Agenda and draft minutes

Corporate Support Committee
Tuesday 23rd November 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber & Blue Room, Arun Civic Centre, Maltravers Road, Littlehampton, BN17 5LF. View directions

Contact: Jane Fulton & Carley Lavender 

Media

Items
No. Item

453.

Welcome

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Members and Officers to the meeting of the Corporate Support Committee.

454.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies for Absence had been received from Councillors Bennett and Roberts.

455.

Declarations of Interest

Members and Officers are invited to make any declaration of pecuniary, personal and/or prejudicial interests that they may have in relation to items on this agenda, and are reminded that they should re-declare their interest before consideration of the items or as soon as the interest becomes apparent.

 

Members and Officers should make their declaration by stating:

 

a)             the item they have the interest in

b)             whether it is a pecuniary/personal interest and/or prejudicial interest

c)             the nature of the interest

 

Minutes:

            There were no Declarations of Interest made.

456.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 161 KB

The Committee will be asked to approve as a correct record the minutes of the Corporate Support Committee held on 28 September 2021, as attached.

Minutes:

457.

Items not on the Agenda that the Chair of the Meeting is of the Opinion Should be Considered as a Matter of Urgency by Reason of Special Circumstances

Minutes:

            The Chair confirmed that there were no items for this meeting.

458.

Public question time

To receive questions from the public (for a period of up to 15 minutes)

Minutes:

            The Chair confirmed that no questions had been submitted for this meeting.

459.

Provision of Digital Polling Equipment and Software for Use in Polling Stations at Future Elections pdf icon PDF 288 KB

This report is requesting the Corporate Support Committee to give approval for the Council to enter into a formal contract for the provision of digital polling equipment and software for future elections.

 

Minutes:

The Chair invited the Electoral Services Manager to present the report on behalf of the Group Head of Policy who was not able to attend this meeting.

 

The Committee was advised that for the Elections held in May 2021, iPads had been used as a trial to manage the issuing of ballot papers and other administrative tasks normally undertaken by Presiding Officers and the core elections team. Positive feedback had been received on how easy the process and trial had been with many electors also commenting upon how happy they were to see this more modern digital approach.

 

In view of the feedback received, it was proposed to use i-Pads for future Elections and so the Committee was being asked to give approval for the Council to enter into a contract for digital support in administering future elections, which would include voter ID functionality, would improve efficiency and deliver a better service to voters and candidates.  The key features and advantages of using i-pads had been set out in the report.

 

It was explained that the Cabinet Office refunded a number of election costs incurred by local authorities. Although it did not yet refund the cost of a digital system, there was expectation that this would occur with the commitment to introduce more robust voter identification (ID) processes. Voter ID functionality for this system was already developed and had been tested in national trials. Whilst it would be included in this contract, it would only be included in later contracts for other authorities at an additional charge. The Government had announced that voter ID would be introduced from September 2022 ready for the next parliamentary elections in 2024, or sooner.

 

The providers of the software had been working with and had been accredited by the Cabinet Office. They were also likely to be included in the Electoral Commission’s ‘Designing Effective Electoral Services Toolkit’ which would form part of the framework and guidance provided to local authorities in future elections. This included directions that the Council would need to follow, guidance that it should consider and best practice.  The opportunity to influence this at an early stage would be invaluable.

 

It was explained that the cost of funding this contract would be offset by savings that the software would bring, mainly due to needing less staff at polling stations. It was estimated that approximately 50 less poll clerks would be needed and savings of around £10,000 could be made as the software would save administrative time and would reduce risk from potential human error at a number of stages in an election. Any risk had a potential cost to the Council, both reputationally and financially.  The costs of elections to the Council varied depending on what the election was and what could be claimed back from other authorities. It was therefore not possible to be precise about the impact of using i-Pads and what a new process might have on overall election costs. However, it was anticipated that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 459.

460.

Outside Bodies

Minutes:

            The Chair confirmed that there were no feedback reports from Outside Bodies to present to this meeting.

461.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 279 KB

The Committee’s Work Programme for the remainder of the Municipal Year is before the Committee to note.

Minutes:

The Committee received and noted its Work Programme covering the remainder of the Municipal Year.