GLRO16-14 Catering for London Elects e-counting training events
The Mayor of London and London Assembly elections will take place on Thursday 5th May 2016. Training events for all operators of the e-counting equipment will take place at Lampton Park Conference Centre, Hounslow between 1 February and 18 March 2016. A decision is required to secure provision of catering for these training events.
The GLRO approves expenditure of £10,549 to be paid to the London Borough of Hounslow to provide catering for the e-counting training events at their Conference Centre in Lampton Park.
Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice
1.1 The elections for the Mayor of London and the London Assembly will take place in May 2016. The contract for e-counting that was in place for the 2012 elections has been extended for these elections. Training for all the e-counting staff from the constituencies is scheduled between 1 February and 18 March 2016 at Lampton Park Conference Centre, Hounslow. This was approved through GLRO16-13. There is now a requirement to procure catering for these training events.
1.2 The training sessions will be full day events. Under the terms of agreement for use of the venue it is required that any catering must be provided in-house by the London Borough of Hounslow catering team.
2.1 The cost for provision of on-site catering is £10,548.16 for the sessions to be covered. The catering will consist of a sandwich finger buffet, teas and coffees. The breakdown of costs is as follows:
Training days x 14 (@ £709.44 per day) = £9,932.16
Training staff x 35 (@ £8 per head) = £280
GLA staff (3 per day) x14 days (@£8 per head) = £336
2.2 The cost will cover the provision of catering for all attendees and event staff at each session.
4.1 Discussions have taken place with the provider to ensure that specific dietary requirements can be accommodated. It should be noted that the provider is unable to ensure that meat products prepared will adhere to specific religious requirements (kosher/halal). Vegetarian options will be provided.
Key risks and issues
3.1 The training of the e-counting staff from the constituencies is key to the successful delivery of the 2016 elections. Without training the staff will be unable to operate the equipment and so will not be able to deliver the results. In order to ensure that the time available for training is utilised to the maximum effect, timetabled meal breaks will need to be facilitated efficiently. Access to the training venue has been negotiated for set hours per day. Provision of on-site catering will reduce the risk of training sessions over-running their allocated timeslots. Under the terms of agreement for use of the venue it is required that any catering should be provided in-house by the London Borough of Hounslow’s in-house catering team
5. Financial comments
5.1 The request for expenditure to provide catering for the two weeks of E-Counting training is for a value of £10,549. The budget for this cost is currently held in the Elections Training programme budget line, within the Elections cost centre.
6. Legal comments
6.1 By section 29 Greater London Authority Act 1999 the Greater London Returning Officer (“GLRO”) is the person appointed as the proper officer for the purposes of section 35(2C) Representation of the People Act 1983 (“RotPA”) (returning officer at elections of Mayor and London members). The Mayor and Assembly have appointed the Head of Paid Service the GLRO as part of his terms and conditions of employment.
6.2 The GLRO is the returning officer for the Mayoral and London Member elections, and constituency returning officers are the returning officers for the election of a Constituency Member of the Assembly. The Authority must, under section 36(4B) of RotPA, pay for all expenditure properly incurred by a returning officer in relation to the holding of an Authority election, in so far as it does not, in cases where there is a scale fixed by the Authority, exceed that scale.
6.3 The Authority’s Scheme of Delegation enables the GLRO to incur expenditure for the purposes of the preparation or conduct of any anticipated election as he considers necessary or expedient for that purpose. He is also able to authorise entry into contracts, licences or other instruments, in connection with an anticipated election in accordance with the Authority’s Contracts and Funding Code and Financial Regulations.
6.5 Officers should ensure that appropriate documentation is put in place and executed by the Authority and the supplier before the commencement of the services.