2017 General Election investigation: Terms of Reference

General Election 2017:  administration issues

14 June 2017

Terms of Reference

To investigate how a significant number of people who had requested postal votes for the June 2017 General Election failed to receive their packs in good time, and the Council’s response to this.

Also to consider:

  • The issue of polling cards being dispatched to electors who were subsequently removed from the register.
  • The circumstances in which the Declaration for the constituency of Sutton and Devonport did not include the ‘mini count’ totals for all eight wards.
  • The events that led to some postal voters receiving a station poll card as well as their postal poll card

Specifically to consider:

  • The processes and controls around election planning
  • The factors that led to postal voting packs not being received
  • The sequence of events and consequences at each stage
  • An assessment of the overall numbers of voters affected
  • The approach, effectiveness and timeliness of remedial action taken to rectify the issue, once the Council became aware of the scale of the problem
  • The advice and guidance provided by the Electoral Commission regarding the Council’s responsibilities, and their adopted method of resolving the issue
  • The staffing and operation of the election call centre leading up to the day of the election, and on polling day itself
  • The effectiveness of communications, and the way in which customer enquiries were dealt with
  • Evidence of customer interactions including the outcomes and levels of satisfaction  
  • The general effectiveness of the elections and electoral registration function, including the capacity and capability of the team
  • The robustness of systems and processes, with a particular focus on applications for, and distribution of postal votes
  • Any other matters that might have influenced the elections process or response to the issues encountered


The investigation will commence 19th June 2017, with a view to the final report, including recommendations for improvement, being received before the end of July 2017.