The Council

ERS electoral reform society
A democratic society
The Electoral Reform Society's elected council

The Council

The Council is the governing body of the Society, with ultimate responsibility for its governance and administration.

The Council consists of 15 members, elected every other year by the Single Transferable Vote. Members of the Council elect four of their group to act as Officers and undertake specific administrative duties on behalf of the Council. Find out more about our Council.

The Electoral Reform Society Council

Amy Dodd

Amy has spent the last several years managing and winning campaigns with the Labour Party - from local elections to national campaigns.

Her work on these campaigns has helped her to develop a broad and diverse network throughout the Labour Party and civil society organisations. She has an excellent knowledge and understanding of campaigns and campaign delivery, from budgets to strategy.

Jon Walsh
Vice Chair

Jon has experience as a constituency organiser and National Campaigns Officer for the Liberal Democrats. His experience has seen him working on and running campaigns across the country and in most types of election currently held in Britain including managing London for the Yes to AV campaign.

In addition to his role on the Council as Treasurer Jon is the External Governance Adviser for the Royal College of Nursing and works in Public Affairs for the University of Southampton.

Clare Coatman

Clare has worked on a range of projects within the democratic reform sector including as National Coordinator for High Visibility with Yes to Fairer Votes, Head of Operations for Power2010 and Participation Manager for the Convention on Modern Liberty.

As one of the founders of Take Back Parliament Clare Coatman is an experienced activist and has been involved in activism since being a school student spokesperson during the Iraq War protests. She was previously Marketing and Fundraising Manager for openDemocracy and now works at Friends of the Earth.

Andrew May
Deputy Chair (Campaigns and Research)

Andy May joined the ERS Council in September 2011. He currently works as a consultant at a public relations firm. He began his career five years ago working for the Liberal Democrats, scoring success in local election campaigns before moving to the marketing department at Amnesty International UK.

In 2010/11 he worked on several constitutional reform campaigns including Power2010, Take Back Parliament and Yes to Fairer Votes where he was responsible for a team of staff delivering the ‘Yes2AV’ regional activism and media effort.

He has a broad range of experience covering advocacy, grassroots campaigning, fundraising and direct marketing which he hopes to draw upon on ERS Council.

Jessica Asato

Jessica is a former Director of the Labour Yes campaign for the 2011 AV referendum.

She is Chair of the Fabian Society and a Councillor in the London Borough of Islington, as well as School Governor at Tufnell Park School and Founder of the Gareth Butler History Trust.


Dr Crispin Allard

Crispin started as an Intern at the Electoral Reform Society in 1994, before being elected to its Council in 1995. He has been Campaign Committee Chair (1997 – 1998), Treasurer (1998 – 2008) and Deputy Chair (Group Relations) (2008 – 2011). He was a constituency organiser in the Yes campaign.

Crispin is Chair of Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform, which he co-founded in 2011 to bring a more strategic focus to the party’s approach to delivering reform. He has also been a local councillor. Outside politics, Crispin works for a leading consultancy, specialising in operational research.

Chris Carrigan

Chris Carrigan is the founder of Esteliant a company that specialises in complex mutli-organisational change and the creation of networked organisations.

Before creating Esteliant Chris was a partner at Accenture, one of the world’s leading management consultancy firms. He now works predominantly with International charities on global restructuring.

Chris is an active electoral reform campaigner and was responsible for the creation of the Reform Groups Network following his role as chairman of the successful Oxford Yes to Fairer Votes Campaign.

Stephen Curran

Stephen is a committed supporter of voting reform. He was the first Councillor elected in last year’s STV-PR elections and currently leads on education in Scotland’s largest local authority with experience in senior roles: heading council finances; leading Service Reform; integrating local health with social care; and overseeing the budget and scrutiny of policing.

In the Scottish Parliament election of May 2011, Stephen was Labour and Co-operative candidate in the hotly contested Glasgow Southside seat won by SNP deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon - the constituency saw one of Scotland’s best results in the AV referendum that day.

Stephen has a track record in planning and running successful campaigns, winning four times as election agent in marginal constituencies and contesting four local government elections, winning and retaining a marginal ward under STV-PR.

Sara Hyde

Sara works as a theatre practitioner and as a counsellor and facilitator with women in the criminal justice system. Her Masters dissertation considered the impact of personal and political voice, as found through arts interventions, on a person’s ability to desist from crime post-prison release.

