I am a cautious soul, something which comes with being a bureaucrat, I guess. And so, having got my head around being a Returning Officer again, my first thought was to read the rules and work out how the proposed schedule fits into the rest of my life.
My first thought was, "I really need to talk to the Regional Executive.", as they appoint a shortlisting committee which is subject to my approval (I am tasked with ensuring that it is properly reflective of the Regional Party's membership). The Regional Executive is expected to appoint the shortlisting committee in a window that opened on 6 March and closes on 30 April. Given that I was only notified of my appointment on 3 April, my first problem was apparent, in that there could already have been a nominated shortlisting committee in place.
So, being an organised sort of person, I contacted the Regional Chair to see if they had done anything about this, only to be told, in no uncertain manner, that the Regional Party had other, more pressing, concerns - I can't help but agree that the London Mayoral and Assembly elections are rather more obviously important just now.
However, this does mean that I can fulfil the obligation laid down by paragraph 5 of the not actually finalised European Selection Rules, i.e.
"The Returning Officer must brief the Regional Executive(s) on the selection process before the appointment of the shortlisting committee."
I have left a message with London's Regional Secretary, Peter Ramrayka, hoping to set something up, and I guess that I ought to collect some data on the Regional Party, in order to be able to make a proper judgement as to the representative nature (or otherwise) of any proposed shortlisting committee. I'm also going to have to read the regional constitution in order to ensure that the correct procedure is followed when proposing the shortlisting committee's membership.
What all of this means, of course, is that the London selection process is already behind schedule. It's retrievable, no doubt, but just squeezes the timetable a touch.
This could be fun, couldn't it...