Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
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Government announces review into electronic voting for industrial action ballots

Government announces independent review of electronic voting for industrial action ballot.

  • Sir Ken Knight CBE to undertake independent review of electronic voting for industrial action ballots
  • review to look at the security implications of electronic voting including interception and hacking

The former Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser for England, Sir Ken Knight CBEQFSM, will lead an independent review of electronic voting for industrial action ballots, the government has announced.

The independent review will investigate the issues surrounding trades unions using electronic voting for industrial action ballots, including:

  • risks of interception, impersonation, hacking, fraud or misleading or irregular practices associated with electronic balloting
  • if systems can be safeguarded to reduce risk of intimidation of union members and protect anonymity of voters
  • security and resilience of existing practices of balloting union members

The review has been launched following an agreement to investigate the implications of electronic voting methods in the Trade Union Act 2016.

Business Minister Margot James said:

The Trade Union Act ensures strikes will only ever happen as a result of a clear, positive decision by those entitled to vote. The Knight Review will explore the issues and implications of allowing electronic voting in industrial action ballots and I look forward to reading his findings.

Sir Ken Knight said:

I am pleased to play my part in considering how best to ensure that, at the time of industrial tension, individual trades union members have their voice heard in making key decisions about the future of the industry they work in.

From 2007 until January 2013, Sir Ken was the government’s Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser for England, advising ministers and senior officials on fire policy matters and, providing advice during emergencies together with operational advice on preparedness and response during the 2012 Olympics.

Since leaving his position as the government’s Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser for England in 2013, Sir Ken has been providing independent consultancy advice in the public and private sector.

In December 2014, following reports of voting irregularity and malpractice in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government appointed Sir Ken as the Lead Commissioner using Directions under the Local Government Act 1999, a role Sir Ken continues to undertake today.

See the terms of reference for further information.

 

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