Association of Electoral Administrators

Help and Advice for UK Professionals involved in Running Elections

Association of Electoral Administrators - Help and Advice for UK Professionals involved in Running Elections

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Past Events

This page is very long, so, for ease of navigation, you can click on the events in the table below to jump to the relevant section.

Conference 2005 Seminar 2005 Conference 2006 Seminar 2006 Conference 2007 Seminar 2007
Conference 2008 Seminar 2008 Conference 2009 Seminar 2009 Conference 2010 Seminar 2010
Conference 2011 Seminar 2011

Brighton 2005

Photograph of Metropole Hotel Photograph of Metropole Hotel

The Hilton Metropole Hotel at Brighton was once again the venue for the Association's Annual Seminar (we were last here in 2003) and this page was set up to keep Members who could not attend up to date with what was going on.

Images and Reports from Seminar

Photograph of delegates visiting stands in the Exhibition Hall

Delegates visiting stands in the Exhibition Hall

Photograph of Kate Sullivan from the Electoral Commission with a message! Photograph of Kate Sullivan from the Electoral Commission with a message!

Kate Sullivan from the Electoral Commission with a message!

Session Notes

Parliamentary Election 2005?

Several speakers were involved in this session (on Monday morning). Kate Sullivan, from the Electoral Commission explained that:-

  • The Commission will be promoting a public awareness campaign
  • The first campaign will be about registration
  • It has produced a public information leaflet on postal voting
  • When the election is called, there will be a separate campaign to promote voting

Malcolm Rawlings, of the Department of Constitutional Affairs, reported that:-

  • The government has set up a project board
  • The board was advised by a project advisory group which includes regional returning officers·
  • There will be no legislative changes before the election
  • Negotiations with the Treasury concerning fees and charges are now complete and details were published on Friday 4th February

Chris Solich, from Stevenage BC, gave delegates some very useful advice on staffing levels for the processing of postal votes, particularly in view of the big increase in numbers.

Alan Winchcombe, Swindon BC, talked about preparation techniques and the importance of planning ahead.

Peter Quirk, from the Electoral Commission, talked about the practical advice that would be provided. Various guidance material would be issued to support administrators, including a handbook for polling staff. There would also be web-based information and briefing sessions held at various locations.

Electoral Commission Update

Addressing a plenary session at the AEA Seminar in Brighton, Sam Younger, Chairman of the Electoral Commission reviewed the 2004 election experience and looked at the changing shape of elections.

Review of 2004

  • An eventful year – the elections in June were the most complex ever run in the United Kingdom.
  • Complications of managing combined elections were compounded by pilot schemes and new boundaries.
  • Postal voting was trialled on a huge scale – even in non-pilot areas, large increases in postal voting added enormous pressure.
  • Politicisation of the electoral arrangements for the pilot regions delayed the orders for running the elections, but guaranteed them a high profile.
  • In many cases, the media exaggerated problems in the pilot areas. However, the intensive media coverage made it more difficult for electoral offices to cope.
  • The elections in June were delivered successfully, but those involved with running the elections hope that they will never again have to face such intense pressure.
  • At the same time, Returning Officers and their staff from the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humberside regions were working with the Commission on planning for three regional referendums.
  • In the event, government withdrew from two of the regions, deciding to hold a referendum in the North East region only. This was run very successfully and was a tribute to the Chief Returning Officer and his staff in Sunderland and to the advanced planning undertaken in the three regions.

Strategic Issues

  • The Commission's report ‘Voting for Change' encompasses reviews of all the consultation papers that Administrators will recall were initially issued with alarming regularity and sets out the Commission's recommendations.
  • The government has responded, accepted more than 75% of the Commission's recommendations and intends to legislate when Parliamentary time allows.
  • The Commission is looking to work closely with the Government, political parties and Electoral Administrators, as it will be many years before there is any further legislation.
  • The Commission has also published ‘Delivering Democracy', its report on pilot schemes.
  • It is clear that the public wants choice in elections. All-postal elections limit choice. However, postal voting is a key part of elections and will remain so.
  • The election model for England, Wales and Scotland needs to ensure choice of: voting in person; voting by post; and in the future, voting electronically. Things are different in Northern Ireland, particularly since the Fraud Act.
  • There was a wide divergence of experience in different parts of the country. In some areas, even postal voting on demand caused problems with fraud.
  • The Commission is working up a foundation model and trying to achieve consensus on a wide range of possible arrangements. The report is due to be published on 31st March.
  • Voters do not want single channel voting; the introduction of individual registration is important for checking of remote voting; and e-voting must not be forgotten.
  • Longer term and more co-ordinated pilot schemes may be required. It is vital to learn and adjust as a result of pilot schemes. With one side concerned about turnout and the other side about security, evaluation is essential.

