Annual Conference 2021 – Online


This is our 34th annual conference and, having been to Torquay, Scarborough, Leicester, Llandudno, Plymouth, Blackpool, Portsmouth, Harrogate and Brighton, we are now going into cyberspace!

Conference will run from 9.15 on Monday 8 February to 16.30 on Tuesday 9 February, and you can now view and/or download both of the documents below:

2021 is arguably going to see the most complex set of polls ever held across Great Britain. Issues relating to combined polls, requirements for public safety, anticipated staff shortages, the potential demand for absent votes are all making 6 May a difficult project to manage.

2020 saw a reformed canvass that removed some resource burden on EROs and used data to streamline processes for electors. However, delivering the canvass in a pandemic landscape meant that plans were often adjusted and analysis of the effectiveness more difficult to judge.

The AEA Annual Conference 2021 will provide delegates with both an opportunity to look back and to look forward. It will consider the canvass and help members to plan for changes they may want ahead of the second reformed canvass. It will look in detail at the issues for the 2021 polls and assist those attending to understand the new requirements placed upon them. It will also look to the future at the UK Government’s plans for change ahead of the next UK Parliamentary general election.

As well as a range of plenary sessions, there will be four workshops that provide delegates with an opportunity to explore key areas in more detail.

The workshops planned for 2021 are:

 (All workshops are 90 minutes)

Workshop One – ERO performance standards

The Electoral Commission has launched a revised performance standards framework for EROs. This workshop will look at what the revised standards require; how you can ensure compliance; how you can embed the standards within your own teams; the plans, strategies and records you need to have in place; how you can monitor and evaluate progress against your plans and strategies. It will dissuade you of any perception that the performance standards are a tick-box exercise, and will instead highlight their importance in providing a framework for all your electoral registration activity.

Workshop Two – Running Combined Polls

This workshop will look at the challenges that often arise when polls are combined, including: which polls must/may/cannot be combined; what processes must be combined, and what you have a choice over (poll cards, notices, the issue of postal votes, polling station stationery, number of ballot boxes, etc …); the implications for the nominations process; the impact on the verification and the count (e.g. does verification need to be completed for all polls before counting can begin?); and the apportionment of election costs. It will provide good practice and tips to help deliver successful combined polls.

Workshop Three – Adapting Your Communication Style For Your Audience

We meet and interact with many specialist groups of electors whilst doing our job; this might include teenagers, someone who is homeless, a gypsy/traveller or someone with a learning disability. This can make communication difficult with key messages that you want to pass on being lost. This workshop will help you to look beyond the persons group and instead focus on and identify the persons personality and communication style so that you can build your response around it.

By the end of the workshop you will:

  • Be able to understand and adapt your personality to suit your audience
  • Be able to identify someone’s communication style and adjust yours accordingly
  • Be able to understand the power of matching and mirroring

Workshop Four – Postal Vote Opening

This workshop will address the complexities around absent voting, including: the receipt and opening of postal votes; cancellation and retrieval of returned postal votes; integrity issues; maintaining the absent vote record and lists; postal vote identifier rejection notices; storage; form K; and the crucial importance of maintaining audit trails. It will provide good practice and tips to help deliver absent voting from both an ERO and RO perspective.

Click anywhere on the front cover of the flyer shown below to view/download a PDF copy; this also contains delegate booking details and pricing