Paid workers wanted to help to staff Banbury area polling stations at this May's elections

An appeal has gone out for people to apply for paid positions helping the running of polling stations in the Banbury area.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 12:59 pm
Updated Monday, 29th March 2021, 1:04 pm
Staff are needed to help at polling stations across Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire County Council said today (Monday) that those becoming involved in the democratic process will be paid for their work on Thursday, May 6 when elections take place across the county.

The elections will allow residents to vote for their preferred candidate(s) in the Police and Crime Commissioner election, the district councils in Cherwell, Oxford City and West Oxfordshire and town and parish council elections.

Staff are required on polling day (Thursday, May 6) to work as presiding officers and poll clerks at polling stations. These will be in each district area of the county.

Positions as helpers at polling stations will be paid and training will be given

Chief Executive of Cherwell District Council and Oxfordshire County Council Yvonne Rees said: “We are keen to hear from people who are eager to get involved in the excitement of running an election. Measures will be in place to keep people safe from COVID and there’s money to be earned for helping out.

“If you think one of the roles we have available may be for you then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Equally if you have questions or need clarifications we’d be more than happy to answer them for you.

“Delivering elections is a big undertaking and the backbone of the operation is always hard-working local people pitching in to help out on polling day.”

Presiding officers - (previous election experience is preferred); are in charge of the setting-up and running of the polling station. Ideally they would have experience of polling station duties but training is provided. Each will be paid a fee of £261 if there are two elections in the polling station or £271 if there are three elections in the polling station, plus mileage.

They must complete online training for which an additional fee will be paid. They would pick up the ballot box and equipment a couple of days before polling day and deliver the ballot box to their allocated counting centre after the close of poll.

Poll clerks are also needed. These will assist the presiding officer in setting-up and running the polling station. Their fee would be £165 if there are two elections in the polling station or £175 if there are three elections in the polling station, plus mileage. These clerks must complete online training for which an additional fee will be paid.

Polling hours are 7am - 10pm and the staff will need to be at their polling station by no later than 6.15am to enable set-up. All payments are subject to tax.

* COVID-19 considerations

The safety of all has been at the forefront of planning for the elections and there will therefore be extra processes and procedures in place. This is for everyone’s safety. The public health principles we are all currently following in our daily lives to help mitigate the risk and spread of Covid-19 should be followed throughout the day at polling stations, such as maintaining social distancing, cleaning hands regularly, avoiding touching your face and wearing a face covering.

Health and safety assessments have been undertaken at all venues being used as polling stations to ensure they are safe for those working and for electors voting at the station.

Additional equipment will include Perspex screens, hand sanitiser, face coverings and signage will be provided. Most venues allow for one-way systems to operate and you will be able to use the signage to set this up. Where a one-way system is not possible in a polling station, there will be an extra poll clerk to assist in managing electors in the polling station.

To take part people need to be aged 18 or over and ensure any childcare responsibilities are in hand. They would need to ensure they are available to commit for the entire day - these are not part-time or flexible hours posts. Polling station staff are not allowed to leave the polling station so people will not be able to pop out for a lunch break and they will need to take their own food and drink for the day.

People who are keen and meet the criteria should email [email protected] with their home address, a telephone number and email address that they use regularly, confirmation as to whether or not they have transport and an indication of which district area(s) they would be able to work (Cherwell, Oxford, South Oxfordshire, Vale of the White Horse, West Oxfordshire).

People who may be planning to work on the elections are reminded not to lose their own right to vote. Apply for your own postal vote before the deadline of 5pm on April 20.