Thomas Bridge 01 July 2014

Tower Hamlets must restore voter confidence, watchdog says

A voting watchdog has branded management of mayoral, European and local elections at Tower Hamlets 'inadequate' following count delays in May.

The Electoral Commission ordered all Tower Hamlets counting staff and officials to speak only English at future counts in order to avoid deception.

According to the independent watchdog, the local authority allocated inadequate resources to the vote count and its subsequent verification. Delays in allowing access to the vote count and verification venue meant procedures were delayed by two and a half hours.

According to the Commission, not enough staff were on hand to recover from initial hold-ups or manage the number of ballot papers requiring verification within the returning officer's timetable.

Jenny Watson, chair of the Electoral Commission, said: 'With the May 2015 General Election fast approaching it is vital that everyone involved in the elections in Tower Hamlets learns from the experience of the 2014 elections so voters and campaigners in Tower Hamlets can have confidence in the administration of future election counts.

'We will be monitoring the returning officer's response closely over the coming months and if we are not satisfied that sufficient progress has been made by September 2014 we will make clear what more needs to be done.'

The Commission recommended instructions for all those attending vote counts in Tower Hamlets be undertaken in English only. Its report said: 'Several submissions also expressed concern about some counting agents and other attendees talking to count staff in Bengali, which meant that other observers could not understand what had been said.'

Tower Hamlets returning officer John Williams said: 'I welcome the report's recommendations and look forward to developing our plans for future elections in Tower Hamlets, learning the lessons from May 2014 and working in partnership with the Commission and all stakeholders locally.'

The news came as communities secretary Eric Pickles announced the extension of the investigation into the council's mayoral administration.

Speaking to the House of Commons, Pickles said: 'The investigators, PricewaterhouseCoopers, have informed me that the council has considerably delayed the investigation by delaying the provision of key information or by simply not providing it at all. This is not acceptable.'

'I am consequently extending the period for PwC to report. The costs will be met by the council. Whether the council likes it or not, this investigation will be thorough and comprehensive. I will update the House in due course.'

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Health Care Assistant - A1 Home Care - Chelmsford

Essex County Council
£10 - £11 per hour
Essex County Council (ECC) are delighted to be supporting A1 Home Care to recruit Health Care Assistant for their home care service based in Chelmsfor England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Administration Officer

The Coal Authority
£19,137 to £21,264
To apply please click the Apply Now link below. Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
Recuriter: The Coal Authority

Programme Assistant

City of York Council
£11.37 per hour
We are WorkwithYork and we are working with our client to find a Programme Assistant working with the Homes for Ukraine project. York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

IT Security Manager

City of Bradford MDC
£42,614 - £47,665 pa
This is an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic IT Security Manager Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Recovery Support Worker x 3

Wakefield Council
£12,963.50 - 14,113.00
We are seeking to appoint suitably skilled, motivated and caring recovery support workers Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Wakefield Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.