Pharmacists’ Defence Association Union

The union opts to go ‘paperless’ for the first time in its history.

The PDA Union exists to represent, defend, and support the interests of the Pharmacists’ Defence Association members, in dealing with employers and/or outside organisations. Union membership is extended to employees, locum pharmacists, pre-registration graduates and pharmacy undergraduates. The PDA Union has its own democratic structure and its members elect both governing body and regional committees.

Democratic Project:

The PDA Union has four regional committees in the UK; each region is made up of elected representatives from different areas of pharmacy practice, such as community employees, hospital employees, locums and primary care/specialist pharmacists, who represent the interests of these groups.

In a shift from the union’s previous approach which was that Regional Committee Elections would be administered via a paper-based process, the National Executive Committee allowed electronic systems to be used, which was a first for the union.

UK Engage was appointed for the administration of the nomination, supporter, and election phases of the process, including the introduction of electronic voting to the PDA Union’s 25,000 eligible members​


UK Engage developed trade union voting solutions for the PDA Union from its online democracy suite of products.

Nomination System:
Using market-leading democratic technology, an online system to collate self-nominations from members looking to represent their region was developed. The system complied with the specified word count so that all nominees had the same opportunity to put forward their manifesto for election and its autosave function ensured that nominees could complete the form in their own time, ahead of the deadline date.

Supporter System:
Crucially, each nominated member needed four supporters to stand for election. Using UK Engage’s online system, fellow members in each specific pharmacy practice area were invited to electronically submit their support for their candidate/s of choice, during a four-week supporter period.

Electronic Voting Platform:
For the first time, more than 25,000 trade union voting members were eligible to vote using electronic voting. The site was branded using the PDA Union’s brand colour scheme and overall identity.

Due to the paperless nature of the Regional Committee Elections, the majority of information was delivered to the


Using electronic voting for Regional Committee Election was a first for the PDA Union as historically these types of elections are carried out using a postal ballot mechanism. Elections were held in three out of the four regions with contests being highest in both the community and primary care constituencies. As the election was paperless, there were zero invalid votes.

Client Testimonial

“Using e-democracy was a first for the PDA, we were pleased with the level of engagement from our membership and how smooth the process went. PDA found it to be a cost-effective way to run an election. UK Engage is the experts and during the campaign, we listened carefully to their guidance in order to achieve the most out of the experience for our members. We will definitely use UK Engage services for future elections.

Collette Bradford
Head of Organising and Engagement
PDA Union

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