Short to Medium Term Issues

  • There is the likelihood of a UK parliamentary election this year. This will entail increasing numbers of political parties and candidates, tight timetables, a possibility of combined elections and huge numbers of postal votes on demand.
  • The European Constitutional referendum may be held in Spring 2006. The Commission has already commented on the intelligibility of the question and will have the role of regulating the participants - limits of expenditure will be very difficult to implement.
  • The Commission's Chief Executive is the Chief Counting Officer for a UK wide referendum. At present, legislation does not allow for the appointment of regional counting officers, but this will be corrected.
  • A voter awareness programme will give details of where to go for information about referendum campaigns. The Commission is responsible for designating bodies to represent the YES and NO campaigns. If unable to designate such bodies, the Commission itself has to explain the arguments for and against the referendum question.
  • Future challenges include: multi-channel elections; changes to electoral systems with a possible move to Single Transferable Votes for local elections; encouraging electoral registration and voting; other elections such as elected mayors; and the insatiable appetite of the media.

Vision for the Next Ten Years

  • Multi channel voting will be a reality – it is the only basis on which we can move forward with consensus.
  • There will be a national electronic register of electors, underpinned by individual registration.
  • We will have national standards and logically, more central funding to guarantee standards.
  • There will be a single Election Act – consolidation of the current legislation is an enormously important aspiration,
  • The Association of Electoral Administrators will be well resourced and together with the Electoral Commission, will form an effective lobby.

CORE – Where are we and where are we going?

The speaker at this session was Tony Bellringer, the CORE Project Manager at the ODPM. His main message was that CORE could soon become a reality. The 2004 consultation had provided evidence of support for the principles and standards and it was accepted that transactions using CORE should not be fully automated. Tony spoke of progress on the Data Matching standard. Election Mark-up Language would be introduced in two stages: Stage 1, the election support function now had an agreed specification and quality assurance testing was under way. Stage 2, the ongoing registration function would follow at the end of 2005 with computer software being rolled out by system suppliers early in 2006.

Data format issues, particularly in relation to address standards, had proved to be more complex than anticipated but the work was well under way. Naming standards were less developed but work was progressing and a key stakeholder group was being established to advise the Project Team.

In timing the implementation of CORE, the canvass window was crucial so that the correct data was collected. At the moment, this was planned for December 2005 using data collected during this year's canvass. If this date were to be missed, the project would have to wait until the same time-slot in 2006.

Security issues would be addressed as would some means of compensating EROs for the loss of register income. On the plus side, and particularly to support individual registration, new opportunities for data matching (subject to the Data Protection Act) might lead to a more accurate and robust register. To bring all this about, however, primary legislation will be required. But that, as they say, is another story!

2004 Canvass Review

This session was led by Judith Witts and the speakers were Steve Miller (Hammersmith & Fulham) and Mary Earle (Bromley). It was a run-through of the various methods used during the annual canvass.

Several issues were covered:-

  • Whether to show, or not, opt-out markers on the form or, indeed, any pre-printing at all
  • Personal canvassing is still the best method to maximise return rate and accuracy
  • Using different methods for responding – e-mail, telephone, internet
  • That return rates had generally fallen in 2004
  • The timetable is now too short to enable proper checks
  • Budget cuts directly affect return rates as the canvass process is trimmed down (e.g. by removing a reminder stage, or moving away from personal canvassing)

Media – “Up Front”

The session was led by Malcolm Dumper and the speakers were Chris Mead (Press Association), Ivor Gaber (Election Consultant, ITN), David Cowling (Editor of BBC Political Research), Lizz Loxam (Elections Editor, BBC News) and Peter Snow (BBC broadcaster).

The session outlined the arrangements that media organisations make leading up to a General Election. Chris Mead informed delegates that a Press Association (PA) consultant would be attending every count centre. Chris paid tribute to the work electoral administrators undertook, in particular their co-operation in providing key information. He confirmed that the AEA had offered resources to collect information vital to the PA planning arrangements.

Ivor Gaber (ITN) outlined the high investment ITN put into election night. Indeed, it is the most expensive programme on their network. Ivor thanked administrators for their continued co-operation.

David Cowling commented on the importance of the background information and the permission for broadcast units to attend counts. He explained the ‘dry runs' the BBC conducted and how everyone connected understood the importance of continued good relationships with Returning Officers.

Lizz Loxam (BBC) explained the events leading up to the announcement of results by live broadcast and how important the Returning Officer's control over the proceedings was. It was vital that some discipline to the announcement is made so that the result is not distorted by audience noise.

Peter Snow (BBC) gave an entertaining account of his involvement and how he relies on so many people to support his role. He explained the development of television broadcasts ranging from putting results on chalkboards to the modern-day high-tech graphics.

Photograph of Malcolm Dumper and Peter Snow of the BBC

Executive Director (Policy & External Affairs), Malcolm Dumper, led the Monday afternoon session “The Media - Up Front” and is seen here with Peter Snow, the BBC's political expert, who was a surprise guest. Unfortunately, he left his swingometer behind!

And in a unique double-take, here we see Peter Snow of Uttlesford District Council and Peter Snow of the BBC!

Photograph of Peter Snow and Peter Snow of the BBC!

Qualifications Awards

Photograph of AEA members with their certificates and diplomas

The AEA members who received their Certificates and Diplomas from the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Sam Younger

Social Events

As usual, Steve Taylor produced an excellent Quiz on the Social Night and has very kindly allowed me to publish it. Click here for the quiz and here for the answers. There were some amusing team names; there is no room to list them all, but here are some: Ken Dodd's Dad's Dog's Dead, Ballot Babes, Blunkett's Blind Date, Wales 11 Say No More, How Do You Like Your Uddersfield? The winning team, captained by Jeff Mills (Ellesmere Port & Neston), with 68 out of a possible 80 points was The Yea But No But Yea Buts. Runners-up were Bes's Babes captained by Eirwen Eves (Sheffield) who scored 62 points.

