Croydon 2022 election count accurate, safe and transparent, review finds

The council has today (7 August) published an independent review into the verification and count arrangements for the May 2022 Croydon local and Mayoral elections.

The report, which has been published in full as promised, found that the council delivered an accurate, safe and transparent verification and count, and that the results declared reflected the will of the electorate.

The report concludes that the Returning Officer and her core team and those appointed as count supervisors and assistants delivered:

  • An accurate verification
  • An accurate Mayoral count
  • 28 accurate borough ward counts
  • The counts were transparent, safe and secure
  • No potential candidate was denied the right to stand
  • No voter was disenfranchised
  • The results declared reflected the will of the electorate and the elections were conducted in an apolitical manner
  • Croydon’s election saw the highest number of ballot papers counted in a London Mayoral election, only one other London council went to second preference distribution of votes and Croydon had the smallest margin as the outcome.

The report found that the council’s Returning Officer delivered their duties in line with the law, with no breach of any legislation.

The independent review was commissioned by Croydon Returning Officer Katherine Kerswell, to look at the arrangements for the verification and the count. The decision to commission a review was taken because of delays to the count timeline, which meant that the election results were announced much later than anticipated.

The report was carried out by Mark Heath, Returning Officer at Southampton and SOLACE Elections Spokesperson and Robert Curtis, Head of Electoral Services at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and ex chair of the Association of Electoral Administrators (AEA). The process was chaired by Alison Griffin, Chief Executive of London Councils.

Count staff, party representatives, agents and candidates were interviewed or invited to make representations, to reflect on the arrangements and see what might be learned for future elections.

Although the review was initially commissioned by the Returning Officer, to provide a clear separation and avoid any conflict of interest the process was then overseen by the Assistant Chief Executive, Elaine Jackson, to ensure impartiality.

The report makes recommendations for improvement which the Returning Officer has accepted in full. Council staff will be working with all political parties to take these recommendations forward.

An Elections Briefing and Information Group (EBIG) will be set up, in agreement with the Mayor, Group Leaders and Chair of the General Purposes Committee (GPC).

The group will review the recommendations in the report, look at the changes in the Elections Act and how it impacts locally, and discuss more general matters and the preparedness for the election of the Mayor of London and Greater London Assembly 2024.

Croydon has already developed an action plan, increased capacity in the elections team and put in place new governance arrangements to ensure preparedness for elections next year.

The report and action plan will be taken to GPC at the end of September and a verbal update will be provided at Full Council in October.

Read the report in full here.

Elaine Jackson, Assistant Chief Executive of Croydon Council, said: “My thanks go to everyone who has contributed to this review for their openness, honesty and willingness to take part. The independent review has found that the council delivered an accurate, safe and lawful verification and count, and that the results reflected the will of the people of Croydon. The council must now reflect on the findings of this review, look at what can be learned from the experience in May 2022, and take action to ensure that future counts are delivered as efficiently as possible.”

2023-08-07T14:54:49+01:00 August 7th, 2023|Recent news|