Martyn Sargeant, Head of Democratic Services,
introduced the report and gave the panel an update on
recommendations and actions arising from the electoral registration
and participation scrutiny review. The review report was considered
by the Cabinet at its meeting on 8 June 2016.
The Head of Democratic Services advised the
Board of the following progress since the report was submitted
The Council is working with colleges and school leavers to engage
with young people in schools. The Council is planning a rolling
programme of events during the next two weeks to support this
Recommendation 14: Express Systems have been
commissioned to develop voter information material and videos for
residents whose first language is not English or who have reading
or writing difficulties. The material will be available in a number
of different languages. The scheme will initially be piloted in
Blakenhall area in May 2016.
The Board suggested that information about the
project could be published on Wolverhampton Information Network
website. The Board discussed progress made to implement the
recommendations and requested more detailed report be presented to
a future meeting.
The Board discussed the planned feedback to
the Electoral Commission on the lessons learnt from work done to
target different groups and communities. The Board requested that a
report of the Council’s response to Electoral Commission
should be presented to the meeting on 14 March 2017.
The Board expressed concern about the
difficulties in appointing an Electoral Services Manager and the
potential risks to the Council of not having an experienced person
in post. The Board discussed the reasons for not being able to
appoint. The Head of Democratic Services explained that a number of
ideas had been tried to fill the vacancy, without
success. However, there is provision
for extra dedicated support to be brought in where needed, in
addition to developing the skills of current staff. The Board
commented on the potential risks to the Council with the upcoming
mayoral elections and the need for the vacancy to be filled as a
matter of urgency.
Kevin O'Keefe, Director of Governance,
acknowledged the difficulties highlighted by the Board and the need
to find a suitable candidate. The Director of Governance commented
that a possible option could be to contact the Association of Electoral Administrators,
whose members are retired elections managers, with the necessary
experience that could provide an interim solution. The Head
of Democratic Services added that the Managing Director has
supported the use of extra employee resources from across the
Council and training for deputy returning officers to ensure the
service is robust. The Board requested a more detailed report on
progress against the review recommendations and also the
opportunity to comment on the draft public engagement strategy.
The Board discussed the methods that will be
used to consult with the public in the future and what further
changes are needed. The Director of Governance commented that a new
post has been created in the communications team to support the
development of an effective ...
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