GLRO 20-12 Provision of on-line training for polling station staff

Type of decision: 
GLRO decision
GLRO 20-12
Date signed: 
21 November 2019
Decision by: 
Mary Harpley, Chief Officer of the GLA

Executive summary

The Greater London Returning Officer (GLRO) is asked to approve the provision of on-line training for polling station staff for the 2020 Mayor of London and London Assembly elections, at an estimated cost of up to £99,000.


That the GLRO approves:

1. The commissioning of the on-line training package provided by the IDOX group for all London borough polling station staff working on the Mayor of London and London Assembly election on 7 May 2020;

2. The initial cost to the GLA of £6,000 to design, launch and host the training; and

3. Boroughs being charged £8.50 per head for accessing the training at an estimated cost of £93,000 in total based on up to 11, 000 learners. Each borough will reclaim this cost of the on-line training via the ‘maximum recoverable amount ‘ (MRA) process post-election.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The GLA will play a leading role in ensuring that all polling station staff across the 32 London Boroughs and the City of London are trained to a high standard and that staff take a consistent approach to key messages on the voting systems and the roles and responsibilities of the polling station team. In 2012 and 2016, the approach adopted was to develop training materials centrally which were then distributed to London boroughs to tailor and cascade face to face.

For 2020, the agreed approach is to centrally develop an e-learning solution for polling station staff to access and complete. This approach will facilitate consistency in learning content, learning approach and in the delivery of key messages. It will also allow greater reporting accuracy in quantifying who and how many people have completed the training across individual boroughs.

The training audience will vary between boroughs but will be in the region of 400-500 staff per borough. Around 11,000 polling station staff are expected to take part in the on-line training.

Boroughs will be free to create and complete any additional training they feel is appropriate.

Boroughs can recover all training costs for the Mayor of London and London Assembly elections from the GLA as part of their ‘maximum recoverable amount’ (MRA) return.

Following standard procurement processes in accordance with the GLA Contracts and Funding Code, electoral management suppliers IDOX were chosen as the preferred supplier for the on-line training system.

Objectives and expected outcomes

To provide an on-line training system for all borough polling station staff that will ensure a consistent high level of training.

To allow for the face to face experience for the elector to be the same regardless of where they are voting in London.

To ensure that the key message to voters on the voting systems, the number of ballot papers and the number of votes each elector has is clearly communicated.

Equality comments

There are no specific impacts to the equality of those with protected characteristics aa per the public sector equality duty.

Other considerations

Key risks and issues

This will be the first time a small number of London Boroughs have undertaken on-line training. The GLA will therefore monitor the usage of the on-line training by each London Borough, ensure the on-line training system is compatible with each local authority’s IT provision and to ensure compliance with expected outcomes.

With the general election being held in December this has truncated the involvement of the boroughs in assisting with the content of the on-line training package until the new year. While this will not delay the release of the on-line training module; it will put pressure on available development time.

There needs to early agreement of the images to be used and any video content will require considerable development time, currently expected to be six weeks.

All training materials need to be compatible with Electoral Commission guidance, especially the Electoral Commission polling station handbook.

Financial comments

The cost is estimated at up to £99,000, and can be met from the elections 2019-20 (£6,000) and 2020-21 (£93,000) budget.

Activity table



Procurement of contract

October 2019

Delivery Start Date

November 2019

Delivery End Date

March 2020

Project Closure

June 2020

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