After Dinner Speaker - Jeff Stevenson


Jeff Stevenson is a professional comedian who has worked in most areas of the business including theatre, cabaret and corporate functions as an after dinner entertainer. His many TV appearances include productions such as: Barrymore, Fives Company, Des O'Connor Tonight, Live from Her Majesty's, Stand and Deliver, Win Lose or Draw, Talking Telephone Numbers and many more. In recent years hosted two television game shows Jumble and Knees Up.


Jeff has appeared in many television comedies and he played himself performing at Rodney Trotter's stag night in the award winning comedy Only Fools and Horses. He has toured the UK many times as opening act for stars such as Shirley Bassey, Johnny Mathis, The Shadows, Howard Keel, Tom Jones and Jack Jones. He has travelled the world, entertaining British Forces in the Falkland Islands, Belize and Germany. He has been engaged to appear on many occasions on cruise liners such as Canberra, the QE2 and most recently for Royal Caribbean Lines on The Enchantment of the Seas.

Warm up Comic

Jeff is also one of the country's top studio hosts. Television shows he has warmed up for include: Barrymore, Blind Date, Surprise Surprise, Men Behaving Badly, Waiting For God, One Foot In The Grave, Only Fools And Horses and many more. Recent corporate clients include British Airways, Kuoni, The Leicester and Rutland Society of Architects, The Royal Society Of Architects, Canon UK, Capital, Rover, Sainsburys, LWT, The British Club Bahrain.

Photograph of Jeff Stevenson entertaining the audience Photograph of three singers

Before Jeff Stevenson came on, delegates were treated to a surprise but superb operatic performance from three singers whom we originally thought were hotel staff!

Blackpool 2006

Photograph of Blackpool Hilton Hotel Photograph of Blackpool Tower

Location: Hilton Hotel, Blackpool
Date: 19th to 22nd February 2006
Contact Name: James Stevens
Contact telephone number: 01277 312708
Contact fax number: 01277 312743
Contact email address:

The Association's last Annual General Meeting was held in Blackpool on Sunday, 19th February 2006 and was followed over the subsequent three days by the Annual Seminar.

You can view/download the following documents by clicking on any of them.

Application Form
Partner's Application Form
Official Seminar Programme
Workshop Attendance List
Workshop Information
Analysis of Delegates' Questionnaire Returns

Social Evening

The East Midlands Branch hosted the Conference this year and decided to have a Barn Dance on the Tuesday night. Many Members joined in the spirit of the theme with their cowboy boots and stetsons. Yee-hah!

Contact telephone numbers at Seminar

The AEA Office telephone number for families, colleagues etc. who may need to contact individual delegates during Seminar will be: 01253 292162. The number for the Imperial Hotel is 01253 623971 and for the Hilton Hotel is 01253 623434.

Seminar Views

The Mayor of Blackpool, Cllr Philip Dunne, officially opened Seminar

Members who were presented with their certificates by Sam Younger

Individual Pictures

Click on each picture to view a larger version

Delegates visiting stands in the exhibition area

Session Notes

You will be able to read details of the various presentations and sessions/workshops in the next issue of Arena but, in the meantime, you can view/download the slides from most of them from the list below:-

Electoral Modernisation Pilots
Evaluation of Pilot Schemes
Electoral Commission Update: Sam Younger
Electoral Administration - The Future: John Sills, DCA
General Election 2005: Electoral Reform Society
Electoral Law, Practices and Procedures: Baroness Joyce Gould
Organisation for Co-operation and Security in Europe: General Election 2005 Assessment
CORE - Status Update: Corey Dykstra, DCA
Electoral Modernisation - An Electoral Administrator's view
Options for Reform: Ken Ritchie, Electoral Reform Society
Other Voting Systems - The Nigerian Experience: Okop Umobong, Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria
Text of Mr Umobong's Address
The Electoral Modernisation Programme: Paul Docker, DCA (this is a large file)
Risk and Project Management: Demsoft
The next canvass - how will we be doing it?: John Owen
New ways of approaching electoral registration and election engagement: Chris Quigley, Delib (this is a large file)
Royal Mail: Rachel Winham, Partnership Director
Nominations: Practical Workshop (This is a very large file)

Social Events

After Dinner Speaker

Garry Richardson

As the sports anchor on Radio 4's Today programme, over a million people wake up to Garry as he interviews whoever is making the back page headlines. He is also a regular contributor to Grandstand and presents Sportsweek on Radio 5 Live, and has reported from four Olympic Games and over 100 world title fights.

Garry has spent his life in sports broadcasting, travelling the world interviewing a galaxy of stars. In tennis alone, he has recorded features with Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Venus Williams. It was Garry who interviewed Bill Clinton on live television, with no time whatsoever to prepare, when rain stopped play at Wimbledon. He had less luck the following year with Anna Kournikova.

A hugely entertaining speaker, whether or not the audience has any interest in sport, Garry incorporates topical gags and behind-the-scenes stories with impressions. As well as speaking after dinner, he hosts awards, has toured theatres with Rodney Marsh and the late George Best and regularly conducts live onstage interviews with sporting legends.

