Julie James MS, Minister for Housing and Local Government
The Senedd Cymru (Returning Officers’ Charges) Order 2021 (“the Order) and the Senedd Cymru (Returning Officers’ Accounts) Regulations 2021 (“the Regulations”) came into force on 19 March. The Order will set the maximum amounts constituency returning officers (ROs) and regional returning officers (RROs) are able to claim from the Welsh Government for the conduct of the 2021 Senedd election. The Regulations stipulate how and when ROs should submit their election accounts in order to receive the funding provided for in the 2021 Order. The Explanatory Memoranda for the Order and Regulations are annexed to this statement. As this will be a combined election, the UK Government will cover costs relating the Police and Crime Commissioner election.
For 2021, the funding provided to ROs includes a payment for ‘electoral administrators’ which includes the RO, their deputies, and council officials and replaces the former personal fee paid to an RO. The purpose of this change is to recognise the additional workload placed upon, and importance of the work of the whole electoral team in running a Senedd election and ROs will be asked to confirm that they have used this payment for the purposes it is intended.
The Welsh Government recognises the challenges of running an election during the current pandemic and wants to ensure that staff and voters are safe. Through the Order, additional funding has been provided to cover the range of equipment required to ensure the protection of staff and public health. This includes personal protective equipment, social distancing aides, cleaning materials and additional staff to manage to polls.
We are all aware how difficult it has been to continue with the necessary local authority functions over the past year. Electoral administrators and ROs are no exception to this and have been working tirelessly in a challenging and ever-changing environment to prepare for these elections and maintain public confidence in our democracy. I am very grateful to them for their endeavours.