Case Study: Manchester Council, ElectIT Vote Count Attendee Management
Faced with the logistics of registering 2,000 people to count votes and observe tallying during the Manchester City Council’s May elections, the local Electoral Services Unit knew where to turn. SG World, a visitor management and health and safety solutions company, had the experience and expertise to make the night a resounding success.
SG World provided specialist ElectIT software, wireless Blue Tooth technology and unique barcoded ID wristbands to process approximately 2000 participants at the City Council vote count. SG World’s innovative software solution made it possible to effectively register 900 attendees in the space of 20 minutes following doors opening at the Manchester Central Convention Complex.
Adam Casey, Head of Operations for SG World, explains: “It happened exactly as it should at any event, people were able to be identified and enter quickly with a minimum of inconvenience, and the organisers had complete control over people exiting and re-entering the venue”.
Security staff at Manchester Central were stationed with barcode scanners to capture data on attendees’ wristbands. Entry was controlled by a red-light, green-light system, a simple solution which masks the technology that was hard at work behind the scenes. The traffic lights allowed attendees to come and go as they pleased while maintaining security for the event without the bottleneck and potential confusion of referencing a manual check-list.
The flexible configuration behind ElectIT means SG World can provide as many, or as little, support services required behind the core software. At another North West council which also used ElectIT to secure their May elections, an ‘out-of-the-box’ model was installed and set up over the phone. The user-friendly software design, combined with an optional mailing service for registered attendees meant the council was up and running independently for a problem free election night. The ElectIT software is part of SG World’s VisIT Visitor Management software suite. The programme is designed specifically to manage attendees during elections and address problems specific to government such as creating a process which could be used by third party security staff with a minimum of training. Templates and instructions were posted to the event attendees in advance and captured in the ElectIT contact database.
A particular concern for Manchester City Council was that, despite strict limits on guests, candidates in previous years had not held to restrictions and visitor passes would be shared throughout a large and unauthorised group of people. As well as overcrowding, the security concerns were evident when dealing with attendees with a wide and passionate range of political beliefs. SG World’s solution was to issue wristbands which were virtually impossible to pass between visitors. SG World mailed the wristbands in advance to registered attendees, and were able to quickly print out replacements for people who had lost or forgotten their wristbands. The result was, on the night, only authorised attendees entered or left the count.
The success of the Manchester election night was the culmination of months of planning and close working between SG World and council staff. SG World provided support and advice to ensure the post Election vote count had the right attendee management system in place.
Martin Ridgeway, IT & Events Director for Manchester City Council, said: “SG World’s professional and expedient solution meant observers and vote counters spent a minimum of time waiting in queues for security checks and were able to get right to the business of serving the public interest”. SG World and Manchester City Council are now looking forward to deploying their experience and manage visitors at the upcoming vote count for the National Police Elections in November 2012. Using the knowledge they gained from the recent success in Manchester, they will work together to make sure the strategy and planning for the event once again comes together. By putting in place another efficient and secure visitor management system, the SG World solution will benefit local authorities and participants in local democracy.