Is the end in sight for Returning Officer bonuses?

I’ve written often enough before about the problems with the “bonus” payments that Returning Officers receive for doing their job at election time. One problem is that they receive the bonuses in full even if they have messed up dreadfully, though that is now changing. The other is that the grounds for having the bonuses in the first place are pretty thin:

The role of being Returning Officer goes with having a job – typically council chief executive –  that is usually well paid to begin with (often six figure salaries) and where anyone taking on the job knows that it will involve them being Returning Officer…

The idea that there is a special extra payment for running an election stretches back to a time when contested elections were far less frequent (fewer elected bodies and uncontested seats more common). When having to run an election was an unusual requirement, an extra payment made sense. Now that regularly running elections is the norm it looks a rather unsatisfactory arrangement.

It is therefore good news from Wales where:

Council chief executives would only be paid as returning officers for work they do outside their normal office hours under proposals from the Welsh government.

A white paper suggests ending so-called double funding for elections staff.

It would mean council officials cannot be paid for working as electoral officers while also being paid by their authorities.

The plans are contained in a consultation on a Local Democracy Bill.

* Mark Pack has written 101 Ways To Win An Election and produces a monthly newsletter about the Liberal Democrats.

Read more by .
This entry was posted in Election law, News and Wales.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/28613 for Twitter and emails.

4 Comments

  • Presumably the payment is therefore a statutory one and not one that a local authority can change or withhold?

  • John Carlisle 22nd May '12 - 9:08am

    Why not just come out and say it: “BONUSES ARE BAD!” – anywhere, anytime any organisation. You get paid to do the job. Full Stop.
    That should be the LibDem mantra

  • This article demonstrates the interesting effect of using a perjorative term such as ‘bonus’. The point at issue here is not a bonus, but an extra payment for doing an extra task. The task does not appear to be an onerous task, and the payment should be comensurate with the required work. In line with some of the previous comments, I think the extra payment should be no more than the council official’s normal overtime rate (zero for management grades?).

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?




Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMark Valladares 2nd Aug - 9:08am
    Steve, I refer you to James's comment of 8.39 a.m...
  • User Avatarjedibeeftrix 2nd Aug - 9:01am
    "the aim should be to build a fairer britain" please forgive me for writing that. my teeth grate every time i hear a lib-dem use...
  • User Avatarstuart moran 2nd Aug - 8:59am
    Brian D I think this is a good point. The main complaint you here about strikes or the long holidays is more around 'who will...
  • User Avatarjedibeeftrix 2nd Aug - 8:53am
    hmmm, to reformulate a comment from another thread: this whole thread is the logical consequence of the lib-dem fascination with dividing society in a myriad...
  • User AvatarBrianD 2nd Aug - 8:47am
    Nick Clegg has inadvertently highlighted the key factor in opposing teachers' strikes. It is their role as child minders in a working parents economy not...
  • User AvatarJames Brough 2nd Aug - 8:39am
    Richard - two quotes from posts of yours. "There is absolutely no evidence in this thread that I am prejudiced against women or that my...