AEA Trainers

The AEA has a pool of trainers who between them are experienced in all aspects of electoral administration. This page gives you information on all our Open Programme trainers as well as photographs.  To contact any of our trainers please email putting the trainer’s name in the subject field.

Photo of AEA trainer Andrew SmithAndrew Smith AEA (Cert.)

Andrew has been an electoral administrator for 20 years and worked across several London boroughs during that time. Having been lucky enough to be an AEA trainer since 2013, he really enjoys travelling around the country meeting fellow administrators and never leaves a training session without having picked up a few ideas himself to take back to the office.

Angela Holden AEA (Dip.)

Photo of AEA trainer Angela Holden

Angela has been employed by the AEA as its Policy Manager since December 2014.

She has been an accredited trainer for several years covering numerous electoral topics, although more recently she has mainly focused on polling station training and verification and count training.

Angela started her career in local government in 1984 when she joined Ribble Valley Borough Council as a Youth Training Scheme Trainee. The majority of Angela’s career in local government has included responsibility for managing democratic and electoral services. In 1996 she moved to South Bucks District Council, becoming the Electoral Services Manager there in 1997. Angela continued to be responsible for electoral services over a period of 16 years whilst working for Runnymede in Surrey, Medway in Kent and the London Boroughs of Hounslow and Richmond.

In June 2013, she joined the Cabinet Office as an IER Regional Delivery Manager, predominantly for the London region whilst also covering the East of England for a while.

Angela holds the Association of Electoral Administrators Diploma, is a qualified Chartered Secretary, has an MBA and is a qualified Prince2 Practitioner.

Clare Oakley AEA (Cert.)

Photo of AEA trainer Clare Oakley

Clare is currently the electoral services manager for the London Borough of Camden and has been there for 7 years.

She began her Electoral Services career back in 1995 working for London Borough of Richmond upon Thames as a Poll Clerk, and then worked her way up to deputy manager before becoming manager at the London Borough of Bexley.

Clare originally worked as a retail manager for 18 years before having time off to have a family before changing careers into electoral services.

When not working she is a keen rugby fan and season ticket holder at Harlequins RFC, enjoys rock concerts and socialising with friends.

Clare Sim AEA (Dip.)

Clare joined the electoral world when she left university in 2008, at Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council. In that time, she has graduated from Electoral Services Trainee to Officer to Senior Officer to Manager before being appointed as the AEA Member Support and Advice Manager in May 2020.

Her progression through arguably the hardest decade for the profession puts her in a great position to understand the challenges members face at all levels.

She was a regional lead for IER and a Canvass Reform Champion. She also served as Wales branch secretary for four years as well as regional chair for the South Wales West region.

Clare holds the Association of Electoral Administrators Diploma.

Clive Joynes AEA (Dip.)

Clive is the elections and local land charges manager for the Isle of Wight Council, a position he has held since 2005.

Prior to working in local government, he was employed as a manager in the news distribution and retail industries.

Clive was a member of the Cabinet Office IER Business Change Project ERO Expert Panel from its inception in late 2010.

He holds the AEA Diploma in Electoral Administration, a Foundation Degree (Arts) in Local Government studies, and is the former Chairman of both the “Hampshire and Isle of Wight Electoral Administrators Conference”, and AEA Southern Branch.

Clive is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and loves nothing better than a good boundary review!

Deborah Frost

Debby has worked in Elections since 1975 as part of a large team in a Metropolitan Authority.  She became Electoral Services Manager in a small District Authority in 1983.  Debby joined the AEA at the first opportunity in 1987 and found the support invaluable for someone working alone for a smaller authority.  To give something back Debby decided to become an accredited AEA Trainer and has now been actively training for the last 20 years.

In 1996 Debby returned to Newcastle as Electoral Services Manager where her authority always recognised the positive side of her continuing training with the AEA throughout her employment with them until her voluntary redundancy in 2010.

Since then Debby has worked for three years as a Cabinet Office County Lead for IER for two counties and has remained a very active trainer in both the Elections and Registration fields, delivering AEA one day and residential courses as well branch training and several Conference workshops.

In recent years Debby has also thoroughly enjoyed the freedom to be able to travel the UK getting back to grass roots delivering polling station staff training to 1000’s of our front line Presiding Officers and Poll Clerks in a variety of Authorities.  This has really opened her eyes to the different challenges we face and overcome every time an election is called.

Emily Yule AEA (Cert.)

Emily has been managing electoral services since 2008 and has experience of all types of elections and referendums – even including a parish poll! She is currently managing a shared elections team at Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils, which presents a range of challenges in terms of scale  – geographically and due to the 200 town and parish councils within the two districts.

Emily has been an AEA trainer since 2013 and was directly involved in the delivery of IER training during 2014 and 2015. She is actively involved in the Eastern Branch of the AEA, currently as Professional Standards Representative.

Frances Cleland AEA (Cert.)

