The Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland is currently considering a range of options for reforming his Office. This includes capitalising on new technology by introducing on-line registration.
The Chief Electoral Officer will have regard to the continued effective delivery of elections in Northern Ireland and ensuring that his Office remains on a sustainable financial footing. The Northern Ireland Office fully supports him in this approach. I understand that work on some options is at an early stage.
The Representation of the People Act 1983 makes provision for the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland to delegate returning officer functions to the clerk of a district council.
Detailed questions on headcount and budget are operational matters for the Chief Electoral Officer who is independent of Government. The Chief Electoral Officer publishes all such information in his annual report which is presented to Parliament and copies are made available in the Library of the House.
The headline budgets allocated to the Chief Electoral Office are:
* includes £3m for the 2013 canvass
The Northern Ireland Office has not agreed any budgets with the Chief Electoral Officer for future years pending receipt of the Department’s detailed Spending Review 2015 settlement letter from HM Treasury.