Thursday, October 16, 2008

How to organise a hustings - helpful hints from a Returning Officer

I have noticed that, beyond the Returning Officer fraternity, there seems to be little sense of how a hustings meeting should work. So here's a handy little guide which might help you...

1. Decide upon your preferred format.

2. Find a neutral chair - if you don't, you'll draw a complaint from anyone who feels that they have been unfairly treated and, guess what, it's your fault.

3. Invite the candidates, telling them what the format will be and who will be chairing. This gives the candidates an equal chance to prepare, and perform at their best, ensuring that attendees have the best information on which to make their choice.

4. Don't change the format at the last minute, especially if you have followed instruction 3.

5. Apply the same rules to all candidates, ensuring that no candidate is unduly advantaged.

Easy, really. In fact, so easy that you'd think anyone would take it as common sense...

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