Brighton 2007

Photograph of Metropole Hotel Photograph of Metropole Hotel

Location: Hilton Metropole Hotel, Brighton
Date: 25th February to 28th February 2007
Contact Name: James Stevens
Contact telephone number: 01277 312708
Contact fax number: 01277 312743
Contact email address:

The Association's 2007 Annual Seminar was held in Brighton during a 4-day period from Sunday 25th February to Wednesday 28th February 2007 and the event marked the Association's 20th anniversary. You can view or download the official brochure by clicking here.

Read the letter received by the Chairman, John Turner, from the Mayor of Brighton by clicking here.

Seminar News

The Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Councillor David Smith, officially opens the Exhibition - introduced by Seminar Organiser, Jim Stevens, escorted by Executive Director (Commercial), Bill Crawford.

Extraordinary General Meeting

The EGM took place on the Sunday evening and was followed by a number of reflections on 20 years, starting with an address given on behalf of Rod Tuck, the Association's Life President, unfortunately absent through illness, by Charles Lasham, one of the original founders of the AEA. This was followed by some words from Richard Soudriette, of IFES, who kindly paid tribute to the AEA and its contribution to global democracy through its liaison with his organisation. The evening concluded with a light-hearted presentation from Charles Lasham, mostly on the founders' attempts at naming the Association!

(left) The Officers listening to Richard Soudriette, (right) AEA Members at the meeting in the Oxford Hall

Bridget Prentice MP

The Minister with John Turner

The Minister was greeted on arrival by Sue Bedford from the Seminar Working Party

Giving the keynote speech to the AEA Annual Conference, Bridget Prentice, Elections Minister at the Department for Constitutional Affairs outlined the challenges we face in ensuring that Electoral Administrators are delivering an effective and efficient service, how the Electoral Administration Act will help deliver this, and what else can be done in the bid to deliver an effective electoral administration service.

The Minister stated that the key to being a successful electoral administration service rests on three fundamental principles:

  • A proactive attitude to engaging the electorate
  • A strong belief in the importance of maintaining public confidence in the integrity of the process
  • Dedication to professional delivery and continuous improvement of the service

On the Electoral Administration Act 2006, the Minister stated that the detailed secondary legislation made under it are important pieces of legislation that will help us fulfil all three elements stated. Going to the core of a healthy democracy, the Minister went on to say that to encourage participation and accessibility of the voting process, the Act includes a range of measures. These include:

  • a new responsibility requiring Electoral Registration Officers to maximise registration rates
  • a requirement to conduct regular reviews of polling stations to ensure accessibility
  • providing for anonymous registration, and
  • establishing the Participation Fund to support innovative means of drawing in electors.

The new duties on EROs were effective for the annual canvass exercise last autumn. Just in the last few days, the collated electoral registration statistics from the 1 December statutory publication of the register have been released by the Office for National Statistics. And, pleasingly, we have seen the names on the electoral register increase by half a million. A fantastic start. And the number of attainers registered has also increased by 7%. Much has been achieved and we must build on this momentum.

Contrary to what some may have claimed, there has been no complacency by the Government with regard to maintaining the integrity of elections. The Act includes a range of measures to help both: a) deter fraud; and b) detect and prosecute any fraud that is attempted. These measures include particularly:

  • the creation of clear new offences in relation to false registration or application for an absent vote;
  • a proper regime to have accredited individuals and organisations observe election processes;
  • allowing more time for police investigations, and, of course,
  • the use of additional personal identifiers by postal voters at elections.

The Government fully acknowledges that the new Act places new obligations on administrators. The DCA has therefore provided an additional £21m, through the Revenue Support Grant, to ensure that Local Authorities can fulfil their obligations. It is essential that this funding then gets to electoral service staff, so that they can fulfil their new duties to the best of their ability.

Significant and additional money is being provided specifically to ensure that the implementation of postal vote identifier collection and checking goes as smoothly.

The Act will help us achieve a successful electoral administration service. It will lead to an increase in engagement, a building of confidence in integrity and the delivery of a high quality public service. She is also expected to say that the programme of change and improvement to electoral administration goes well beyond the Act. There is a great deal of other good work going on.

To increase participation, during 2006, we provided funding to seven local authorities with the specific aim of increasing levels of voter registration. We have been particularly keen to support activities which target groups that are traditionally 'harder to reach'. For example, young people and ethnic minorities.

A number of pilots has been run as part of the modernisation programme. And there are more planned. Pilots on additional channels of voting, alternative voting locations, and voting on additional days have all proved particularly useful identifying ways of increasing accessibility for electors.

Responding to questions, the Minister agreed to investigate a suggestion that an earlier postal vote receipt time other than close of poll would be beneficial to the process but might be considered undemocratic.

She also agreed to liaise with her officials over the significant concerns expressed by administrators on the personal identifier collection and checking process. The Minister would not confirm any further commitment towards individual registration.

Qualifications Awards

Members who received their certificates with Sam Younger, Chairman of the Electoral Commission, and John Turner, Chairman and Chief Executive of the AEA.

