Elections are over – but our work with local authorities continues

As the dust settles on a busy election season at Latcham, we spoke to our elections specialist Mark Skirton about one of the most challenging election seasons to date.

Election season is always busy for Latcham, but this year was even more challenging. With the government’s announcement during the pandemic that all elections run alongside this year’s May elections, a backlog of by-elections made an already busy time much more complicated.

We printed over 1.5 million documents, including poll cards, postal voting packs and ballot books for the Police & Crime Commissioner Elections and County Elections. As well as this, there were numerous by-elections and Neighbourhood Planning Referendums that needed to be served.

After the close of nominations, our elections team sprang into action. We have a dedicated team of electoral specialists, who have the knowledge and expertise to deliver this complex work. Headed by our elections specialist and Association of Electoral Administrators member Mark Skirton, this team spans data and client services as well as production.

Every morning there was a production meeting, and every morning was different. Key members of our data services team were involved, along with four members of Client Services: Neil Taylor, Amber Armstrong, Ashley Plant, and Shaun Piper, our elections account managers. Over in production, our team are now old hands at this sort of work, with staff able to quality check work on the fly due to their familiarity with the material. None of our election printing is outsourced: everything is done by our staff in-house.

Our staff have been working in this space for the last 6 years. As this type of work requires legislative and specialist knowledge, it is this dedicated team of experts that our customers depend on to get the job done; accurately, securely and on time.

Reflecting on the hectic last six weeks, Mark said:

“One of the most challenging elements of election printing is the last-minute nature of the democratic process. It isn’t known until close of nominations how many elections will be contested, meaning a lack of visibility right until the last minute. This year, 75% of the elections we were notified might happen ended up happening, while 25% didn’t happen. In addition to this, the many types of elections run concurrently brought other challenges. By-elections might be smaller printing runs, but from a data point of view are just as complicated as setting up printing for a large election. Our factory was continuously printing documents for these elections for 5 weeks.

As the results rolled in, I felt a sense of relief, accomplishment of a job well done, and immense pride at those at Latcham that helped in the process.”

With more by-elections still in the pipeline, Mark and the team can’t rest on their laurels. The busiest period may be over, but our work with local authorities continues.

Want to know more about how we support local authorities? Visit our sector page.