Could You Be an Assistant Returning Officer?

Members wanting to be selected as PPCs must undergo the Candidate Selection Process.   This is run by a Returning Officer, appointed by the Chair of the Regional Candidates’ Committee. Returning Officers are volunteers, who may claim travel and other expenses. An online training course, followed by shadowing a full selection with an experienced Returning Officer, is required.   The selection process involves:

  1. Forming and training the shortlisting committee
  2. Agreeing the advertisement and paperwork for the candidates’ pack
  3. Receiving applications and working with the shortlisting committee to shortlist applicants
  4. Overseeing the mailing to members and the campaign
  5. Running the hustings meeting, counting the votes and announcing the winning candidate

Returning Officers are guided and supported by the Chair of the Regional Candidates’ Committee.

Returning Officers are vital to the process! They:

  • Ensure fair and equal treatment for all applicants
  • Ensure that the selection rules are followed by all participants and their supporters
  • Ensure that all members who are eligible to vote are able to do so
  • Resolve conflicts between applicants (informally as an arbitrator or by making rulings that are binding)

The Returning Officer is NOT a police officer.

What are the ideal qualities of a Returning Officer?

  • Integrity
  • Impartiality
  • Assertiveness
  • Good judgement
  • Calmness under pressure
  • Good communication skills (both oral and written)
  • Good organizational ability
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Attention to detail

We are looking for volunteers to train as Assistant Returning Officers;  they will assist Returning Officers in selections and may later wish to undertake further training in order to become full Returning Officers.

ARO Training will be delivered online and will take only half a day.

Westminster selections will not resume until January 2021, and the majority will be straightforward and held according to the shortened selection rules.   New AROs may initially be mentored by a more experienced ARO or an RO.

If you think you might be interested in tackling this important role, please e-mail Penny Robinson, Chair of the Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Candidates’ Committee, at [email protected]