GLRO 20-09 Printed and multi-lingual materials for 2020 elections

Type of decision: 
GLRO decision
Date signed: 
11 October 2019
Decision by: 
Mary Harpley, Chief Officer of the GLA

Executive summary

This decision requests approval for expenditure to design, translate, print and deliver all statutory and non-statutory printed materials for the 32 London boroughs and the City of London to use in their polling stations and in appropriate public spaces (e.g. information centres, council offices, libraries etc) and for printed information materials at each of the count centres for the Mayor of London and London Assembly elections 2020.


That the Greater London Returning Officer (GLRO):

Approves expenditure of up to £150,000 to procure and appoint a print management organisation(s) to:

• design and print the statutory and non-statutory materials required by the London boroughs;
• implement a robust and effective ordering system by which the boroughs can state their requirements and to deliver these materials directly to them. This includes voter information and polling station materials;
• manage the accurate translation of multi-lingual materials to ensure complete accuracy and consistency across materials, including large print versions; and
• print and deliver information materials required for the elections count centres such as count day programmes and centre information stands (known as ‘toblerones’ due to their shape).

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The GLRO has a responsibility to support and provide all London boroughs with statutory and non-statutory voter information and polling station printed materials as requested by them to use in the Mayor of London and London Assembly elections.

On behalf of the GLRO, the GLA will procure a service provider for the design, translation, print and delivery of the printed materials to each of the 32 London boroughs and the City of London and City Hall as per their requirements. In order to ensure timely delivery of the materials, the service provider will also be responsible for the overall project management of these activities and for implementing an accurate ordering system to collect specific requirements.

Statutory materials include:

• Voter information materials:
- a voter information poster and leaflet, plus multi lingual versions of each; and
- large print voter information leaflet.

• Polling station materials:
- a multi-lingual polling station booklet;
- laminated ballot papers;
- large print ballot paper poster;
- list of assembly member candidates;
- polling station notices;
- polling booth notices;
- by-election notices; and
- totems.

Multi-lingual versions are available in the following languages:

• Arabic;
• Bengali;
• Bulgarian;
• Chinese – Mandarin;
• Chinese – Cantonese;
• French;
• Gujarati;
• Italian;
• Lithuanian;
• Persian/Farsi;
• Polish;
• Portuguese;
• Punjabi;
• Romanian;
• Somali;
• Spanish;
• Tamil;
• Turkish; and
• Urdu.

The GLRO also fulfils requirements for the count centres. Printed and other materials include:

• programme and leaflet for each count centre;
• programme for City Hall;
• information stands (known as ‘toblerones’ due to their shape); and
• voter information poster.

Materials will be available as hard copies (printed versions that will be ordered from the supplier and delivered directly to the boroughs and City Hall) and as soft copies (PDF files) for use on the London Elects website and available on request to boroughs.

The print management organisation(s) will project manage the process with oversight from the London Elects project team at the GLA, ensuring robust communication systems are in place from start to finish including detailed project reporting as required.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The objectives of this work are as follows:

• to support London boroughs and provide them with statutory and non-statutory printed materials, including multi-lingual materials, they require for the polling stations and to inform voters;
• deliver the quantities and/or files of the individual materials requested as per the requirements of 32 London boroughs and City of London; and
• print and deliver to City Hall materials required for the elections count centres to ensure the count centre operations run seamlessly.

Equality comments

Under s149 of the Equality Act 2010 (the Equality Act), a public authority must have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and any conduct that is prohibited by or under the Equality Act; and to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not. A person who is not a public authority, but who exercises public functions, such as the GLRO, must, in the exercise of those functions, have due regard to those matters.

Large print and translated versions of specific materials will be available to order as required by individual boroughs.

All materials designed and printed will adhere to the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s (RNIB’s) See It Right legibility standards.

All digital formats will be in line with the GLA’s Digital Accessibility Policy.

Other considerations

Key risks and issues

Boroughs have a statutory duty to provide certain materials to their electorate. Adherence to strict timelines is compulsory and failure to do so would be a breach of legislation.

Impact assessments and consultations

Soft market testing has been carried out with the GLA’s incumbent print management company to help determine increases in prices and inform budget calculations for 2020. Costs have been estimated based on the cost of paper and postage both rising by 30%. This is accommodated within this £150,000 request.

In 2016, the design and project management of the ordering processes were managed in house by the GLA. Evaluation of the 2016 process including feedback from the Local Authorities showed that this combined approach introduced unnecessary complications and potential confusion, particularly relating to the split division of responsibilities, time consuming ordering system and communication channels. To reflect consideration of this feedback and support a streamlined approach in 2020, a single supplier is being sourced with responsibility for overall project management including direct communication with Local Authorities using a digital platform and end to end delivery of this service.

Financial comments

This decision seeks approval to procure a print management service up to the value of £150,000. The cost will be contained within the 2020 Elections budget.

Activity table



Procurement of contract

October 2019 – December 2019

Delivery Start Date

February 2020

Final evaluation start and finish (self/external)

May – July 2020

Delivery End Date

May 2020

Project Closure

July 2020

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