Individual Pictures

Click on each picture to view a larger version

Presentation Notes

Slides and handout material from various presentations and workshops can be viewed or downloaded by clicking on the relevant item(s) below.

Polling place and polling district reviews and access arrangements
Annual Declarations including Anonymous Registration - Slides
Annual Declarations including Anonymous Registration - Notes
Overseas Declaration - 15 year case study
Absent Voting
How much electoral fraud is there in the UK? (Word version)

Being sociable

The North West Branch seem to think they're here to enjoy themselves!

Annual Quiz

Once again, Steve Taylor, from Sunderland City Council, produced an excellent quiz for Tuesday evening, interspersed with the ever-popular stand-up Bingo. The eventual winners of the magnificent quiz trophy were "The Meatballers", consisting of Rose Hignett (Congleton), Sandra Hobbs (Macclesfield), Ann Watkins (Broadland) and Roger Davies (retired); they amassed a creditable 79 points. Runners-up were "Back, Crack and Sack", team members being Neil Middlehurst and Dave Cookson (both Sefton), Steve Barker (Liverpool) and Martin Hughes (retired); they received a bottle of champagne each. Well done to everyone, and Steve Taylor has kindly sent me the quiz, which, if you wish to, you can view or download by clicking here.

Blackpool 2008

Blackpool Hilton Hotel Blackpool Illuminations

Location: Hilton Hotel, Blackpool
Date: Sunday 24th February to Wednesday 27th February 2008
Contact Name: James Stevens
Contact telephone number: 01277 312708
Contact fax number: 01277 312743
Contact email address:

The Association's next Annual Conference will be held in Blackpool, commencing on Sunday 24th February 2008 with the AGM taking place on Wednesday 27th February 2008.

You can view/download the following documents by clicking on any of them.

Application Form
Partner's Application Form
Details and provisional Conference Programme
Conference Programme
Social Programme
Social Night flyer from North West Branch

Pictures from Conference

(Left) Conference Organiser, Jim Stevens, and Billy Pollock, Chairman of the Scotland and Northern Ireland Branch, make some last minute arrangements for Billy's presentation. (Right) The Dynamic Duo, Professors Rallings and Thrasher, sort out a technical problem prior to their presentation, the first in the main hall on Monday.

Delegates (left) register and (right) assemble for the first plenary session.


Slides from the Power Point presentations can be viewed by clicking the appropriate item in the list below.

Beacons, Standards and YOU
Performance Standards for electoral services
Much ado about not very much: the impact of postal voting on turnout and election results(this is a large file and may take a few seconds to load)
Welsh Assembly Elections
Election Review 2007: Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
Review of Registration 2007
Electoral registration data standards
Modernising electoral administration
Registration hearings
Improving voter registration

Minister Rocks In Blackpool

Tony Lee persuades Bridget Prentice MP to buy some sticks of rock

Social Pictures

(Left) No, not Rallings and Thrasher; (Right) East Midlands Branch group

(Left) Fine figures of men from Southern Branch; (Right) Southern Branch ladies (?)

(Left and right) Eastern Branch ladies in their glad rags

Qualifications Awards

Individual Pictures

Click on each picture to view a larger version

(left) Alex Mammous, (right) Alison Lansdale

(left) Joanne Lowe, on behalf of Andrew Flecknor, (right) Catherine Hayden

(left) Cherie Thorne, (right) Christian Everett

(left) Helena Pugh, on behalf of Christopher John, (right) Steven Barker, on behalf of Clare Canning

(left) Clare Oakley, (right) Diana Chatfield

(left) Amanda DeWarr (Diploma), (right) Gareth Harrington

(left) Helen Blakeborough, (right) Jamie Baker

(left) Joanne Lowe, (right) Judith Roberts

(left) Katherine Bescoby, (right) Kelly Wigley

(left) Lianne Hall, (right) Linda Hendley

(left) Liza Gerrard, (right) Louise Simmons

(left) Martin John, (right) Paul Libreri

(left) Ruth Reah, (right) Stacey Ijewsky

(left) Lynda Murlewski, on behalf of Steve Cridland, (right) Vanessa Chagas

Vikki Davison

Brighton 2009

Photograph of Metropole Hotel Photograph of Brighton Pier

Location: Hilton Metropole Hotel, Brighton
Date: 8th February to 11th February 2009
Contact Name: James Stevens
Contact telephone number: 01277 312708
Contact fax number: 01277 312743
Contact email address:

The Association's 2009 Annual Conference will be held at the Hilton Metropole Hotel in Brighton from Sunday 8th February to Wednesday 11th February 2009. You can view/download the brochure and application forms by clicking on the appropriate item in the list below.

Conference Brochure
Delegate application
Partner's application

Pictures from Conference

Delegates in the exhibition hall

Tony Lee and Brian Pearson on the AEA Registration Desk

Southern Branch Chairman, Martin John, on his way to AEA Council, accompanied by balloon, glass of red wine (but not Clive Joynes, Isle of Wight)

Sir Christopher Kelly, during his presentation on Monday morning "Committee on Standards in Public Life Review of the Electoral Commission - Two Years On."

Delegates at the MoJ Update plenary session. It was good to see so many people in attendance


Please note that some of these are comprised in very large PDF files and will take several seconds to open.


