Electoral Office criticised over ‘misleading’ job advert

The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland which is based at St Anne's House, Belfast.
The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland which is based at St Anne's House, Belfast.

THE Electoral Office for Northern Ireland have been criticised for ‘misleading’ people in a job advertisement.

The man, who did not wish to be named told the MAIL that a job which he had applied for with the Electoral Office as a canvasser for the new electoral forms was wrongly advertised.

He said: “The job advertised stated that you would earn between £800-£1300 but in reality when I was given my area to cover, I was told I would be paid less than £500.”

The man also criticised the Electoral Office for not making it clear to successful candidates exactly how much they would be paid for having to collect the forms from the non-responsive households.

“They did not give me an exact figure when I questioned them at first, they just said you would be paid an amount. It was all very shrouded and unclear. It wasn’t until I filed a complaint that they got back to me with a figure. I don’t think for a government body it was very professional not to have included the specific amount in the terms and conditions.”

A spokesperson for the Electoral Office said: “The job advertisement for electoral canvassers stated that the fee payable depended on the number of households assigned and would be generally in the region of £800+.

“Following a recruitment exercise, prospective employees were offered positions and were provided with their terms and conditions of employment which clearly stated the basic fee payable.

“Applicants were also advised that the fee structure incorporated a basic fee plus an additional payment which is calculated on the basis of the number of re-visits they have to make to non-responding households.

“The additional payment cannot be calculated until the number of non-respondents is identified at the end of the first phase of the canvass.

“Applicants were at liberty to accept or reject the offer of employment if they were unhappy with the level of remuneration on offer.

“Canvassers were appointed to their areas of responsibility following an analysis of the electoral ward system in Northern Ireland which also took account of geographic and demographic factors. Any variance in the general fee advertised is therefore reflective of the size of the geographic area allocated to each canvasser and the number of households in the area.”

New electoral forms will be delivered to all homes in the next few weeks for householders to fill in and return.

It will be the first large scale registration process in approximately ten years.

Local representatives have stressed the importance of filling in these forms correctly and returning them.

MP for Mid Ulster, Francie Molloy, has asked constituents to ensure that they complete the new voter registration form.

Mr Molloy advised, “It is essential that forms are completed accurately, signed and returned. Failure to return the form will result in the person not being on the new register and therefore not entitled to vote. It is also important to include young people approaching the age of 18 who have not voted before.

By not being included on the electoral register people will find it more difficult to get access to credit or finance such as mortgages and loans.The electoral register created from this registration process will be used for elections to the new Mid Ulster Council which brings together Cookstown, Dungannon and Magherafelt.”