Returning Officers Communications, Candidate Briefings, Warnings & Police Complaints - 2015 General Election

Joel M Benjamin made this Freedom of Information request to Lincoln City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Lincoln City Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Joel M Benjamin

Dear Lincoln City Council,

The following information is sought in relation to communications, briefings, warnings and complaints issued by council Returning Officer & associated staff to prospective MP candidates, political parties and police in the lead up to, and conduct of, and subsequent enquiries into, the 2015 General Election.

FOIA Questions:

1) Were all GE2015 MP candidates issued with written guidelines including election procedures and spending rules, in line with Electoral Commission guidance? (see below for details)
2) Please provide copies of GE2015 briefing sheets and written guidance provided by the Returning Officer (RO) or Acting Returning Officer (ARO) to prospective MPs.
3) What procedures and processes did the RO or ARO have in place to identify and manage issues threatening the legitimacy of the electoral process relating to MPs expenses? How were they implemented?
4) What complaints were lodged with the RO and ARO regarding electoral integrity and spending issues for GE2015?
5) What documented action did the RO or ARO take to address these complaints?
6) What formal or informal warnings were issued to candidates or political parties?
7) What complaints were referred to local police?

The following information is sought in relation to communications, briefings, warnings and complaints issued by council Returning Officer & associated staff to prospective MP candidates, political parties and police in the lead up to, and conduct of, and subsequent enquiries into, the 2015 General Election.

FOIA Questions:

1) Were all GE2015 MP candidates issued with written guidelines including election procedures and spending rules, in line with Electoral Commission guidance? (see below for details)
2) Please provide copies of GE2015 briefing sheets and written guidance provided by the Returning Officer (RO) or Acting Returning Officer (ARO) to prospective MPs.
3) What procedures and processes did the RO or ARO have in place to identify and manage issues threatening the legitimacy of the electoral process relating to MPs expenses? How were they implemented?
4) What complaints were lodged with the RO and ARO regarding electoral integrity and spending issues for GE2015?
5) What documented action did the RO or ARO take to address these complaints?
6) What formal or informal warnings were issued to candidates or political parties?
7) What complaints were referred to local police?

Background: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...

Yours faithfully,

Joel M Benjamin

Shearwood, Karan (City of Lincoln Council), Lincoln City Council

Dear Sir

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – INFORMATION REQUEST
Complaints Issued by Returning Officer

I refer to your request for information received on … 2016 concerning the above and would advise you that the registration of electors is governed by the Representation of the People Act 1983 as amended. Under Section 8 of the Act, the council must appoint an officer of the council to be the registration officer for any constituency or part of a constituency coterminous with or situated in the council’s area. Angela Andrews (Chief Executive and Town Clerk) is the appointed officer for the registration area of the City of Lincoln. Her appointment as Electoral Registration Officer is separate to her appointment as Chief Executive and Town Clerk and, although appointed by the council, the Electoral Registration Officer’s responsibilities and duties are personal. An example of this is that the register of electors is deemed to be the property of the Electoral Registration Officer, not the local authority.

The Electoral Registration Officer does not carry out the duties on behalf of the local authority but in his own personal capacity. A list of public bodies and local authorities that are subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act is available at the following website:

http://www.foi.gov.uk/yourRights/publica...

As you will see, the Freedom of Information Act does not list any person appointed under the Representation of the People Act 1983. It follows that the Electoral Registration Officer, Returning Officer or any other person appointed under the Act are not subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

Details of persons and organisations that are entitled to receive free copies or to be sold copies of the register of electors are governed by Regulations 97 – 114 of the Representation of the People Regulations 2001, as amended.

Notwithstanding that there is no statutory obligation to provide this information, the Democratic Services Section will, however, consider your request and, if the information is readily accessible , respond as soon as resources allow.

With regards

Karan Shearwood
Legal Officer
T 01522 873840

City of Lincoln Council - Legal Services
City Hall, Beaumont Fee, Lincoln, LN1 1DB

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