Costs of local referenda

mm at mm at
Mon May 16 13:12:52 BST 2011

INIREF comments:
Isn't it about time that we started to look into how elections, polls 
and ballots can be organised and carried out efficiently? The Localism 
Bill currently passing through Parliament will probably lead to a lot 
more ballots, for budget referenda and planning polls. This could become 
a happy hunting ground for private companies selling "electoral 
services" for profit. Surely local government ballots should be 
organised by Council staff, perhaps with reasonable remuneration for 
overtime. The Swiss have great experience in doing this economically -- 
they have numerous referenda at local, regional and national levels. 
Perhaps we could learn how to run local democracy efficiently from them?


Polls are nice little earner for top boss

The chief executive of Bedford Borough Council has decided to give up 
more than £6,600 of his fee as returning officer for running recent 

The decision by Philip Simpkins was announced after Bedfordshire on 
Sunday questioned him about the £18,241 he is due to receive for the 
role – in addition to his £170k a year salary.

After asking the authority how much he receives, we were sent a near 
800-word statement justifying the position as returning officer 
explaining exactly what it involves.

We then spoke to Mr Simpkins about the job which comes with the 
following wages:

£5,493 for the Mayoral election

£3,826 for the Borough Council election

£2,850 for the Parish Council elections

£6,072 for the Alternative Vote referendum.

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