Nature of work
The Electoral Registration Officer and the Returning Officer have a statutory duty to process certain personal data to maintain the electoral register and for the purposes of administering an election.
Why we need your information
We use information about citizens, Electors and Voters to enable us to carry out specific functions for which we are responsible and to provide you with a statutory service.
Your records are used to help ensure that we provide you with the service that you need. We will, based on your nationality, include your name on the Electoral Register so that you are able to vote by your chosen method.
The Electoral Register is a public document which can be viewed by appointment only under strict control.
It is important that your records are accurate and up-to-date as they will help make sure that our staff are able to provide you with the help, advice or support you need.
If you do not provide us with this information then eligible citizens will not be able to vote and you may be breaking the law.
Type/Classes of information processed
Where relevant we process a variety of information relating to individuals including:
- basic details about you, for example, name, address, date of birth and nationality
- unique identifiers (such as your National Insurance number),
- scanned application forms and dates of any letters of correspondence,
- notes about any relevant circumstances that you have told us
- details and records about the service you have received,
- your previous or any redirected address
- The other occupants in your home
- If you are over 76 or under 16/17
- Whether you have chosen to opt out of the Open version of the Register
Who information is processed about
We keep records about potential and actual electors, voters, citizens, candidates and their agents, staff employed at an election and the people we need to pay. These may be written down (manual records), or kept on a computer (electronic records).
Who information may be shared with
To verify your identity, the data you provide will be processed by the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service managed by the Cabinet Office. As part of this process your data will be shared with the Department of Work and Pensions and the Cabinet Office suppliers that are data processors for the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service.
You can find more information about this here: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
The full register is published once a year and is updated every month and can only be supplied to the following people and organisations:
- British Library
- National Library of Wales
- National Library of Scotland
- Returning Officer for local government election
- UK Statistical Authority
- The Electoral Commission
- Parliamentary Boundary Commission for England
- Local Government Boundary Commission for England
- Jury Central Summoning Bureau
- Elected Representatives (MPs, MEPs, Local Councillors, Parish Councillors, Combined Authority Mayor)
- Police and Crime Commissioner
- Candidates standing for election
- Local constituency parties
- Registered political parties
- The Council who appointed the ERO
- Parish councils
- Other eligible organisations, such as any police force in Great Britain, Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (Reserve), National Crime Agency (previously the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the Police Information Technology Organisation), any body of constables established under enactment, Security Service, GCHQ and Secret Intelligence Service
- A public library or local authority archives service
- Police Area Returning Officer for a Police and Crime Commissioner election
- Government departments and other bodies
- Credit reference agencies
- National Fraud Initiative
We also share your information with our software providers and contracted printers.
Why we share your information
Anyone who receives information from us has a legal duty to keep it confidential. We are required by law to report certain information to appropriate authorities – for example:
- where a formal court order has been issued
- to law enforcement agencies for the prevention or detection of a crime
- to the Jury Central Summoning Bureau indicating those persons who are aged 76 or over and are no longer eligible for jury service
The process of checking citizens’ personal identifiers to ensure eligibility for inclusion on the Electoral Register, is controlled by the Cabinet Office via the Individual Electoral Registration (IER) Digital Service.
- The Department for Work and Pensions who use data provided to verify the identity of new applicants
- The Cabinet Office will inform the old local authority of people who have moved area
In accordance with Regulation 20 of the Representation of the People (Annual Canvass) (Amendment) Regulations 2019, we are required to share the electoral register with the Cabinet Office as part of Canvass Reform.
If your details are in the Open version of the Electoral Register, your name and address can be sold to third parties who may use it for any purpose. You can opt out of this version at any time by either completing our online form, contacting the office or you are given the opportunity annually as part of the canvass of all households.
Anyone can inspect the full electoral register.
- Inspection of the register takes place under supervision
- Extracts from the register can only be made by hand written notes
- Information taken must not be used for direct marketing purposes, in accordance with data protection legislation, unless it has been published in the open register
- Anyone who fails to observe these conditions is committing a criminal offence and will be charged a penalty of up to £5,000.
How long we will keep your information
In order to provide you with this service, we rely on our legal obligation. The Electoral Registration Officer & Returning Officer are obliged to process your personal data in relation to preparing for and conducting Elections. Your details will be kept and updated in accordance with our legal obligations and in line with statutory retention periods.
Information will not be shared with overseas recipients.
Home Address of Candidates
We will publish the home address of each candidate on the Statement of Persons Nominated and the Ballot Paper, unless the candidate has notified us to withhold it on the Home Address Form, which forms part of their nomination.
If a candidate is deemed to be their own election agent, then we will publish the office address of the election agent on the Notice of Election Agents’ Names and Offices, even if this is their home address.
NHS Shielding Patient List
NHS Digital, as Data Controller for the NHS Shielded Patient List, has confirmed that local authority election teams can send communications about voting options for the May 2021 elections to clinically extremely vulnerable people.
We plan to write to residents on the NHS Shielding Patient List before the May 2021 election to support residents in making the right decision about how to vote in May 2021.