Guidance for (Acting) Returning Officers administering a UK Parliamentary election in Great Britain

Training and briefing verification and count staff

You should ensure that staff receive appropriate training and instructions to allow them to carry out their duties effectively and in accordance with the law. Training should include what staff should look for when examining ballot papers to determine which should be included in the count.

You should brief all verification and count staff so that they are fully aware of their duties and what will be expected of them. All briefings should, as a minimum, cover the procedures relevant to the roles.

The processes involved at the verification and count can be complicated and you may find that the best way of training senior staff is to prepare a small scale ‘mock’ verification and count with a few hundred ballot papers. This will give staff the opportunity to physically work through the processes involved, completing the necessary paperwork and adjudicating on the sample ballot papers. This requires some resource to achieve but it can be a valuable tool in ensuring the verification and count runs smoothly and is timely on the night.

Prior to the start of the verification and count proceedings, you should undertake a walk-through of the procedures you are expecting everyone to follow so that everyone is aware of what is expected of them at each stage, and how the different roles relate to each other.

Further information is available in our guidance on the principles of an effective verification and count.

Last updated: 19 December 2023