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Preparing for 2020 Parliamentary Selections: Returning Officers

March 15, 2017 2:20 PM
By Arfan Bhatti in Liberal Democrat Voice

ballotbox1With snap election candidacy expiring at the end of May, the selections for 2020 are drawing ever closer.

Returning Officers [RO's] are the little known but crucial role to enable this. They're the link that makes open selections possible and the more we have now the faster we'll be able to get a full slate of candidates in place for 2020.

The good news is you can help enable a swift timetable of selections by training to be an RO as early as April via a two day training session run over Easter weekend. There's also a great introductory session happening this Saturday at Spring Conference (11.00am to 12.30pm) and you can also get a feel of the role by shadowing Returning Officers if you can't make any of those dates.

So, what exactly do RO's do? 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 can do so
  • resolve applicant conflicts (informally as an arbitrator or by making binding rulings)

To ensure their impartiality they can't run selections for their own local party, or have any particular interest in the area. However, encouraging a member of your local party to take the training will help to facilitate sharing resources with neighbouring areas and help us ensure we are able to run more selections earlier in the cycle.

Put simply, the more Returning Officers we have the faster we will be able to get a full slate of candidates in place for 2020, the faster we will be able to maintain campaign momentum and the faster we can select candidates ahead of the other parties.

If you'd like any more information on the role or the training weekend please contact: candidates@libdems.org.uk.

In the meantime, even if you don't have a candidate or a Returning Officer in place, there are a number of things your local party could be doing to ensure when the time arises you are ready to advertise: libdems.org.uk/preparing_for_selections.

* Arfan Bhatti is Head of Diversity, Candidates & Talent Support at Lib Dem HQ