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

Planning your approach to maintaining the integrity of the election

You should have in place plans and processes to maintain the integrity of the election. 

Your plans should be developed in consultation with the police single point of contact (SPOC). The plans should include:

  • how you will work with the local police and the SPOC, outlining the division of responsibilities so that there is clarity about each other’s roles, clear lines of communication and agreement how regularly you would expect to be in contact 
  • how you will communicate your approach to maintaining electoral integrity with stakeholders and electors, in order to support public confidence in the election
  • mechanisms for monitoring indicators of possible electoral fraud and thresholds for action in response
  • specific steps to deal with any potential electoral fraud such as:
  • an agreed approach for referring allegations of fraud for further investigation where appropriate
  • establishing a process for handling evidence, so that the police can carry out any forensic analysis
  • any specific risks you have identified in addition to any general fraud detection plans

Specific risks might include the risks associated with houses of multiple occupation such as student halls of residence or care homes where other people may have access to personal mail or where care givers may assist residents in care homes with completing postal vote applications or postal votes.

Making plans to ensure the security of papers

Your project plan should include a review of security arrangements with the local police to ensure the security of ballot papers throughout the process.

Your security arrangements should prevent unauthorised access to or use of the ballot papers during all stages of the production process and storage between printing and the poll.

Whichever method of storage you choose, it should be such that you can be satisfied that you have taken all necessary steps to ensure that ballot boxes and other items are kept securely at all times and cannot be interfered with.

Last updated: 19 December 2023