UK Engage looks at the role of an Independent Scrutineer and when you need to appoint one.

The role of an Independent Scrutineer

The role of an Independent Scrutineer is to oversee democratic processes such as elections or ballots. An Independent Scrutineer is an external company appointed by an organisation, party or union to maintain the integrity of an electoral process, which can be the voting stage only, or both nomination handling and voting stages, as the organisation requires.

As an impartial party, the appointment of an Independent Scrutineer is undertaken to provide assurance that the competence and independence of the election cannot be called into question.

Independent Scrutineer Services – Nomination Stage

  • Producing, generating and distributing, by postal and electronic channels, information on how to become a candidate for election and how to complete a nomination application, (including guidance of how best to complete the application, word count etc, time limitations etc).
  • Collating nomination applications for persons to stand as candidates for election (mainly by postal return of the documentation above, or processing an online application.
  • Work with the Returning Officer to assess the eligibility of the candidates against the election rules, constitution or Articles of Association.
  • Work with the Returning Officer to inform the candidates who are eligible to stand for election.
  • Producing candidate statements for the successful candidates based on the information provided, for inclusion in the ballot information.

Independent Scrutineer Services – Voting Stage

  • Producing, generating and distributing, by postal and electronic channels or face-to-face, electoral documentation (including secure and unique codes) to eligible voters.
  • Collating votes, using specific measures to ensure there is no duplication, and counting in a secure facility using accurate equipment.
  • Recording the votes and communicating the results to the organisation / Returning Officer.

When to use an Independent Scrutineer

You are a trade union and the law requires it

UK Engage is named in Statutory Instrument 2017 No.877 as a qualified Independent Scrutineer for Trade Union Ballots & Elections.  Under the Trade Union & Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, Trade Unions must appoint an Independent Scrutineer for certain types of elections and ballots.

Your Constitution, Election Rules or Articles of Association require it

Most organisations have some type of formalised rules and regulations, formed by management or shareholders that outline its internal affairs and conduct.  The rights and duties of its members are often included, as is the process of how elections should be conducted and who should oversee the process.

You have contentious items on which to vote

Sometimes, your organisation may have a particularly contentious, or a highly-emotive topic or resolution, on which members are asked to vote.  In this instance, an organisation may believe, in the interest of impartiality, to appoint an Independent Scrutineer to conduct election/resolution voting.  This lessens the likelihood of voters challenging the outcome with the organisation.

In addition, as Independent Scrutineers cannot divulge how individuals have voted, individuals have total freedom to cast a vote in complete anonymity.

You simply want to remain as impartial as possible

Outsourcing your election or ballot to an Independent Scrutineer is the best way to ensure complete impartiality.  The appointment of an Independent Scrutineer removes any potential criticisms that may occur as a result of an internal process.  Benefits include: –

  • Election, democracy and governance expertise
  • Impartiality and transparency
  • Ensure processes are run fairly, securely and accurately
  • Advise on all parts of the process

Contact us to discuss our Independent Scrutineer or Returning Officer services.

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