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Yorkshire Coast BID Vote Report Published

Yorkshire Coast BID Vote Report Published

Published by Matthew Pells at 6:38pm 11th March 2020. (Updated at 6:42pm 11th March 2020)

An independent report into Scarborough Borough Council’s handling of the ballot to create a destination Business Improvement District (DBID) for the Yorkshire coast has found no evidence that the council breached the regulations, but says that the administration of the ballot could have been improved.

The findings of the inquiry will be presented to a meeting of the council’s Audit Committee on 19 March.

Peter Stanyon, Chief Executive of the Association of Electoral Administrators, found the regulations were followed correctly but says he believes the overall ballot process wasn’t without issue and is critical of some of the decisions made and of the communication surrounding the whole process.

The report includes findings that in some parts of the ballot process "the Council could have exercised its judgement differently, and that there are a number of learning points for the Council to take on board"

Mr Stanyon has also criticised the government’s own BID ballot regulations as “not providing a clear framework”.  He found there is conflict with some of the key provisions of election law.

Mr Stanyon was commissioned by the council to carry out a review into the way it handled the ballot to decide if there should be a DBID for the Yorkshire coast.

He was asked to consider whether the council followed the ballot regulations, if there was evidence of any irregularities and whether the secrecy of the ballot was compromised.

On all three points, Mr Stanyon found there were no issues.  

However Mr Stanyon's report says the government’s BID ballot regulations were followed but criticises the legislation as “lacking” and says it creates a great deal of uncertainty.

  • He says more specific BID ballot expertise should have been available to the council’s elections team.
  • He also says the ballot should have been delayed by the 15 days allowed in light of the decision by Redcar and Cleveland Council to withdraw from the process. Mr Stanyon says this would have given the BID company time to revise – and then communicate - its business plan as well as checking its amended list of voters.
  • He also has concern with the list of voters supplied to the council because names of bill payers were removed and some ballot papers were to be sent to correspondence rather than billing addresses.
  • He says he believes using the names of bill payers could have encouraged greater participation in the ballot and that another attempt to resend 42 undelivered ballot papers should have been made.

Mr Stanyon will present his report to the Audit Committee on 19 March and answer questions.

VIEW THE FULL REPORT  : See The Full Report from Peter Stanyon  DBID Investigation Report (pdf)

Cllr Liz Colling, Scarborough Borough Council Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth, said:

“I’d like to thank Peter Stanyon for his detailed and comprehensive report into the council’s handling of the DBID ballot.

While it is clear that the overall process could have been improved, ultimately, we did follow the regulations and there were no irregularities. We can learn lessons though.

The legislation for business improvement districts provides no realistic option for us to start again, so now is the time for us to embrace the opportunities presented by the DBID.

I urge the BID company to begin meaningful engagement with the business community so momentum and work to date is not lost.”

 

 

Comments

There are 2 comments on this page.

neil bower, on 11th March 2020 7:04pm
What a surprise let's now see what happens
zara, on 12th March 2020 8:56am
not sure how this whitewash report can say no problems and then say that there were problems with the voters lists and who got the ballot forms. Sorry SBC you connived to get the result you wanted and no double talking report will change that.

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