In accordance with the Representation of the People’s Act 1983 the cost of local elections are met from the local authority’s budgets
The local authority is required to appoint a Returning Officer to conduct these elections on their behalf and the Returning Officer is personally (not corporately) responsible for the management of elections. Each local authority is required to place the services of its staff at the disposal of the Returning Officer to help run the election.
Even though the Returning Officer will also be an employee of the council, at the time of an election their responsibility is completely separate but the Electoral Commission acknowledges that in practice this is very hard to do and many of the responsibilities are closely linked. For example demonstrating the costs incurred by the Returning Officer for running an election which are ultimately paid for by the council.
In order to run a local election the Returning Officer in Southampton needs to employ and pay over 900 additional staff with different levels of responsibility. It is important that this is done fairly and transparently. In order to achieve this, the Returning Officers across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight review and agree a schedule of fees which they all use and share with their own local authority. This ensures that there is a consistent approach for everyone.
In the interest of openness and transparency the current schedule of fees can be seen by downloading the document below.