Negrini’s £1,000 fine threat fails to get a vote of approval

What do you mean, you didn’t know anything about another Croydon Council consultation, this time about where and how you are able to vote at elections?

The council is changing the location of where some people can vote

Croydon, the council that put the “con” into consulation, announced its latest public engagement exercise last week – yep, August, in the midst of the holiday season. The consultation on a review of the borough’s polling districts for future local or national elections is open for less than one month, and is due to close on September 2.

Such a brief period for a relatively unheralded consultation on what might be considered one of the most important functions of the local authority – the maintenance and encouragement of democracy – is liable to prompt scepticism from local residents.

But the issuing of threats of £1,000 fines against voters who fail to respond to a terse form issued by the borough’s returning officer, Jo Negrini, has provoked anger at the heavy-handed conduct of the council.

Negrini, who receives a nice little bonus of around £20,000 per year (depending on the number of elections or referendums staged in the period) for her role as the borough’s returning officer had the forms distributed last month, in the annual exercise to keep tabs on the number and whereabouts of those eligible to vote in the borough.

Jo Negrinis electoral roll letter has been described by some as having ‘a bullying tone’

“It is a legal requirement to provide the information requested,” said Negrini’s little love letter to the people who pay her wages. “If you do not you could be fined £1,000.”

It would take just 220 people in the borough to be issued with such fines to raise enough money to pay Negrini’s chief executive’s salary.

“The tone of the letter is all wrong,” said one iC reader. “It’s completely unnecessary, and inappropriate from a public servant. It has a bullying tone.”

Inside Croydon has been unable to find any record of the last time that the council implemented the fine for non-return or response to the electoral roll form, which sort of suggests that Negrini’s threat is an empty one, and therefore all the more unnecessary.

Readers have also been unimpressed with the voting district consultation. At least, those readers who have somehow managed to stumble over any indication that such a consultation exists.

Negrini gets a nice little bonus for being returning officer for Croydon

Croydon’s parliamentary constituencies are divided into polling districts for elections, and the number of polling stations in each district depends on its number of registered voters.

According to a press release from the Town Hall, “To reflect local population changes since the last electoral boundary review in 2017, Croydon Council is proposing to change some local polling districts and stations.”

The council announcement fails to detail what these proposals are, merely offering a link to the council website.

But the proposals do include amending boundaries so some addresses come under different districts and polling stations; creating new polling stations; and merging two polling districts into one.

The council states: “Any local registered voter in Croydon may give the council any comments and suggestions of alternative polling venues.” Well they can, but only if they actually know about the consultation.

The “proposals” – that is, what Negrini has cooked up and intends to implement – will get an airing at a council meeting before being imposed from February 1, 2020.

Details of the proposed changes can be found by clicking here.

Voters can submit comments via email at electoral.services@croydon.gov.uk or by post to Seth Alker, Head of Electoral Services, Croydon Council, Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon, CR9 1DE.

Comments must reach the council no later than 5pm on September 2.


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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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3 Responses to Negrini’s £1,000 fine threat fails to get a vote of approval

  1. Adrian Dennis says:

    Another case of making up news to fill the silly season? Prior to every election there is a consultation about suitability of existing polling stations and some are adjusted or moved to improve accessibility. The £1,000 potential fine (rarely implemented) has also been on every polling form for many decades to my knowledge. How about a news story.

    Like

    • Adrian: it is news because the council has deemed it to be so by issuing a news release on the subject (the clue’s in the title). Though you would be right to question why the council is running such a consultation in the “silly season”: is it a deliberate ploy to ensure as little public engagement as possible? It certainly looks that way.
      And while you, a widely respected alderman of the borough with many, many years of experience of the way in which the council operates, might take it for granted that the bandying around of threats of fines is routine practice for Negrini and her mates, those loyal readers who have contacted Inside Croydon have expressed genuine shock at the manner adopted here.
      As for us publishing news, haven’t you been reading the site recently..?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If you read Inside Croydon you will enjoy the youtube channel “A Different Bias”
    For example, along the lines of TRMS “Moscow Mitch” we discover that Boris’ backers want out of any transition period and sre driving the mad rush for the exit.
    Democracy? Sovereignty?…..no ….avoiding the international tax laws that will start in the EU on January 1st !
    Rees smog will not confirm he will make 7 million with these….you can make up your own Tory donors total tax “take”. Where do they take it from? Public services depending on tax revenues !
    What a gloriously independent media we have!
    I guess Boris is Purtin’s b**ch too, via Trump, McConnell and Deripaska

    Like

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