Administration of Elections 2009
Working together to ensure electoral integrity - Electoral Commission
Responding to Electoral Fraud


Keynote speech given by Justice Minister Michael Wills MP: "Ensuring confidence and transparency in the electoral system"
Registration Review
MoJ update - new Fees and Charges Order


Edited Register
End of the edited register? -

Qualifications Awards

Congratulations to all these Members who received their Certificates on
the evening of the Annual Dinner

Individual Pictures

Click on each picture to view a larger version

(left) Andrew Hunter, (right) Brian Mayfield

(left) Christine Armitage, (right) Gina Griffiths

(left) Hannah Smith, (right) Chris John (on behalf of Helena Pugh)

(left) Jennifer Brookner, (right) Linda Spence

(left) Louisa Robinson, (right) Luke Fattorusso

(left) Mhairi Macpherson, (right) Natalie Thickett

(left) Sandra Hardy, (right) Yvonne Hughes

Zoe English

Being sociable

As usual, thanks are due to Steve Taylor, Sunderland (aka 'The Hub'), for yet another excellent quiz at the Social Night on Monday. Stand-up Bingo once more preceded this hugely popular, eagerly awaited and highly competitive event. Steve has kindly let me have copies and you can view or download the relevant items in the list below by clicking on them.

Picture Round - no answers
Picture Round - with answers
Main Quiz - no answers
Main Quiz - with answers

The vile Cap'n Barker (Liverpool) attempting to invade
the south, in the shape of (left) Debbie Turkoz (Poole)
and (right) Leigh Johnson (Purbeck)

The former Chairman, Paul Morris, prepares a memento of
the Social Night for his private album.

Blackpool 2010

Blackpool Hilton Hotel Panorama Blackpool at night

Location: Hilton Hotel, Blackpool
Date: Sunday 31st January to Wednesday 3rd February 2010
Contact Name: James Stevens
Contact telephone number: 07912 310093
Contact fax number:
Contact email address:

Click on the individual items in the list below to view or download them

Ministry of Justice session on data matching - flyer
Conference Brochure
Provisional Conference programme
Delegate application form
Partner's application form
Social Night flyer (very large file)

Presentation Slides


Parliamentary General 2010 - Liz Read
Parliamentary General Election 2010: Where can it all go wrong and how to avoid that being you - John Turner
Parliamentary Election 2010: Are you ready for it? - Paul Morris
A UK Parliamentary Election: Are you ready? - Karen Quaintmere, Electoral Commission
Administration of the European election 2009 - Glynne Morgan
European Parliamentary elections review - Mark Heath
June 2009: European and local elections in England - Andrew Scallan, Electoral Commission
Creating and leading positive teams - Joe Bradley


Individual Electoral Registration - Douglas Bain, Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland
Ministry of Justice update - Paul Docker, MoJ
Monitoring the introduction of Individual Electoral Registration - Tom Hawthorn, Electoral Commission


Experian: Credit referencing and the electoral register


Eastern Branch members on stage Eastern Branch members

The hosts

Brian Pearson Tony Lee

(L) Brian Pearson and (R) Tony Lee, who man the AEA Information Desk every year

Glynne Morgan Joe Bradley

Plenary session speakers: Glynne Morgan (L), Joe Bradley (R)

Delegates Delegates

Delegates in the plenary hall

Mark Heath and Karen Quaintmere Kath Richards

(L) Mark Heath, South East RRO with Karen Quaintmere, Electoral Commission, soon to be AEA Assistant Chief Executive; (R) The AEA's new Deputy Chairman, Kath Richards - unusual to see her holding a glass of wine!

Rob Curtis Nigel and Bill

Rob Curtis, workshop trainer, winner of a bottle of bubbly, and remember Stadtler and Waldorf?

Basingstoke and Deane girls Winning quiz team

Two Southern Branch successes: Fancy Dress Team and winners of the Quiz

Links to picture albums

Sunday afternoon
Monday evening - Social Night and Quiz
Tuesday night - Annual Dinner and awards

Qualifications Awards

Congratulations to all these Members who received their Certificates and Diplomas on
the evening of the Annual Dinner, from Douglas Bain, Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland

Individual Pictures

Click on each picture to view a larger version

(left) Alison Hughes, (right) Diane Todd

(left) Elizabeth Bailey, (right) Gail Dalton

(left) Gareth Cook, (right) George Cooper

(left) James Moran, (right) Joanne Harnett

(left) Judi Miles, (right) Lilian Pryde

(left) Martha Matheou, (right) Martin Hughes

(left) Matthew Box, (right) Pamela Loose

(left) Paula Hunter, (right) Robert Taylor

(left) Sarah Wilson, (right) Sharon McDonald

(left) Suzanne Taylor, (right) Glynne Morgan

National One-day Seminars

Reading 2005
"Free and fair elections in the UK - reality or myth?"

Photograph of the Madejski StadiumConference Stage

Pictured above left is The Madejski Stadium in Reading, the location of the first AEA One-Day National Conference which was held in the Princess Suite of the Royal Berkshire Conference Centre at the Stadium on the 8th September 2005. On the right is the stage area in preparedness for the start of the Conference.

The Conference attracted more than 200 delegates and more than a dozen speakers including The Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP, the then Constitutional Affairs Minister, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC and Sam Younger, Chairman of the Electoral Commission.

