Returning Officers: Pay

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 8th January 2018.

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Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Engagement

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will review the merits and value to the public purse of additional payments or fees for Returning Officers at local and national elections.

Photo of Chris Skidmore Chris Skidmore Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Cabinet Office), Vice-Chair, Conservative Party

The returning officer is a statutorily independent officer who is entitled, by statute, to recover payments for services rendered in administering national polls. The fee reflects the additional duties placed on the returning officer alongside duties carried out in their normal post. The fee also reflects the considerable responsibility a returning officer has in administering an election as they are ultimately responsible and liable to the courts for their actions and decisions.

We are already looking to review the funding of elections, following on from changes to the funding process instituted in 2010, to seek to find efficiencies and improve value for money and intend to consider payments to Returning Officers as part of that process.

The Cabinet Office is not responsible for additional payments or fees made to Returning Officers at local elections which are a matter for individual local authorities.

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