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How Democratic Services are using utilising integrated technology platforms to deliver time and cost saving solutions

Local authorities across the United Kingdom are responsible for the management of local and national democratic elections within the constraints of their local boundaries.

In the UK democratic system, general elections, local elections, mayoral elections, police and crime commissioner elections and referendums are managed locally despite many having a national focus and in recent years the UK has seen these appear in quick succession. The organisation of such activities includes the sourcing, production and distribution of election product communications.

The Challenge

Despite the parameters set out by the Electoral Commission, local authorities still have options and flexibility regarding election products at multiple stages of the electoral printing process such as the design of certain products i.e. postal voting packs. This means we are, at times, dealing with over 40 separate stakeholders with very similar but different requirements.

Inevitably, this scope delivers multiple designs of the same electoral product and multiple methods of delivery across the UK. It also means local authorities have the task of sourcing a solution which offers the best efficiency, quality and security as well as meeting the needs of every element of the election product printing process to critical time scales.

The Solution

Working with over 40 different councils, including city, county, district and parish councils, and handling over 3.5 million polling cards and a million postal voting packs across England alone. Our solution for democratic services is designed to be as efficient as possible, optimising and rationalising product options to reduce costs and consolidating production to ensure the process operates as effectively as possible whilst utilising the benefits of scale in print production.

We have created a single, cost and time efficient production process for a series of uniform products provided to our local authority clients. We had designed standardised products that allow for the
production of Poll Cards, Postal Poll Cards, Proxy Poll, Cards, Proxy Postal Poll Cards, Postal Votes, Spare Postal Votes, Ordinary and Tendered Ballot Books, CNL1s, CNL2s and Large Print Ballot Papers, as well as optimised processes which enable the conversion of multiple products into a 1 piece mailer.

The introduction of our SmartApproval online proofing system assists with the project management between us and each client, allowing a range of electoral products are able to be presented and approved or rejected for changes online, building greater efficiency into the process. Due to the efficiency of our solution and the experience and capabilities that underpin it, we now support
Councils right across the UK.

Adare SEC offers a complete service – from initial project consultancy and planning to the supply of
Election Day materials to Council representatives and directly to the public. We have the capability to work with large amounts of data and have over 20 years’ experience in working with local authorities to support elections. Due to this we have a specialist team which consists of industry experts and project managers as well as state of the art technology and proven processes.

Furthermore, we operate our own C9 licence, meaning we can manage postage providing significant savings over Royal Mail rates. Combining production and applying this centralised model across mailing routes for over 30 local authority clients delivers cost savings for organisations under intense pressure to optimise their expenditure of public funds.


For our local authority clients, technology utilised in the process continues to be considered as one of the major benefits to this approach as it delivers a simplified process. Platforms delivered by Adare SEC allow for a more efficient and timely proofing process compared to previous suppliers. Our complete service – from design to delivery – saves time and money and allows clients to benefit from economies of scale through our centralised process and postage service.

Clients also benefit from Adare SEC experienced Project Managers who understand the elections projects inside out.