Scottish Parliamentary Elections, Thursday 6 May 2021

By Bill Heaney

West Dunbartonshire Council are currently seeking applications for Presiding Officers and Poll Clerks / Information Officers for the upcoming elections on May 6.

It’s a nice little number, providing you can count, which will earn you a few bob and test your neutrality when it comes to politics.

Joyce White, pictured right, the Chief Executive of West Dunbartonshire Council, has advertised the fact that the hours of the poll will be 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and appointed staff must report to the polling place at least 30 minutes before the start of the poll.

The fees to be paid are generous, but in typical West Dunbartonshire Council fashion, there is a nice little extra.

I refer to the £6000 a year increase in salary awarded at Christmas  to eight already highly paid chief officials without the matter being referred for approval to the full council.

The election bonus is a payment of £30 for attending an online training session – this will no doubt let counters know how to tally votes with the aid of an abacus – which will be held approximately 7-10 days before the elections.

The advert doesn’t state whether or not, if you are a council worker, you will get paid to take time off work to attend a training session.

It does say however that applicants for these posts – traditionally filled by local government workers and bank staff –  must not be active at or about the elections on behalf of any of the candidates or parties, nor be related to any candidate.

“If you are interested in applying for a position please submit an application as soon as possible via the online form,” the advert states.

Application Form

Submission of an application form does not guarantee an appointment.

Letters of appointment will be issued to successful applicants approximately three weeks before the day of poll.

It adds: “Please note that if you are appointed there is no guarantee that you will be allocated to work in the polling place where you would normally vote.  You should therefore consider applying for a postal vote to secure your own vote.  The application form:

Apply for a Postal Vote

“Risk assessments will be carried out and polling staff will be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE),” states the advert which is signed by Joyce White,  the Returning Officer, whose fee for the assignment is not disclosed and it doesn’t make clear whether the Presiding Officer and the Returning Officer will be one and the same.  It seems likely though that there will be a presiding officer at every polling station.

  • The Council elections, usually held in tandem with the parliamentary election, have been deferred for a year.
Position Payment
Presiding Officer No.1 £305 gross
Presiding Officer £285 gross
Poll Clerk £195 gross


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