by Paul Behan

MEMBERS of West Dunbartonshire Council’s corporate services committee have given their blessing to plans to award a contract to a firm that will conduct electronic counting for the 2017 local government elections.

Members noted a retrospective decision to award the contract by West Dunbartonshire Council chief executive, Joyce White.

A report which went before members of the Corporate Services Committee last Wednesday at Clydebank Town Hall, said: “Committee is requested to note the decision of the chief executive, acting in the capacity of returning officer for West Dunbartonshire, to approve the execution of the contractual documentation for the equipment, supplies and services necessary to ensure the proper conduct of the local government elections 2017.”

The report also goes into the background of electronic counting systems used around the country.

It stated: “In 2012 this was delivered centrally by two companies (Logica and Opt2vote) following a tender by the Scottish Government, for a unified Scotland wide system, ensuring consistency and accuracy throughout the council areas.

“The election was generally accepted as having been well run in 2012, and a similar procedure was followed in 2015 /16 for the award of the contract for 2017.

“The same two companies, now named CGI and Idox Elections, were again successful, with Idox acting as sub-contractor to CGI.”

One issue, the report flagged up, was the timescale of the new contract, which local authorities had to sign up for by November, prompting the chief executive to award the contract back in November.

The cost of the equipment, supplies, services and ballots amounts to £69,429 with reimbursement being due by the Scottish Government of the equipment, services and software costs amounting to £53 923. The balance of £15,506 will be met from the WDC Election Budget.

Councillor George Black felt the local authority was ‘press-ganged’ into it somewhat, adding: “We should write to make known our displeasure.”

This year’s elections take place on May 4.