Annual Conference 2019

“Rising to the Challenge”

Dates: Sunday 3rd February to Wednesday 6th February 2019

Conference was first held in Brighton in 2003 when we were based in a handful of hotels and the Conference Centre. We have been at the Hilton Metropole every other year since, so it’s a very familiar and nostalgic location for many of us. Keep an eye on this page for up to date information.

     Conference flyer     Delegate Booking Form   Partner Booking Form       Hotel Website

Think about what you have achieved in the last few years: the delivery of major national polls (two UK Parliamentary elections, the EU referendum) and the implementation of unprecedented changes in electoral law (the completion of the transition to individual electoral registration, constant refinement of the registration and election rules).  You will also have been dealing with your own local elections, the increase in BID ballots, NPRs, CGRs, boundary reviews, and the impact of changes to data protection legislation.  Electoral Services teams continue to rise to these challenges and deliver.

Looking ahead, the spectre of an unscheduled UK Parliamentary election remains and there continues to be calls for a second EU referendum.  Further changes to electoral law are expected around the annual canvass processes, overseas voter registration, the registration of EU citizens, and there may be additional demands resulting from devolution agendas and voter ID.  There is no doubt that we are all working in uncertain and challenging times.

Conference 2019 will focus on Rising to the Challenge and will support you in preparing for the future.  Plenary Sessions will include reform of the canvass, and voter ID – looking back at the pilots and what the future holds.  There will be interactive plenary sessions on what to do when there is no legislation to guide your actions, and on access to the register. There will also be the opportunity to speak with colleagues from the Cabinet Office and the Electoral Commission.

Based on your feedback, we have pulled together a diverse and interactive series of workshops.  You will be able to attend all four workshops, and further information on the content is below.

We’ve also listened to comments from AEA branches about encouraging attendance at conference from those of you who have not been before, and also to recognise the efforts of those taking AEA qualifications.  Whilst the standard delegate fee is unchanged from last year, we will therefore be offering a special 25% discount on the delegate fee to any member who is

  • attending conference for the first time,
  • is currently enrolled on our foundation (all five modules), certificate or diploma courses, or
  • has completed the Certificate/Diploma in 2018 and will be receiving their award at Conference.

Full details are included on the booking form.

Those receiving the 25% discount will also be invited to attend a special reception where they can meet each other and AEA staff. We should make it clear that the discount only applies to the cost of the three-night conference and not to those who are only attending the annual dinner or social night supper, or the additional cost of accommodation on the Saturday or Wednesday night.


Workshop One – Dealing with Challenging Conversations

Using examples you may encounter in your day-to-day work, this workshop will identify the skills and techniques for dealing effectively with challenging conversations.  It will look at how you can take control of the conversation; discuss options for dealing with conflict; and, how you can develop your personal resilience when dealing with challenging conversations.

Workshop Two – Polling District and Polling Place Reviews

The next compulsory review must be started and completed between 1 October 2018 and 31 January 2020.  This workshop will outline the stages of the review, looking at the process for reconsidering polling districts and their importance as the building blocks of electoral areas.  It will look at how to involve stakeholders; how to administer the review; communication and timing issues (including the implications of the Parliamentary boundary review); and, what can go wrong and how this can be avoided.

Workshop Three – Staff Recruitment and Payments

This workshop will outline staff recruitment ideas for electoral processes (i.e. polling station staff, canvassers…) including good practice and overcoming challenges.  It will also look at the requirements relating to right to work and the information that you should hold for each employee.  It will also consider issues such as Real Time Information (RTI), auto pension enrolment, working time regulations, performance related pay and the implications of the national minimum wage.

Workshop Four – Business Improvement Districts (BIDs)

This workshop will give you a practical understanding of the rules, pitfalls and reoccurring issues around BIDs that you need to be aware of.  It will consider the complexities around the timetable, the ballot paper requirements and how the result is determined.  This workshop will be 60 minutes to allow for an additional 30 minutes for you to network and visit the exhibition.

Social Night Flyer


The plan below shows who and where the exhibitors will be. Click anywhere on it to view it in a new tab after which you can zoom in.

Information for Suppliers

You can use the form below to book spaces in the exhibition area. If you experience any problems with this online form, you can download an Excel version here and complete it manually.

Conference Exhibition Space Booking Form

  • AEA Conference, Brighton: 3rd February - 6th February 2019

    Please check the appropriate button. Single spaces are 3m x 2m; double spaces are 6m x 2m.

    Please note that the cost includes a double power socket plus table and chairs for two exhibitors and VAT is not payable.

  • Choices of site

    Please enter in the boxes below the number of each of your five preferred choices of location, after referring to the plan displayed on this page.

  • £ 0.00

  • Sponsorship opportunities are available for this event; if you are interested, please contact Bill Crawford, AEA Executive Director (Commercial), at, mobile 07809 556354