Electoral Commission tenders for PA

The Electoral Commission is undertaking a root-and-branch audit of its public affairs function as it prepares to campaign for major changes to UK electoral law.

The commission has put out a tender to public affairs agencies that will lead to a pitch in March.

According to media and PR manager Tabitha Cunliffe, the successful agency’s brief will be to undertake a study to ‘examine the provision of public affairs services and delivery and then draft a recommended programme of action’. It will be expected to report its findings by the end of April.

Recommendations could include bolstering the commission’s in-house public affairs team as well hiring long-term external support.

‘We do anticipate that we will need further provision,’ Cunliffe added.

The commission has just completed a review of electoral law and practice. In its findings, the organisation argues for the electoral register to be compiled by individuals rather than households so as to enhance security.

It also recommends the introduction of a UK-wide electronic register, for polling hours to be standardised from 7am to 10pm for all elections, and for independent candidates to be allowed to carry a description other than ‘independent’ on ballot papers.

‘[Our proposals] would amount to an overhaul in electoral law the country has not seen since the 19th century,’ said Cunliffe, who reports to director of communications Ann Hinds.

The Electoral Commission was set up by parliament in 2000 with the aim of increasing confidence in the democratic process in the UK.

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