UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: New scrutineers of trade union ballots

Press Release   •   Feb 26, 2010 10:09 GMT

A new list of organisations qualified to undertake and scrutinise statutory ballots and elections under trade union law was announced by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills today.

Employment Relations Minister Lord Young said:

“This is very responsible work and it is important that trade unions and employers have the best organisations available to carry it out.

“Trade unions and employers now have a wider choice of organisations qualified to provide them with this service.”

The announcement follows a public competition to identify organisations possessing the necessary qualities to carry out this work launched by the Department for Business on 24 September 2009. Rita Donaghy CBE, the former head of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), chaired the panel which assessed the applications. The successful organisations are:

·        Association of Electoral Administrators;

·        DRS Data Services Limited;

·        Electoral Reform Services Limited;

·        Involvement and Participation Association;

·        Opt2Vote Limited; and

·        Popularis Limited.

The new legislation naming these six organisations qualified as scrutineers will come into effect on 6 April 2010.

Notes to Editors

1) Unions are required by law to use the services of an independent scrutineer when carrying out statutory ballots in four areas:

·        industrial action ballots (involving more than 50 people);

·        ballots to establish and periodically review a union’s Political Fund;

·        ballots concerning the amalgamation of unions; and

·        elections to certain trade union positions.

2) The Central Arbitration Committee is required by statute to use the services of qualified independent persons when carrying out trade union recognition and derecognition ballots.

3) The Government has today laid two sets of regulations naming the organisations qualified to act as scrutineers. These regulations respectively apply to trade union recognition and derecognition ballots, and to those trade union ballots listed above in note 1, as undertaken in Great Britain. The latter regulations also cover ballots held in Northern Ireland which relate to a trade union’s political fund, where the trade union concerned is active in Northern Ireland but has their head or main offices located in Great Britain.

4) The competition was carried out jointly by BIS and the Northern Ireland Department for Employment and Learning (DELNI). DELNI will make their own separate, parallel regulations.

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.


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