NUS (National Union of Students) has appointed Civica Election Services (CES) as the new Chief Returning Officer (CRO) for its upcoming election’s season, which will see the appointment of seven full-time officers and 24 voluntary roles. The CRO will act as an independent source of appeal with power to make final rulings on any matters arising through NUS’ elections.
Formerly known as Electoral Reform Services, CES is the UK’s leading provider of election services, with over 100 years’ experience of administering elections, ballots and consultation processes. CES work with over 75% of the UK’s local authorities, providing electoral registration services and helping them to administer local and general elections.
Kathy Wylde has been appointed as the Deputy Returning Officer (DRO) and will be responsible for the practical running of the elections, including confirming nominations and deciding on candidate eligibility, making rulings on complaints and overseeing the count. Kathy has more than 20 years’ experience in the education sector, including senior positions at Wirral Metropolitan College Students’ Union, and is a long-time volunteer with NUS sitting on the Elections’ Committee since 2015.
Following decisions made by more than 700 students at National Conference 2019, NUS has reformed its democratic processes to be simpler, more transparent and truly student-led. This year’s conferences will look and feel different with all five NUS Conferences showcasing different elements of the new approach between February and May.
Among the major changes is a new online voting system for officer elections, online hustings and much more time ahead of the conference for voters to interact with the candidates.
NUS National President, Zamzam Ibrahim, said:
“This is an exciting time for NUS as we make our biggest democratic reforms in half a century. We’re trailblazing a different kind of student politics and want to be a model for how a genuinely powerful democracy can work to make real change happen.
“We’re making significant changes because we want to put members back in control of their national organisation. It’s important that every single student who engages with us believes in the democratic process and feels confident that their voice is being heard. The reassurance provided by the new Chief and Deputy Returning Officer appointments will help us further deliver on this pledge.”
NUS’ approach to running elections is based on four key principles:
- We aim to elect people in a free and fair manner
- Elections are the mechanism for our members to choose their representatives
- Wherever possible the electorate should always decide/be the decision makers
- We are not here to give everyone an equal chance of winning, just a fair one.
NUS’ conference season begins with NUS Wales Conference in February, NUS Scotland in March, National Conference from Tuesday 31 March – Thursday 2 April 2020 at the ACC, Liverpool, NUS-USI Conference in April and Liberation Conference in May.