- What is Vote for Policies?
- Vote for Policies helps you make an informed, unbiased decision about who to vote for. Compare policies on a range of key issues (such as Education, Health or Economy) without knowing which party they belong to. It's the best way to get a clear, informed and unbiased view of what each party is promising to do. But be ready - the results can be surprising!
- Who's behind Vote for Policies?
- Vote for Policies is run by volunteers, and is an independent not-for-profit organisation. We do not have any connection to any political party or candidate, or any type of political organisation. Our mission is to increase participation in elections, so we want to give everyone the opportunity to make an informed, unbiased decision about who to vote for. You can read more on the team and the founder's story pages.
- How did you choose which parties to include?
We can't (yet) show policies only from parties who have candidates in your area. We have therefore focussed on the parties that already have seats in parliament and that will be fielding candidates in most constituencies.
As our basis, if a party has an MP in either England, Scotland or Wales we show that party's policies in all three countries. To keep things relevant however we apply exceptions to country-specific parties like Plaid Cymru (whose policies we only show if you vote in Wales), the Scottish National Party (whose polices we only show if you vote in Scotland), and the Scottish Greens (whose policies we show to voters in Scotland instead of the Green Party of England & Wales).
Northern Ireland is completely different as we show the largest five parties that make up the Northern Ireland Executive, which is the same parties who have MPs in Westminster plus the addition of the Alliance Party.
Here's the list for each country:
- England: Conservatives, Green Party, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP.
- Northern Ireland: Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, Democratic Unionist Party, Sinn Féin, Social Democratic & Labour Party, Ulster Unionist Party.
- Scotland: Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Scottish Greens, Scottish National Party, UKIP.
- Wales: Conservatives, Green Party, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, UKIP.
- Are there other parties I can vote for?
- Yes. We are only showing the main parties for each country, and there will almost certainly be other options depending on where you live. To find out all of the parties who have candidates in your area, we provide a link from your survey results page (in the 'Constituency results' tab) to a list of all known candidates standing in your constituency. This information is provided and updated by Who Can I Vote For?.
- How did you choose which issues to include?
- We aim to cover the main policy areas that all parties have policies for, and we update them with each new election to make sure they are relevant. For 2017 we have added a new section for 'Equalities and Rights', 'Housing', 'Tax and Benefits' and 'Retirement'. We will continue to develop this for future surveys and will post updates on our blog.
- How are the national and constituency results calculated?
For the national results every selection you make is included in the total. For example, if you compare policies on ten issues, you will be adding ten to the total number of 'votes'. We simply add up the number of 'votes' for each party and divide it by the total. This gives us the percentage for each party.
For constituency results we do exactly the same, but we only include the parties available in your country (listed here) and only include votes from users in the same constituency as you.
- Where do you get the policies from?
The policies come from the 2017 manifestos of each political party. We take up to eight policies based on the priority in which they appear in the manifesto. We also try to include policies on core issues from every party (e.g. tax rates, house building, net migration) to make it easier to compare across parties. Before releasing them on the site we send them to each political party for any comments and approval.
- What’s the point of policies anyway?
We do get feedback saying “Politicians don’t keep their promises - so what’s the point?!”. We understand this is a serious issue, and recognise that lack of accountability is one of the biggest barriers to voting. That’s why, after the 2017 general election, we will be creating a follow-up service to track the performance of whichever party (or coalition of parties) is elected, and report on their progress against their manifesto promises.
This has to be done fairly and with complete independence. But we believe this will help those people who don’t vote this year to see that policies really do matter, and that focussing on policies can help bring our democracy back into the hands of the people.
- Where is my results page?
If you have taken the survey and want to find your results again, just be sure to return to the site on the same computer / device on which you took the survey. When you do, you’ll see a green banner at the top of the page with a link directly to your results. Once there, you can bookmark this page or enter your email address to have the link sent to you.
- Can I use the data - do you have an API?
Not yet! Sorry, we did open up the data for the 2015 survey but this is not yet ready for the current 2017 survey. Sharing the data for other services to use is something we are committed to doing, so do please bear with us. To get updates on this and other developments just sign up to our mailing list.
- How is Vote for Policies different to other voter advice services?
There are other 'Voter Advice Applications' (VAAs) available, most of which ask users to give yes/no answers to questions like “Should we nationalise the railways?” or “Should we use nuclear energy?”. These sites are quick to use and really helpful (we recommend you try them all - there is a list at the botton of this page) but Vote for Policies is the only service that enables you to compare the actual policies of each party, so you know exactly what you are voting for. Focussing on policies in this way is not only the best way of helping people make a truly informed decision, it also provides the foundation for tracking a government’s progress after the election and holding them to account. We believe this is the path to a better democracy.
- Can I still access previous surveys from 2010 and 2015?
Not yet. We are in the process of archiving the previous surveys and the results data so hopefully they will be available soon after the 2017 election. To find out when they are ready and for other updates just sign up to our mailing list.