Guidance for Returning Officers administering Local Government Elections in England

Appointing polling station staff

You must appoint and pay a Presiding Officer and such Poll Clerks as may be necessary to staff each polling station.1 This cannot be any person who has been employed by or on behalf of a candidate in or about the election.2  

There are some responsibilities that cannot be undertaken by a Poll Clerk, such as decisions on whether an elector has produced an acceptable form of ID, or ordering someone to leave the polling station. You have flexibility to use the Poll Clerks you employ to carry out any other functions and responsibilities needed to deliver polling station voting effectively, including: 

  • the polling process – checking the register, checking photographic identification, marking the register, filling in the CNL and other statutory paperwork such as the Ballot Paper Refusal List (BPRL), etc.
  • facilitating checks of photographic identification in private, where requested
  • collection, acceptance, and rejection of postal votes handed in at the polling station (for elections on or after 2 May 2024)
  • managing the flow of electors and ensuring the secrecy of the ballot 
  • providing electors with additional information and support including: 
    • answering questions about the process
    • providing information about the instructions for voting and the requirement for photographic identification
    • explaining the types of photographic identification that can be used
    • providing advice and assistance to support the accessibility of the poll

When deciding on the allocation of electors and staff to polling stations, having regard to our guidance on the recommended minimum staffing levels for polling stations and on how staff could be deployed in different scenarios, will help ensure that voters can receive a high-quality service.

Last updated: 9 November 2023