Frances began working in local government at Hampshire County Council when she left university in 2003. From there, she moved to Winchester City Council.  After a period of time as an administrator in the leisure team and then in a Committee Officer role, she started in elections in 2008 when she was appointed as the Electoral Services Manager. She worked in that position for 5 years before moving to her current role at Test Valley Borough Council in 2013.

She held AEA Branch Officer roles for 11 years, firstly as Secretary and, until recently, as Chair.  This gave her the opportunity to represent the Southern Branch on AEA Board.  She has been a past Chair of the local County Administrators Group and is currently a member of the AEA’s Qualifications Board.   She was appointed as an AEA trainer in 2013 and has delivered a variety of different training courses in registration and electoral administration, as well as a host of Conference Workshops and the AEA’s four day Electoral Administration residential course.

Frances recognises that the next few years are going to be just as tough for our profession as the last few have been, and is keen to ensure that members have elected representatives that will champion them and the work they do.

In what little spare time is left, she can be found shivering on the sidelines at her son’s football matches, baking up a storm in the kitchen or despairing over the latest performance of the family’s chosen NBA team, the Chicago Bulls.

George Cooper AEA (Cert.)

George has been Head of Electoral Services at the London Borough of Haringey for ten years and has been involved in elections alongside other posts since first joining local government in Stoke in 1989.  He has been an AEA Branch Officer in both London and the West Midlands, is  a member of the AEA Board and chaired the London Branch for three years.  He undertook a part-secondment to the Electoral Commission in 2012 but one of his main career challenges was as AEA National Chairman in 2013 “on the eve” of IER.

His particular involvement in training was sparked in the run-up to the first PCC Elections with more extensive imposition of Supplementary Voting beyond London and the Mayoralties in place at that time.

Gina Jones AEA (Cert.)

Gina is currently the electoral services Manager for Stoke-on-Trent City Council. Gina began her local government career in 2000 at Vale Royal Borough Council working in general admin and helping out with elections on an occasional basis. In 2004 she joined the Electoral Services team. Her role developed to a Democracy and Elections Officer at Cheshire West and Chester Council when it became a unitary authority in 2009. Gina is an accredited AEA trainer and has delivered numerous courses for the AEA as well as workshops at AEA conference. Gina is currently the Deputy Chair for the West Midlands branch. In her spare time Gina enjoys the gym, walking up big hills and preparing for Christmas.

James Pack AEA (Cert.)

James has been working in electoral administration for over 15 years. After working at the London Borough of Richmond, James moved to the Electoral Commission where he was the Senior Advisor Electoral Guidance for seven years providing guidance on electoral registration, including the introduction of IER, and all types of elections. He then moved back to electoral administration working at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets before moving to the Royal Borough of Greenwich where he is the Head of Electoral Services.

James has been an AEA trainer since 2015 and holds the Certificate in electoral administration.

John Owen AEA (Dip.)

John has been involved with the AEA since its inception in 1987 and has always been active in the training area. He was the editor of the well-received guidance manual on the introduction of rolling registration and postal voting on demand in 2001 and since then has designed or delivered most of the AEA’s courses and spoken at many national conferences and seminars.  John has over 40 years’ electoral experience at five dissimilar authorities, including the largest – Birmingham City Council.  After taking early retirement, he was appointed as the AEA’s first Training Manager in 2007 before becoming a Training Facilitator, a post from which he retired in early July 2017.

Keith Butler

Keith has worked for West Oxfordshire District Council since late 1996, having previously worked for several local authorities in the West of England. His first role was as a Committee Officer, but his involvement in elections goes back to 1982 with his first polling duty and canvasser appointments. Starting in the late 1980s Keith took on other electoral roles with his first DRO appointment in 1989. Since 1993 Keith has had responsibility for electoral services, apart from a very short period of a few months when he was involved in Committee work only.

Keith’s role at the Council extends beyond electoral services, and includes all aspects of Democratic Services. Recent experience includes having the last Prime Minister as constituency MP, and the consequent first experience of a parliamentary by-election in October 2016.

During his time as a member of the AEA Southern Branch he has served as Branch Secretary and Branch Training Officer, and was elected to a further stint as Branch Secretary in December 2016.

Keith was appointed as an AEA Trainer in 2012.

Laura Lock AEA (Dip.)

Having worked in electoral administration for over a decade, Laura Lock became an AEA Trainer in 2015, the AEA’s Training Manager in 2016 and Deputy Chief Executive of the AEA in 2018.

During her career, Laura worked at two authorities in Cambridgeshire as Electoral Services Manager and also served on the Eastern Branch Executive in numerous roles.  She was a director of the AEA for seven years and served a three-year term on the AEA’s Management Team including being Chairman when IER was introduced.

As well as holding the Diploma in Electoral Administration, she is also a qualified Programme and Project Manager and an AEA Examiner.  She has extensive experience training across all areas of electoral administration, especially focusing on election accounts and polling station staff training.

Lindsay Tomlinson (AEA Cert.)

