NIPSA has expressed concerns regarding the recently released response to a public consultation on the future delivery of electoral services. A public consultation was held from October 2016 to January 2017 and a number of responses were received. District Councils, Politicians and Trade Unions responded to a wide range of questions set out in the consultation.
The response outlines a number of next steps but clearly gives a direction of travel which is to close regional Electoral Offices and transfer functions to District Councils.
Dooley Harte, NIPSA Official, stated:
NIPSA is greatly concerned with the direction of travel which clearly is to close regional Electoral Offices, centralise services into Belfast and transfer elections, advice and support to District Councils. Government have justified these changes by identifying the Electoral Office as currently financially and administratively unsustainable. However this is difficult to accept when a voluntary exit scheme was approved by NIO and the EONI budget has been reduced by over 30% by the NIO.
NIPSA has therefore sought a meeting with political parties to raise our concerns and will meet with the Chief Electoral Officer this Friday to discuss the way forward.