Many venues will be booked out for vote counting duties during the Scottish referendum in September, including Edinburgh’s Royal Highland Centre, which is booked 9-22 September.
Edinburgh Council is supporting Chief Counting Officer, Mary Pitcaithly, who is responsible for declaring results. Each local council will declare their results and then send them to the centre’s Highland Hall electronically, with the final result announced by Pitcaithly in the Highland Hall in the early hours of 19 September.
The Lowland Hall is booked for the main media centre, although major media broadcasters will be set up in Highland Hall so that they can get views of the stage. ITV, Channel 4, BBC, Channel 5, CNN and Sky will be covering the event. The International Media European Broadcasting Union will be feeding out to Associated Press.
The Edinburgh venue’s MacRobert Pavillion will also be used during the referendum procedures.
The count will involve a huge operation in terms of security, ICT and energy and power issues.
The Highland Hall will employ up to 600 count staff plus management and the Chief Counting Officer’s team. There will be others attending as observers, as well as campaign agents.
The reasons for choosing the RHC include it having the space to undertake the huge process and its experience of election counts in the past.
CN understands those running the referendum looked also at the Edinburgh ICC and Edinburgh Castle before plumping for the RHC as the HQ.
Stephen Hutt, Chief Executive of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) said: “Hosting one of the most important events in Scotland’s history is an absolute honour for the Royal Highland Centre. To know that we were chosen above other well-respected venues in the city says a lot about just how capable our venue has proven itself to be in the past when we’ve held previous election counts. The venue and its staff are well prepared to deal with such an important political event, the logistics of which are extremely complicated.
“We are thrilled to be playing a small, but significant role, in what is a historic day for Scotland and look forward to having the eyes of the world on us in September. The Royal Highland Centre will be ready to welcome the count staff, Council and Government members, and the world’s media, to Ingliston.”
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