Currently electoral services manager for an authority in Cumbria and have worked at a range of authorities (urban/rural/mayoral/unitary) managing both electoral services and democratic services. Working for some geographically large rural authorities has given me a particular understanding of the challenges of running elections in those areas.  My democratic services career started way back in 1988 and I’m also an experienced Monitoring Officer / Deputy MO so I have a knowledge of wider governance issues and can bring that context to the electoral services role. Lots of experience of running large, combined elections and passionate about the job and the role we all play in delivering democracy.  Having had the benefit of fantastic AEA support over the years I wanted to become a trainer to give something back.

In common with most electoral administrators I don’t get much spare time but I do like to drag my elderly dogs onto the nearby beaches to enjoy the Cumbrian weather and the spectacular views. I also enjoy a good night out with the team and can usually be found on the dance floor.

Maggie Mulhall AEA (Dip.)

Maggie began her career in electoral administration in 1990 at Macclesfield Borough Council and then worked at several different local authorities over the next twenty years. After working as a Business Trainer at a large call centre, Maggie moved back into the election world to be a trainer with Xpress Software Solutions.

In March 2016, Maggie became an AEA consultant. All her previous experience was quickly put to good use delivering the PCCE and EU Referendum at Torridge District Council.

As well as holding the AEA Diploma, she is the AEA Student Adviser for England and Wales and has been an accredited trainer for the AEA for over 15 years.

Martyn Harris AEA (Cert.)

Martyn has worked in democratic services for 10 years, with the last 5 in Elections. He also spent some time as a teacher before deciding that elections was less stressful…

He started in committee services in Coventry, before becoming a scrutiny officer at Warwickshire County Council in 2013.

He is currently Head of Elections at Nuneaton and Bedworth and North Warwickshire Borough Councils, running a shared service.

Outside of elections he is a keen runner, cook and climber.

Peter Stanyon AEA (Dip.)

Peter has been involved in the world of electoral administration for over 30 years, becoming a member of the Association in 1998 and serving as its Chairman in 2010.

He was appointed as the Association’s Chief Executive in March 2018, having previously served as its Deputy Chief Executive.

Peter has been an accredited trainer for several years, writing and delivering national and regional courses to a variety of delegates, ranging from Chief Executives to visitors from overseas. He currently serves as an examiner for the Association and is a member of the highly respected AEA Foundation Course writing and delivery team.

Peter has previously worked for two London Boroughs and two district councils and was also seconded to the Electoral Commission on two separate occasions, writing and delivering training to administrators on significant changes to electoral processes.

In addition to election-specific training, Peter has delivered courses ranging from effective corporate governance to train the trainer.

Robert Curtis AEA (Cert.)

Rob has been an AEA Accredited Trainer for over 10 years and has undertaken training throughout the UK in this time assisting in the preparation and delivery of a multitude of subjects.

Rob joined the AEA in 1996 and part of his remit since becoming a trainer has been to assist in the writing and delivery of national and regional courses to a variety of delegates. He has recently been appointed to the AEA Training Design Team representing them on the AEA Training Board.

Rob was a member of the IER Expert Panel that met regularly with the Cabinet Office prior to transition in 2014 and was Chair for one of the major ESM suppliers for a number of years.

Rob has previously worked for four authorities over a 20-year career and has a reputation for challenging working practices and requirements of members throughout this time.

Sarah Ling AEA (Cert.)

Sarah spent the first six years of her career in London starting at the London Borough of Bromley before moving next door to the London Borough of Croydon to become the Electoral Services Manager in 2013. She became an AEA Consultant in 2015 and spent the May elections that followed in not-so-sleepy rural Oxfordshire working at the Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire District Councils.

She has been an AEA trainer since 2013 and has delivered many of the IER courses. When Sarah is not working on elections she can be found under the sea, scuba diving. She is a qualified instructor and has spent time living in Egypt and New Zealand, ‘living the dream’ teaching people to dive, yet strangely she is always drawn back to the UK for her love of elections.  This is after all someone who equates the night before an election to Christmas Eve!

Susanna Benton AEA (Cert.)

Susanna joined the Electoral Services Team at Leeds City Council in 1996 and has been the Head of Electoral Services there since 2011.

She has lots of experience of running large complex elections, in many combinations, including regional co-ordination and training for the Yorkshire and The Humber region.

Having received a great deal of training and support from the AEA over her 25 years as an Electoral Administrator, she has now been appointed as an AEA trainer and hopes to help and support other Administrators to give something back.

In her spare time (when the job allows!), Susanna enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Victoria Beavon AEA (Cert.)

I’ve been working in elections since joining Birmingham City Council as a canvass temp in 2005 while looking for a ‘real job’ after uni and have never left (other than a 3 year ‘holiday’ to a neighbouring authority) I’m currently Head of Elections at the largest local authority in the country (so am used to hearing the phrase ‘you’ve got how many….?!’) and have covered all types of elections in my time.  From being a County Lead for IER to running 2 canvass reform pilots, I’m always willing to put my authority or myself forward for anything (which is probably how I ended up being a trainer!)

Away from elections you can find me on a yoga mat, singing with the Barmy Army at a test match or generally just trying to be as far away from home as often as possible (when Covid allows!).