Our council

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

ERS Council
The 2017-2019 Electoral Reform Society Council

The Council consists of 15 members, elected every other year by the membership using 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.

About the council

 The Council is the Electoral Reform Society’s governing body.

The Council meets four times a year. It is made up of 15 members who are elected every other year and serve for a two-year term. All fully paid-up members are allowed to stand for election and to vote.

What do Council members do?

Council provides creative challenge and independent scrutiny on issues such as strategy, planning and business performance and it works with the senior staff team to ensure that high standards of governance are upheld.

The Council meets 4 times a year in central London (expenses are reimbursed). Members of the Council are also the Directors of the company, with collective responsibility for ensuring that the organisation is legally compliant. The Council:

  • Establishes the Society’s strategic direction and aims, in conjunction with the senior staff;
  • Ensures accountability for the Society’s performance;
  • Ensures that the Society is managed with probity and integrity.

How do Council members get elected?

There are 15 places on the Council, and elections take place every two years with all seats on the Council up for election. Candidates are voted in by the Single Transferable Vote (STV) method.

Why get involved?

Council members have a central role to play in deciding the key priorities for the Society.

It’s an important job and we need members with the right balance of ideas, skills, and experience. This is a special opportunity – available only to members – to help shape the Society’s agenda and to inject energy and enthusiasm into the job of building a better democracy in Britain.

What skills and experience do I need?

Council members can bring invaluable experience and perspectives from all walks of life.

As the governing body of a rapidly expanding national campaign and research organisation, the Council needs active and engaged members – particularly those with some of the following attributes:

  • Accountancy or financial management skills
  • Experience of leading or working on high-profile campaigns
  • Experience of working in politics
  • Media, press or marketing experience
  • Knowledge, understanding and commitment to the not-for-profit sector
  • Experience of a governance role
  • Strategic vision and sound, independent judgement
  • Human resources qualifications and/or experience at a senior level
  • Experience in business development and/or fundraising

The Electoral Reform Society Council

Jon WalshJon Walsh
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, Jon works in Public Affairs for the University of Southampton.

Justina CruikshankJustina Cruikshank
Vice Chair – Management

Justina is Commercial Director of The Brew, a start-up which runs membership based workspaces for entrepreneurs, freelancer and small businesses in Shoreditch.

 

Ruth KellyRuth Kelly
Deputy Chair – Campaigns

Ruth has spent the last few years making sense of international trade and tax rules and supporting campaigning to change them. She has experience working on high-profile campaigns for Oxfam and ActionAid, including raising money for campaigning across Europe to push for changes to unfair tax rules.

Ruth is now based in York doing research on how storytelling can help people imagine and promote different ways of organising politics, society and the economy. She’s keen to see a much wider range of people having real influence in UK politics, especially as the country moves towards a new political setup.

Andrea MARCELLIAndrea Marcelli
Treasurer

Andrea is a qualified chartered accountant and currently works for an international business consulting group managing a wide portfolio of SMEs from different sectors, including non-profit.

He is experienced at working with boards and committees, providing strategic advice and financial scrutiny.

Philip ColePhilip Cole

A linguist by background, Philip worked for 25 years for the European Parliament in Luxembourg and is now a passionate campaigner for stopping Brexit. He chairs Cheltenham for Europe and is also active in the European Movement. In the distant past, he was secretary of the Surrey Campaign for Electoral Reform and secretary of the Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform but has been resolutely non-party for many years now. He was an (unsuccessful) candidate on three occasions in local government elections – twice at the district level, once at the county level. Philip is focused on promoting the case for STV and in encouraging young people to become involved in the campaign.

Abigail EmeryAbigail Emery

Abigail is a civil servant, specialising in digital service transformation and behavioural insights, with experience in three central government departments. She currently leads on optimising digital services in HM Revenue & Customs as part of the largest Behavioural Insights team in the UK government, applying concepts from economics and psychology to improve the user experience and boost tax compliance.

Her academic background is in economics, and she has previously volunteered as a trustee for United World Colleges (Great Britain), leading on digital communications and data management.

Victor ChamberlinVictor Chamberlain

Victor is a Corporate Communications Manager for an affordable housing developer in London. He is a former Manchester City Councillor and parliamentary candidate.

He has worked for the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors (ALDC) and in the Liberal Democrats’ Parliamentary Support Team. Victor sits on the Liberal Democrats Federal Conference Committee and ALDC Management Committee.

Lisa FrenchLisa French

Lisa first became involved in the electoral reform movement during the AV referendum and has been campaigning for democratic reform ever since. She is also a member of Unlock Democracy’s Council and was previously Chair of a local reform group in Leicestershire.

Lisa currently works in governance at the Open University and has experience in project management and information analysis.

Kerri PrinceKerri Prince

Kerri currently works as a researcher for a Member of Parliament and has been passionate about electoral reform since getting involved in politics in 2010. Elected to a Town Council at the age of 18, engaging young people in the political process has been a key passion for Kerri for a number of years.She believes that our current political processes are outdated and not suitable for modern Britain.

Chris FinlaysonChris Finlayson

Chris has been an ERS Councillor since 2015, having a long-standing interest in political and electoral reform, and having been an active supporter of the Society’s campaigns in recent years. He does not presently have an affiliation with any political parties. In life, Chris is a university lecturer, researching physics at Aberystwyth University.

Chris is a strong supporter of democratic reform of the House of Lords; striving to help keep such reform further up the agenda, both in terms of the Society’s aims and in wider lobbying. Whilst believing that FPTP-based democracy is a thoroughly outdated and failed concept, he also advocates the pragmatic re-alignment of certain Society policy priorities/strategies, with a goal of achieving favourable incremental outcomes in the medium term (e.g. STV elections for the Welsh Assembly).

Andrew CopsonAndrew Copson

Andrew has worked for Oxford University Student Union, Citizenship Foundation and Humanists UK, where he has been Chief Executive since 2010 and has wide experience as a member of nonprofit Boards in the education, human rights and other sectors. ERS was the first organisation he ever joined, having had an interest in electoral reform since his school days, bunking off to stay home and watch the live report of the Jenkins Commission.

Ken RitchieKen 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 SharpKeith 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.

Joe SousekJoe Sousek

Joe is a facilitator for Make Votes Matter and an executive member of the Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform. Prior to becoming a full-time democracy campaigner in 2016, he worked as a civil servant in operational, communications and international policy roles at the Home Office and Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Owen WinterOwen Winter

Owen was elected as a Member of the UK Youth Parliament for Cornwall in February 2015. He is an active campaigner for electoral reform, young people and against austerity. He became involved with the electoral reform movement when he started a petition for a fairer voting system around the time of the 2015 general election. This petition received over 235,000 signatures and was handed to David Cameron as part of the 477,000 strong collection of signatures after the election. Owen also runs the ‘Voting Reform Team’ Facebook group with over 4,000 members who support electoral reform.