Agenda and minutes

General Purposes and Licensing Committee - Friday, 3rd November, 2023 9.30 am

Venue: Council Chamber - Appletree Court, Beaulieu Road, Lyndhurst, SO43 7PA

Contact: Tel: 023 8028 5982  Email:


No. Item


Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs A Glass and N Millington.



To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 22 May 2023 as a correct record.




That the minutes of the meeting held on 22 May 2023 be signed by the Chairman as a correct record.


Declarations Of Interest

To note any declarations of interest made by members in connection with an agenda item.  The nature of the interest must also be specified.


Members are asked to discuss any possible interests with Democratic Services prior to the meeting.


No Declarations of Interest were made by any Members in connection with any Agenda Item.


Public Participation

To receive any public participation in accordance with the Council’s public participation scheme.


There was no public participation.




May 2023 Elections - Post Election Review pdf icon PDF 259 KB

For the Committee to note the issues raised within the report and to approve the action plan contained in Appendix 1.

Additional documents:


The Assistant Director of Transformation introduced the report and provided an overview of the context regarding the May 2023 Elections. The main points included:


·       140,000 voters were registered to vote in the District and Town & Parish Council election.

·       The first tranche of the Elections Act 2022 changes came into effect for the May 2023 election.

·       The main changes that effected the May 2023 local election were the introduction of Voter ID, the Local Government Boundary Commission (LGBC) review and the subsequent Polling District and Places Review.

·       A lot of feedback was received from partners and stakeholders on how the local election was conducted which informed the Post Election Review.

·       From this feedback, and the observations gathered during the election timetable, the opportunities for improvement were split into four defined areas:


1) Nominations, candidates, and agents

2) Polling day and polling stations

3) Staffing

4) Counting of votes.


·       On nominations, candidates and agents, the Committee heard that the online booking system was used by a majority of agents and candidates. The North Wing of Appletree Court was utilised for application submissions and the necessary checks to take place. There was one Parish Council which received an insufficient number of candidates and therefore had to undergo a re-run on the day of the election. There were some issues with access to the online candidate briefing session, which had to be resolved by members of staff at the time.

·       For polling stations, the feedback was positive and very few complaints were received. Although the boundary review information and subsequent changes to polling station locations, some voters did visit their previously known polling stations. The polling station inspectors faced a substantial task of undertaking their first inspections where checks were made on the set up of the stations. This inspection took longer than anticipated and would be something reviewed for future elections.

·       Staffing was an area identified as facing key challenges. It had become increasingly difficult to attract new members of staff to fill polling station positions. Despite this, a campaign to attract more staff saw 84 new polling staff join for the election. Overall, NFDC employed around 500 people for polling and count day, most of which are temporary, meaning that there was a significant reliance on NFDC staff.

·       The counting of votes saw the greatest level of feedback and the biggest issues faced. It was recognised that the count did not run as well as it could have and one reason for this was down to the staffing levels and the small space at the counting location. The ‘Grass Skirts’ counting method, although incredibly accurate, was a time-consuming process. It was noted that for this election there was an unorthodox voting pattern. The Action Plan addressed this issue and would be a key area of review going into future elections. It was highlighted that this issue would not be as significant for Parliamentary elections or Police and Crime Commissioner elections where the process is simpler. Alternative venues were being explored but this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Dates of Future Meetings

To agree the following dates of meeting for 2024/2025 (All Fridays at 09:30)


21 June 2024

6 September 2024

1 November 2024

10 January 2025

7 March 2025


That the dates of future meetings, as listed on page 2 of the agenda, be agreed.