The Conference was adjudged a great success by delegates and the commercial exhibitors who attended.

Baroness Kennedy

Above left (L–R): John Turner (Chairman of the Association), David Cowling (BBC, Chairman of Conference), John Sills (Head of Electoral Policy Division, Department of Constitutional Affairs), and The Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP (Constitutional Affairs Minister). In the right-hand picture is Baroness Kennedy QC, who chairs the Power Commission.

Click on either of the two items below to view/download a copy:-

Conference Programme
Conference Report

Coventry 2006
"Electoral Administration - Delivering the Vision"

Photograph of Hilton Hotel

The venue for the 2nd Annual AEA National One-Day Conference on Thursday 7th September 2006 was The Hilton, Coventry, pictured above. Click here to view/download a copy of the official brochure.

The Conference is now over and it was once more a resounding success both with delegates and exhibitors. Slides from the various presentations can be viewed by clicking on the items listed below.

Electoral Administration - the next steps: John Sills
Changes in legislation - practical implications and support arrangements: Kate Sullivan, Andrew Scallan and John Turner
Electoral Integrity Round Table: Home Office (This is a large file)
Advocating a vision, setting the standards: Sam Younger
Making integrity matter: Kate Sullivan
Consultation and support: Kate Sullivan
Evaluation of May 2006 pilot schemes: Tom Hawthorn

Question Time

Above left, the stage is set. Above right, the Minister, Bridget Prentice MP, answers questions, following her keynote speech. On her right is the Head of the DCA's Electoral Policy Division, John Sills, with David Cowling, the Conference Chairman.


Above left, Kate Sullivan, Electoral Commission, talks to Sam Younger, the Commission's Chairman. Above right, delegates networking and eating, thus proving that electoral administrators can multi-task after all!

Coventry 2007
"Electoral Administration - Where Now?"

Photograph of Metropole Hotel Metropole Hotel Meeting Room

The venue for the 3rd Annual AEA National One-Day Conference on Friday 7th September 2007 will once again be the Hilton Hotel, Coventry, pictured above.

The first two National one-day conferences arranged by the AEA (Reading 2005 and Coventry 2006) proved very successful with delegates and exhibitors alike and has become an established annual event in the Association's calendar. Click on the items in the list below to view or download the relevant details.

Details and application form
Exhibition Floor Plan
List of Exhibitors

Hinckley 2008
"How are electoral services measuring up?"

The venue for the 4th Annual AEA National One-Day Seminar on Tuesday 2nd September 2008 will be the Hinckley Island Hotel, Leicestershire, pictured above.

The National one-day Seminar is now an established event in the AEA's annual calendar and, at this exciting new venue, will hopefully be as successful as the previous three. Click here to view or download details and an application form.


To view any of these presentations, click on the item in the list below.

Ministry of Justice: Electoral Administration - the Government's approach
Electoral Commission: Elections 2008
Electoral Commission and the AEA: Structure of Electoral Administration
Sharon Frazer and Cathy Wills: National Occupational Standards for Electoral Services

Gateshead 2009
"Is your Electoral Services Unit fit for purpose and the challenges of the forthcoming General Election?"

The 5th Annual AEA National One-Day Seminar took place on Friday 4th September 2009 at the Newcastle Gateshead Hilton, overlooking the River Tyne, pictured above. Click here to view the official brochure. It was an extremely interesting and worthwhile event which seemed to be enjoyed by delegates who, this year, attended in higher numbers than ever before. The Chief Executive, John Turner, in his opening welcome, congratulated everyone on achieving this record.

Keynote speech: "Putting voters first – the General Election and beyond" - Jenny Watson, Chair of the Electoral Commission

You can read the full transcript of Jenny's speech here.


You can view/download slides from the presentations at the Seminar by clicking on the items in the list below. Please be aware that there are some quite large files here which will take a few seconds to display. The slides provide a good summary of the content of the presentations but look out for detailed reports in the Autumn issue of ARENA.

What could go wrong? Warrington: a case study – Jan Souness, Head of Service for the Chief Executive’s Directorate, Warrington Borough Council
Project managing an election; Cornwall, a case study – Paul Hamill, Programme Manager, Cornwall Council
Key issues for a Parliamentary General Election – Andy Tiffin, Democratic Services Manager, Hart District Council and John Owen, AEA Training Manager
Lessons from Northern Ireland: a case study – Douglas Bain, Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland
Is your ESU fit for purpose? – John Turner, AEA Chief Executive
Supporting a well-run UK Parliamentary General Election – Karen Quaintmere, Head of Electoral Administration, Electoral Commission
Training support – John Owen, AEA Training Manager
Available support from the AEA – John Turner, AEA Chief Executive

Milton Keynes 2010 - "If it's broke - fix it!"

The 6th Annual AEA National One-Day Seminar was held on Thursday 16th September 2010 at the Doubletree by Hilton, Milton Keynes, which is pictured above. Click on an appropriate item in the list below to view and/or download it.

Revised Programme (14th September 2010)
Official flyer
Application form
Hotel information (from the hotel's website)


These are the slides from the various presentations at Seminar; click on an item in the list below to view/download it.