Sara is on the working group for a new cross-party initiative, No-one Ever Told me About Politics and is an active member of the Fabian Women’s Network. She longs to see new and unusual voices from unexpected quarters punctuating our politics to create a more robust and active democracy, to the benefit of all in our society.

Tim Knight

Tim Knight has worked for over forty years in analysis and re-engineering of payment and welfare processes; with IBM, and more recently as an independant consultant. However, his real interest has always been in ecomonic welfare and democratic-governance policy.

Perhaps as a result of his professional background, he has been continually frustrated at the degree to which the spurious complexity and incoherence of existing terminology and administrative processes appears to pre-empt development and implementation of coherent policy.

He hopes to bring his process re-engineering techniques and experience to the ongoing debate about reform of electoral processes in order to optimise democratic governance.

Michael Meadowcroft

Michael Meadowcroft has been active in Liberal politics for over fifty years and has been an elected officer at every level of the party.

Until recently he was chair of Leeds Liberal Democrats. He was a Leeds City Councillor for fifteen years and a West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Councillor for six years. He was the Liberal MP for Leeds West, 1983-87. Over the past twenty years he has led or been a member of fifty-two pro-democracy missions to thirty-six different countries, mainly for the United Nations or the European Union.

Michael was the Chair of the Electoral Reform Society, 1989-93 and was previously a trustee of the Arthur McDougall Trust. He has a large archive of publications - mostly available on his website - including three editions of "The Politics of Electoral Reform." He appears regularly on television and radio.

Paul Pettinger

Paul has a longstanding commitment to electoral and constitutional reform, expressed primarily through activism in the Liberal Democrats, having joined the Party in 1992. He has experience of working in membership led organisations, both as an officer and member of an elected executive – City Councillor (2004-2008). Paul was a member of staff of the Liberal Democrat youth wing (2006-2009) and campaigns officer for the British Humanist Association (2009-10). He is now national coordinator of an ecumenical faith school reform campaign coalition and the Accord Coalition (2010-to date).

Paul is knowledgeable about the social and political scene in the UK. He is educated to Master’s level in Politics, is a former researcher to a member of the House of Lords and now has a professional background in public affairs.

Ken Ritchie

Ken served as Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society from 1997 to 2010. Since leaving the Society’s staff in 2010, he has remained an active campaigner for reform. Ken co-ordinated the AV referendum campaign in Northamptonshire as well as speaking in debates in other parts of the country. He co-authored a book on the referendum campaign and wrote another on ‘Fixing our broken democracy’ (as well as one on Western Sahara). Ken has also assisted a Constitution Unit research project on voting systems in Europe and in 2011 he worked at Westminster as Co-ordinator of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group.

Ken chairs the newly formed ‘Reform Foundation’ which seeks constitutional change that makes politics more accountable to people, and serves as a board member of ‘Republic’ which seeks an elected head of state with well-defined and limited constitutional powers and often speaks on the issue. He also sits on the Executive Committee of the Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform (LCER).

Ken added to his experience of electoral observation in Armenia earlier this year. Locally, he is an active member of Unlock Democracy and in May 2013 he stood in the county elections, adding to a long list of defeats (including as parliamentary candidate on three occasions) at the hands of FPTP.

Keith Sharp

Keith was Society Deputy Chair, Group Relations between September 2011 and July 2013. He was also Vice Chair between 2009 and 2011 and previously served as Campaigns Committee chair, a position he held for five years. He writes and speaks on electoral reform, having joined the Society in 1978 with the belief that the First Past the Post system cripples our democracy.

He has also been a parliamentary candidate and local councillor for the
Liberal Democrats, and is a charity trustee in north London. Away from
politics, Keith is a marketing and public affairs professional.

Damien Welfare

Damien is a barrister, specialising in constitutional issues in local government, and in Freedom of Information and data protection. He was a Special Adviser to the Leader of the House of Lords (Lord Richard) in 1997-98, and worked on the early stages of the reform legislation that removed most of the hereditary peers in 1999. Before that, Damien worked as a Parliamentary lobbyist for local government during the Thatcher/Major years.

Damien has been Co-ordinator of the Campaign for a Democratic Upper House (CDUH) since 2000, a group campaigning within the Labour Party for a wholly or largely elected second chamber. He has been a Labour Parliamentary Candidate on four occasions: Chipping Barnet (North London) in 2001 and 2010; NW Norfolk (King’s Lynn) in 2005; and Spelthorne (Surrey) in 1987. Damien has also been a local government candidate in the London Borough of Islington and is a member of the Executive of the Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform (LCER).