Latest Public Sector News

19.03.13

Electoral Commission calls for more information for next PCC elections

Only one in five people had enough information on Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) candidates to make an informed decision, the Electoral Commission has found.

Turnout for the elections, held last November, was 15.1% – the lowest recorded level at a peacetime non-local government election in the UK.

A new report highlights the most common reason for not voting was a lack of awareness, 37%, while 31% said a lack of time contributed. 8% of those surveyed were simply uninterested.

The Electoral Commission also found that 28% knew nothing at all about the elections and 48% knew “not very much”. 55% found it difficult to access information about candidates standing in the elections.

The commission recommends that Government must make clear at the time of introducing legislation how they will ensure electors have appropriate access to information about candidates.

Jenny Watson, chair of the Electoral Commission, said: “There were many different reasons why people didn’t vote last November and like any election there’s a limit to how much these can be addressed by decisions Government can make. But one of them was not knowing about the candidates and something can be done about that.

“It’s not enough to think that simply holding an election will inspire participation. That's why at the 2016 PCC elections a candidate information booklet must be sent to every household.

“Elections are a cornerstone of our democracy. It’s vital that the rules surrounding them are clear, workable and in place in good time. The rules for these elections were confirmed unacceptably late causing confusion for candidates and electoral administrators. The Home Office doesn’t have experience in preparing for elections and they need to be better supported in future by the parts of Government that do.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Image shows counting at the 2012 election. Rod Minchin / PA.

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