Performance standards for Returning Officers


We set standards and monitor the performance of Returning Officers (ROs) through our performance standards framework.

Performance standards for ROs

Together with our guidance and resources, the performance standards form an important part of our package of support for ROs in planning for and delivering elections across Great Britain.

Performance standards for ROs

About the standards

The standards are focussed on the outcomes that should be delivered, rather than the processes that are followed, with the objective of helping ROs and their teams to understand and demonstrate the impact of their election activities. 

This should help ROs to make informed decisions on what activities are undertaken, how these activities are carried out and how their limited resources can be deployed efficiently and effectively.

What do the standards comprise of?

An outcome:

This states the broad goal that ROs should be seeking to achieve.

What inputs are needed?

This sets out the resources that will need to be put into the service to enable the necessary activities to be delivered.

What activities are being undertaken?

This does not provide an exhaustive list of activities, but instead summarises the headline activities that ROs are likely to need to undertake to be able to meet the outcome. Our guidance and resources for ROs will support them in determining the specific activities that will need to be carried out.

What information is needed to understand the impact of the activities?

This highlights the data and qualitative information which will help to demonstrate the impact of the activities and which should form the basis of how ROs and the Commission can determine the success of their work. Again this is not an exhaustive list and the information listed may be supplemented by additional data or information that is relevant to their performance.

What difference is being made?

This summarises the combined effects that the activities should have and which, taken together, would contribute to the delivery of the overall outcome.

How can we determine the success of the work?

This sets out measures that will help to demonstrate what difference the work is making. In some cases the difference will not be straightforward to quantify or otherwise measure, and so an aggregation of several measures may be relied upon to demonstrate what the work is achieving.

Using the standards in 2023

Over the next year we will use the performance standards to support ROs to focus, in particular, on the effective and consistent implementation of the changes introduced under the Elections Act.