Elections: Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Office written question – answered on 23rd December 2015.

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Photo of Lord Empey Lord Empey UUP

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland has the power to require district councils in Northern Ireland to conduct election counts for elections to Westminster and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Photo of Lord Empey Lord Empey UUP

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there are any plans to reduce the number of local electoral offices in Northern Ireland.

Photo of Lord Empey Lord Empey UUP

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to require district councils in Northern Ireland to conduct election counts other than those for district council elections.

Photo of Lord Empey Lord Empey UUP

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the budget for the delivery of electoral services in Northern Ireland in 2013–14, 2014–15 and 2015–16, and what will be the budget for 2016–17, 2017–18 and 2018–19.

Photo of Lord Empey Lord Empey UUP

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the total number of persons currently employed to deliver electoral services in Northern Ireland.

Photo of Lord Empey Lord Empey UUP

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the employment projections for electoral offices in Northern Ireland in 2016–17, 2017–18, and 2018–19.

Photo of Lord Dunlop Lord Dunlop The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland

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:

Financial Year

Operational Funding

Capital Funding

2013/14

£5.452m *

£100k

2014/15

£2.336m

£56.2k

2015/16

£2.296m

£25k

* 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.

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