified Communications.

“When you start to scale up your projects and you are looking after more and more devices you need a company like Lister to help you manage that. They have been very good to work with,” he explained.

Simon Gardner said: “We have worked successfully with Xpress on the tablet solution for three years and are constantly looking at ways we can improve the experience for the councils and Xpress. They came to us with a requirement and with our knowledge and multiple suppliers we built a solution to fit”

If you would like to discuss how Lister can help you with mobile solutions, telecommunications and broadband, please do not hesitate to contact us today.