Decision details

Decision Maker: Head of Democratic Services and Elections

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


To enable the use of tablet technology within Polling Stations to be deployed and for the relative advantage to compliance with franchise requirements and ballot paper accounting to be observed in practice and to inform the Local Returning Officer to determine whether this technology should be deployed at future elections.

The risk to the Council is that it will procure the items for the Local Returning Officer and for this cost not to be reimbursed. This risk is entirely mitigated by the fact that the decision maker has the authority of the Local Returning Officer to draw the funds identified upon production of the invoice from Democracy Counts.

The primary risk to the Local Returning Officer is that the tablet technology does not function in respect of confirming individuals eligible to vote in the election at individual Polling Stations, identify the Ballot Paper Numbers to issue and produce the Marked Registers and Corresponding Number Lists. Through the use of the technology at the Bluehouse Ward By-election on 11 January 2024, the correct operation of the software and hardware was checked in a real life scenario across three Polling Station. This confirmed that there was a low risk of failure. The connectivity test across all 77 Polling Station locations at this election (to be procured through this decision) is to further mitigate this risk.


(1) To acquire from Democracy Counts Limited (the supplier of the Council’s Electoral Management System) the following in respect of the delivery of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner election at a total cost of £23,910:
• Project Set Up and Management
• 82 tablet devices (5 of which will be contingency devices) for use in Polling Stations through which staff will confirm individuals eligible to vote in the election at that Polling Station, identify the Ballot Paper Number to issue and produce the Marked Register and Corresponding Number List.
• Provide training to all Polling Station staff on the use of the device and the software provided for the election.
• 8 tablet devices for use by Polling Station Inspectors.
• Dedicated on-site support on Polling Day
• Connectivity Survey from within all Polling Stations.
(2) To arrange for the full re-imbursement of the costs associated with (1) above (initially met by the Council), by the Local Returning Officer at the same election.

Alternative options considered:

These were evaluated as part of the consideration of the following decision:

Decision - Exemption from Procurement Rules - provide and trial the use of mobile tablet technology across Polling Stations within the District for the upcoming Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Elections on 2 May 2024

Publication date: 26/03/2024

Date of decision: 26/03/2024