Election staff in Stoke-on-Trent can earn up to £37.50 an hour tonight

Polling staff in Stoke-on-Trent could earn up to £37.50 per hour at the next general election. Stoke-on-Trent City Council has approved a 'schedule of fees' setting out how much workers such as poll clerks, count assistants and security officers will be paid at elections over the next 12 months.

A council report says the proposed fees are in line with national guidance, and were brought before councillors for approval 'in the interests of transparency'. The city council is responsible for appointing a returning officer to oversee all elections in Stoke-on-Trent, who then recruits a small army of workers - including council staff and others from outside the authority - to undertake various tasks at polling stations across the city, the counting centre and elsewhere.

The schedule lists hourly rates for 38 different jobs, split into four different pay bands reflecting their different responsibilities. Some jobs would get a 50 per cent uplift for working between 11pm and 8am - relevant when there are elections with overnight counts.

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These range from poll clerks and station greeters, who will be paid £12.50 an hour under the new schedule, to the count centre manager, who will receive £25 an hour, or £37.50 an hour for overnight counts. The schedule, which will be kept under review, also includes a number of one-off fees for certain tasks, such as book keeping, training or poll card delivery.

The report to full council stated: "The new fees provide greater transparency and clarity and ensure that payments are made to staff were necessary, reasonable and at a rate that is proportionate to the roles and responsibilities undertaken. The scale is brought to Council in the interests of transparency for this area of election governance."

The report explains that the fees have been set to be 'attractive enough to ensure elections can be fully staffed' and to ensure consistency across the region. Election staff pay is funded externally by the Cabinet Office so there is no direct impact on council finances.

The only elections currently scheduled to take place in Stoke-on-Trent during 2024/25 are the Staffordshire-wide Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime Commissioner poll on May 2 when the count for this poll will take place on the following day so night rates will not apply. The Meir North by-election will be counted on Thursday night. But there must also be a general election at some point between now and January.

Here are some of the hourly rates listed in the new schedule:

Ballot box issuing assistant - £13.50
Count security - £13.50 (£20.25 night rate)
Poll clerk - £12.50
Postal vote opening and checking assistant - £13.50 (£20.25 night rate)
Printing co-ordinator - £13.50
Station greeter - £12.50
Reception staff - £13.50
Count accountant and data officer - £17.50 (£26.50 night rate)
Count staff IT support - £17.50 (£26.50 night rate)
Assistant count centre manager - £20.50 (£30.75 night rate)
Media handling and communications - £20.50 (£30.75 night rate)
Presiding officer - £15.75
Count centre manager - £25.00 (£37.50 night rate)

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