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

Training postal vote issue and opening staff

You should make arrangements to train all postal vote issue and opening staff on the processes involved with each stage. This training may be provided immediately prior to commencement of the issuing and opening processes, but you should provide them with guidance notes in advance. 

However, you should consider training supervisory staff a day or two in advance of the issuing or opening session so that they are fully aware of their duties and what will be expected of them. This training should cover:

  • carrying out the required quality assurance checks, whether you are issuing postal votes in-house or are using an external contractor
  • ensuring that the opening procedures and the verification process are correctly followed and an audit trail is maintained

You should provide any person who will be undertaking the verification of postal vote identifiers, and has been delegated the authority by you to make decisions on postal voting statements, a copy of the Commission and Forensic Science Service guidance on signature checking, and instruct them to follow it. 

You should also consider whether any additional training may be appropriate for anyone undertaking this role. You should ensure staff are trained accordingly to ensure that any personal data is handled in accordance with data protection legislation.  

Last updated: 19 December 2023