Liberal Democrats

Tim Farron website

Hosted website system for party groups and individuals.

Foci2 is our affordable, custom-built, fully-featured, customisable website application for Liberal Democrat groups.

The service costs just £17 +VAT per calendar month with a one-off fee of £42 +VAT for setting up a new site. The monthly fee includes everything you need to get online:

Support

Design

Functionality

Shared Content

Hosting

The Benefits of Choosing Prater Raines

Our clients’ workloads are reduced by ease of use, ready access to common campaigning tasks, and intelligent sharing of content between the sites we host, freeing up their busy schedule for campaigning.

The service is backed by rock-solid hosting, performance-tuned code which can handle the massive increase in traffic during election periods, and daily backups of all data, documents, and imagery.

We stay in touch with our clients through regular training sessions and attendance at national and regional Liberal Democrat conferences. We provide phone and email support for the service in office hours.

Technology

Our Lib Dem content management system is our own bespoke code sitting atop the excellent Symfony PHP Framework. We use a MySQL database for storage and SQLite for cache data. It’s hosted on two of our own HP servers running Ubuntu Linux in an enterprise-class data centre in the UK.

Because we use the Model View Controller pattern we can easily redesign the site templates without having to alter the underlying code. This means we can offer a number of different designs “out of the box” as well as the option to have an individual design made up just for one particular website.

We are also able to display a wide variety of different representations of the same data: for example our petitions can be displayed on the customer’s own site, on a “white label” site displaying all current petitions, in an accessible display for the visually impaired, in a specialised mobile phone version if we detect a mobile browser, and as a PDF to print and collect signatures.

Project History

In 2001, while serving as their volunteer webmaster, Tim Prater rebuilt Bedford Liberal Democrats’ website to better support local campaigning, including tools to engage, inform and recruit new members of the party. The new site soon attracted interest from other Lib Dem local parties and organisations, who asked Tim to produce their sites too based on the same principles: a clear campaigning identity; simple to update and easy to use; and working together to share content, giving the Lib Dems an “economy of scale” for online campaigning.

As more and more organisations asked to use the service, Tim approached Matt Raines, a developer he had previously worked with. That conversation about the need for a scalable, hosted solution supporting a large number of campaign websites was the genesis of the Lib Dem “Foci” site service, launched in 2002, and the “Foci2” service, in 2010.

Our Foci2 service is now used by hundreds of Liberal Democrat sites across the country, making Prater Raines by far the most popular provider of websites to Lib Dem groups – from MPs to MEPs, local parties to party campaign organisations, council groups and regions.