Andrew Scallan, Electoral Commission - Review of the 2010 Parliamentary General Election
Alex Thomas, Cabinet Office - Referendum on the Alternative Vote
Billy Pollock, Depute Returning Officer, South Ayrshire Council - Referendums
Professor Colin Rallings, Elections Centre, University of Plymouth - Constitutional reform and the new landscape for elections
John Moffoot, ARO, Milton Keynes - 2010 Elections
John Turner, AEA Chief Executive - Fixed-term Parliaments, background and the practical implications
Karen Quaintmere, AEA Assistant Chief Executive - AEA post election report - Beyond 2010: the future of electoral administration in the UK
Steve Lake, AEA Qualifications Board - CPD (Continuing Professional Development)

Annual Conference 2011 - Brighton

Photograph of Metropole Hotel Photograph of Grand Hotel

Location: Hilton Metropole Hotel, Brighton
Date: 13th February to 16th February 2011
Contact Name: James Stevens
Contact telephone number: 07912 310093
Contact email address:

The Association's 2011 Annual Conference was held at the Hilton Metropole Hotel in Brighton from Sunday 13th February to Wednesday 16th February 2011.

In addition to the Hilton Metropole Hotel, we also used the Grand Hotel (next door, pictured above right) and, on this occasion, delegates were able to choose which of the two hotels they wished to stay in, subject to availability at the time of booking.

Click on the appropriate item in the list below to view or download content.

Hilton Metropole website
Grand Hotel website
Conference Brochure

Presentation Slides

Monday: Individual Electoral Registration - John Turner
Monday: Moving Beyond 2010 - Karen Quaintmere
Monday: Moving Beyond 2010 - Paul Docker
Monday: Information Commissioner - Stephen McCartney
Tuesday: Alternative Vote - John Owen
Tuesday: AV, will it make a difference? - Colin Rallings
Tuesday: Customer Service - Phil Hardy
Tuesday: Polls Apart - Ruth Scott, Scope
Tuesday: Parliamentary Voting System - George Cooper
Wednesday: Directly Elected Police Commissioners - Adam Slonecki, Home Office
Wednesday: Parliamentary Bounday Review - Gerald Tessier and Tony Bellringer, Boundary Commission for England
Wednesday: Skills for Justice - Lesley Dunlop

Qualifications Awards


Asa Aldis

Asa Aldis

Victoria Beavon

Victoria Beavon

Colin Gamble

Colin Gamble

Kate Gascoigne

Kate Gascoigne

Lee-Marie Grant

Lee-Marie Grant

Emily Metcalfe

Emily Metcalfe

Stephanie Needham

Stephanie Needham

Anne-Lee Sheppard

Anne-Lee Sheppard

Joanne Smith

Joanne Smith

Peter Wildman

Peter Wildman


Sandra Hardy

Sandra Hardy

Sue Daniels

Sue Daniels

Douglas Bain

Douglas Bain (Honorary)

June Butler

June Butler (Honorary)

AEA Annual Awards

Sue Gamalatge

Sue Gamalatge

Maggie Hill

Maggie Hill

Stephanie Needham and Alison Hughes

Stephanie Needham and Alison Hughes

Norman Macleod

Norman Macleod

Annual One-day Seminar - Greenwich: "New directions - where next for electoral services?"

Devonport House Greenwich

Devonport House location Location: Devonport House, King William Walk, Greenwich, London SE10 9JW
Date: Monday 12th September 2011
Contact: James Stevens
Telephone number: 07912 310093

Start and finish times: 9.00am – 4.30pm

Details and application form
Google Place Page


What can we all learn from the 2011 polls and what electoral changes are on the horizon?

The AEA's annual seminar is an important and timely event in the electoral administration calendar and will explore the key issues and challenges facing electoral services in an uncertain environment. Featuring plenary sessions on key electoral policy and practice issues, this one-day event will provide opportunities to hear about the changes that will affect you, to be involved in discussions, to ask questions, and to network with colleagues.

  • Hear from a range of speakers including from the AEA and Cabinet Office, as well as practitioners, on the administration of the referendums and combined polls in May 2011, and on the issues and challenges for electoral services over the next few years.
  • Neil King from the Home Office will set out how the elections for Police & Crime Commissioners (scheduled for May 2012) will work.
  • Learn about the latest on the changes that will bring about the transformation of electoral registration, including the implementation of individual electoral registration in 2014, and use of data matching.
  • Hear from Paul Hackney, the Returning Officer at Stoke-on-Trent, on the experience of being involved in a local election petition.
  • Find out what other changes are contained in new primary legislation, and what the localism agenda could mean for electoral services.


Early indications are that Seminar was a success once more and a full report of the proceedings will be appearing in the Autumn edition of ARENA. In the meantime, PDF copies of the slides included in the presentations are listed below and can be viewed/downloaded by clicking individual items.

Presentation Slides

Data Matching Pilots 2011 - Louise Stamp, London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Election Petition - Paul Hackney, Returning Officer, Stoke-on-Trent
Individual Electoral Registration - Jon Hoare and David Canning, Cabinet Office
Police and Crime Commissioner Elections - John Turner, AEA Chief Executive
Referendums and Elections 2011 - Karen Quaintmere, AEA Assistant Chief Executive
Reform of Electoral Law - Frances Patterson QC, Public Law Commissioner

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