Is the public receiving value for money for the £2.5 million spent on the Mayoral election?

Is the public receiving value for money for the £2.5 million spent on the Mayoral election?

Is the public receiving value for money for the £2.5 million spent on the Mayoral election?

                                  

This tale is a rather tangled web involving Liverpool City Council’s involvement in the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Mayoral election, the Electoral Commission and the Cabinet Office. It’s an update to Why has Liverpool City Council blocked my request to view the nomination papers of the 8 candidates wanting to be Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Mayor?

Ged Fitzgerald (Chief Executive, Liverpool City Council) tries to explain devolution to a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Scrutiny Panel 28th October 2015
Ged Fitzgerald (Chief Executive, Liverpool City Council) tries to explain devolution to a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Scrutiny Panel 28th October 2015

You would think that asking the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Returning Officer Ged Fitzgerald (pictured above) for a copy of the candidates’ nomination papers would be a simple matter.

After all shouldn’t it be I ask, they are sent? It ran smooth enough with the nomination papers for candidates in the Claughton byelection and we can then publish them.

Instead this ends up being a tangled web of corporate governance involving Liverpool City Council, the Electoral Commission, the Cabinet Office and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Considering there is a general election on the way might it be an idea to have some clarity on these issues?

Liverpool City Council’s response is that I am not allowed to inspect based on Electoral Commission guidance which refers to a candidate’s right to inspect and object.

The Electoral Commission agrees with me that the Electoral Administration Act 2006 applies (but only if there is other secondary legislation that applies), specifically s.42, s.43 and s.44 but state that the legislation I am requesting a copy of the nomination papers under Sch.3, Pt 2, para 11 of the Local Elections (Principal Areas) (England and Wales) Rules 2006 doesn’t apply to elections of combined authority mayors because rule 2 in their view doesn’t cover combined authority mayoral elections.

I am then referred back to the Combined Authorities (Mayoral Elections) Order 2017.

The problem is the guidance that the Electoral Commission issued and their current guidance relies on the original version of the Elections (Principal Areas) (England and Wales) Rules 2006 from 2006.

Combined Authorities (Mayoral Elections) Order 2017, Schedule 4, paragraph 3 amended Rule 2 of the Local Elections (Principal Areas) (England and Wales) Rules 2006.

The Cabinet Office was approached for their response. The Cabinet Office Press Office emailed us and stated that the Cabinet Office cannot comment on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Mayoral Election because Parliament has been dissolved and we are in the pre-election period before a general election. I thank the Cabinet Office for taking the time to reply.

So of course when I wrote about this, (published at 9:52 on the 3rd May 2017) within 37 minutes of publishing Wirral Council contact me and refuse my press accreditation for the Claughton byelection, general election and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Mayoral election.

Then shortly after the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Returning Officer refused a similar request to attend the count too.

Local government officials are paid large amounts extra on their salary be paid to do a job. The overall amount paid for by the taxpayer for running this election (which is paid for by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority) is from memory £2.5 million (although this report agreed by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority states that’s £2 million for staff and £0.5 million on the candidates booklet sent to each household (although the candidates in it had to pay towards its costs too).

I admit the above is a minor point but if it symptomatic of what is going on then shouldn’t some of these fees either be claimed back or not paid at all?

At the Employment Tribunal of Alison Mountney we heard that Surjit Tour and Kate Robinson provided assurance (and were both paid extra) that the election was being run as it should. For this they were paid extra money (a four-figure sum extra each).

I’ve no idea who provides the assurance in a Combined Authority Mayoral election to the Combined Authority Returning Officer Ged Fitzgerald or the Local Returning Officer Eric Robinson.

All I will say is that pieces like this wouldn’t be possible to write if you’d approved our attendance at the count as we wouldn’t have the time to write them! So thank you!

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23 Wirral councillors to be elected after Tony Cox resigns; Graham Burgess fires starting gun in local election race

23 Wirral councillors to be elected after Tony Cox resigns; Graham Burgess fires starting gun in local election race

23 Wirral councillors to be elected after Tony Cox resigns; Graham Burgess fires starting gun in local election race

                                

On Monday Wirral Council’s Returning Officer started the election process by publishing the Notice of Election (a copy of it is below). Each ward in Wirral will be electing one councillor, except voters in Greasby, Franky & Irby ward who will be electing two councillors and therefore have two votes in the upcoming local elections.

The reason for this is that Tony Cox has resigned. As Tony Cox was less than two years through a four year term of office you may wonder why? The reason is that he’s been picked as the Conservative candidate for the General Election in Newcastle-under-Lyme and he felt that he couldn’t put his full energies into that without resigning as a councillor for Greasby, Frankby & Irby ward. The two Conservative candidates in Greasby, Frankby & Irby ward this year will be Councillor Wendy Clements and Tom Anderson. Tom Anderson was previously a councillor in Upton ward from 2008 to 2012 (with the lowest majority I remember in recent years of only four votes).

The full notice of election is below.

METROPOLITAN BOROUGH OF WIRRAL

ELECTION OF COUNCILLORS

NOTICE OF ELECTION

For the Wards listed below

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT:

1. Elections are to be held for COUNCILLORS of the under mentioned Wards.

2. The number of COUNCILLORS to be elected is as shown in the Table hereunder:

Name of ward No. of COUNCILLORS to be elected Name of ward No. of COUNCILLORS to be elected
BEBINGTON 1 LISCARD 1
BIDSTON & ST JAMES 1 MORETON WEST & SAUGHALL MASSIE 1
BIRKENHEAD & TRANMERE 1 NEW BRIGHTON 1
BROMBOROUGH 1 OXTON 1
CLATTERBRIDGE 1 PENSBY & THINGWALL 1
CLAUGHTON 1 PRENTON 1
EASTHAM 1 ROCK FERRY 1
GREASBY, FRANKBY & IRBY 2 SEACOMBE 1
HESWALL 1 UPTON 1
HOYLAKE & MEOLS 1 WALLASEY 1
LEASOWE & MORETON EAST 1 WEST KIRBY & THURSTATON 1

                    
3. Nomination papers must be delivered to the Electoral Services Office, Ground Floor, Town Hall, Wallasey, during normal office hours, from Tuesday, 15th April 2014 to Thursday, 17th April 2014 and during normal office hours, from Tuesday, 22nd April 2014 to 4pm on Thursday, 24th April 2014. Forms of nomination papers may also be obtained at that place, during those times.

4. If the Elections are contested, the poll will take place on Thursday, 22nd MAY 2014.

5. Applications to be included in the register of electors must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at the Town Hall, Wallasey by Tuesday, 6th May 2014, if they are to be effective for the election.

6. Applications, amendments or cancellations of postal votes and changes to proxy voting arrangements, must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at the Town Hall, Wallasey by 5pm on Wednesday, 7th May 2014, if they are to be effective for this election.

7. All new applications to vote by proxy (except those applied for on relevant emergency grounds) must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at the Town Hall, Wallasey by 5pm on Wednesday, 14th May 2014, if they are to be effective for the election.

8. All applications to vote by proxy on relevant emergency grounds (disability occurring after 5pm on Wednesday, 14th May 2014; grounds relating to applicant’s occupation, service or employment where the applicant became aware of those grounds after 5pm on Wednesday, 14th May 2014; or detention under civil powers as a mental health patient) must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at the Town Hall, Wallasey by 5pm on Thursday, 22nd May 2014, if they are to be effective for the election.

DATED: Monday, 14th April
2014

Graham Burgess

LOCAL RETURNING OFFICER

Printed and Published by the Local Returning Officer, Town Hall, Wallasey, Wirral, CH44 8ED

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