Returning Officer

The Returning Officer is the person who has the overall responsibility for the conduct of elections.

To contact the Returning Officer, please write to:

Brian Keane
Returning Officer
Electoral Services
Latton Bush Centre
Southern Way
CM18 7BL

or email:

Role of the Returning Officer

The appointment of a Returning Officer by local authorities is prescribed in Section 35 of the Representation of the People Act 1983. Each District Council must appoint an officer of the Council to be the Returning Officer for the election of District Councillors. Although appointed by the Council the Returning Officers’ role and duties are separate from and additional to their work as local government officers and they are personally liable for the proper conduct of each aspect of the election.

The Returning Officer is responsible for:

  • the nomination process for candidates and political parties;
  • provision and notification of polling stations;
  • appointment of presiding officers and polling clerks;
  • appropriate administration and security of polling stations;
  • preparation of all ballot papers;
  • the actual Count and Declaration of Results;
  • issue, receipt and counting of postal ballot papers;
  • all candidates' election expenses return;
  • presentation of final account and reclamation of funding from external body as prescribed.

District (Local) elections

The appointed Returning Officer for Harlow Council Elections is Brian Keane, Acting Managing Director.

County Council elections

Non-metropolitan county councils appoint their own Returning Officers for the election of County Councillors although, in practice, because of the size of the areas concerned, such elections are usually administered by the District Council Returning Officers who, for the purposes of County Council elections are appointed as Deputies with full powers to conduct the election on the County Returning Officer’s behalf.

The appointed Deputy County Returning Officer for Harlow at Essex County Council Elections is.

UK Parliamentary (General) elections

At UK Parliamentary elections, the Returning Officer for a county constituency (that is, one which is fully contained within a county but not wholly within one district council’s area) is the High Sheriff of the county. In a borough constituency (which is wholly contained within a District or London Borough Council area) the chair or mayor of the Council is the Returning Officer. In practice, however, the election is conducted by Acting Returning Officers, who are usually the Returning Officers appointed for District Council elections.

The appointed Acting Returning Officer for the Harlow Constituency at UK Parliamentary Elections is.

European elections

At European Parliamentary Elections, each Region of the United Kingdom elects MEPs on a proportional representation basis from candidates included on party lists. The overall conduct of the election in each Region is the responsibility of the Regional Returning Officer who is appointed by the Cabinet Office. Local Returning Officers undertake the conduct of the election in their respective district council areas on behalf of the Regional Returning Officer.

The appointed Local Returning Officer for Harlow at European Parliamentary Elections is.

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections

At Police and Crime Commissioner Elections each of the 41 police areas in England and Wales (excluding London) has a Police Area Returning Officer. They are responsible for giving notice of the election, managing the nomination process, and the calculation and declaration of the result. It is their duty to co-ordinate the work of Local Returning Officers in the police area. The Local Returning Officer is personally responsible for the administration of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election in their local voting area. They are responsible for the conduct of the poll, the printing of the ballot papers, appointing Presiding Officers and Poll Clerks, managing the postal voting process and the verification and counting of votes.

The Police Area Returning Officer (PARO) for Essex is Adrian Pritchard (Chief Executive at Colchester)