Monday, 25 October 2010

Council Efficiency

I attended a recent count for a byelection and as we were leaving the town hall the clock struck 11pm. It had taken an hour to finish the count as polling stations had closed at 10pm. I suppose that isn't bad for a count. You see them racing in with the ballot boxes at the general election to try to announce the first MP.

Well nobody was racing into the town hall this evening and what intially sounds like an efficient count did not turn out to be so. There were eleven council workers. Let's say ten to make the maths easier and there was around 600 votes to count. This means that each official had to count 60 votes in 60 minutes. I'll let you do the maths. I think I could do my share in about a minute.

Alright, they did have to bring the ballot boxes to the town hall (ten minutes) and verify them before counting, but I'd like to think that improvements could be made in the running of this aspect of council work.

Change the world


  1. I'm not sure there is a huge amount to be gained here. The votes have to be counted twice, once for a verification which needs checking against the papers issued and possibly doing again if it doesn't tally.

    Then giving figures to the agents, confirming them etc.

    Plus a bit of time post announcement speaking to press etc I guess?

    Were there 10 people counting (which sounds like massive overkill. In my day of Lancaster by-elections (a long while back, when we used to win them!) there were 2/3 counting plus the other staff to supervise. Not sure that 10 are needed but you will have had 2 people in I guess 3 (maybe 4) polling stations for 15 hours for voting

    More interestingly why was there no Labour candidate. Harbour ward has returned Labour councillors in the past

    Hywel (Lancaster/Morecambe local party 1988-94)

  2. You may be right Hywel but I am always disappointed by the time it takes to complete a count in this wilderness. There was no explanation in the newspaper about the lack of a Labour candidate but these things happen. This just adds fuel to my list of reasons for thinking the local paper supports the Labour Party. They did get a nice photo and advert before nominations closed.