Everyone working for Electoral Services has a legal duty to keep and process information about you in accordance with the law.
This Privacy Notice explains why we ask for your personal information, how that information will be used and how you can access your records.
Why is information recorded about me?
We use information about electors to enable us to carry out specific functions for which we are responsible and to provide you with a statutory service.
We do this as a legal obligation to comply with the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 and Representation of the People Regulations 2001. This ensures you are registered to vote in any election or referendum for which you are eligible. The law makes it compulsory to provide information to an electoral registration officer for inclusion in the full register.
We keep records about potential and actual electors, candidates and their agents and all staff employed by either the Electoral Registration Officer or Returning Officer. These may be written (manual records) or kept on a computer (electronic records).
These records may include:
- basic details about you, for example, name, address, date of birth and nationality
- unique identifiers (such as your NI number)
- scanned application forms & 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
What is the information used for?
The Electoral Registration Officer & Returning Officer are obliged to process your personal data in relation to preparing for and conducting Elections.
We will, based on your nationality, include your name on the Electoral Register so that you are able to vote in those elections you are entitled to vote in.
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 residents will not be able to vote and you may be breaking the law.
How long do we keep it for?
Your details will be kept and updated in accordance with our legal obligations and in line with statutory retention periods.
Who will your information be shared with?
The information you provide is held in electoral registers which are managed by electoral registration officers who, using information received, keep two registers – the full electoral register and the open (edited) register.
The full register, which is published once a year, and any monthly updates can only be supplied to the following people and organisations:
• To registered political parties, elected representatives, candidates, agents and other permitted participants who are able to use it for Electoral Purposes only
• Credit reference agencies, the British Library, UK Statistics Authority, the Electoral Commission and other statutory recipients of the Electoral Register
• Details of whether you have voted (but not how you have voted) to those who are entitled in law to receive it after an election
• To the Jury Central Summoning Bureau indicating those persons who are aged 76 or over and are no longer eligible for jury service
Occasions when your information may be disclosed or shared include:
• To contracted printers to print your Poll cards, Postal Packs & other electoral material
• where the health and safety of others is at risk
• when the law requires us to pass on information under special circumstances
• to law enforcement agencies for the prevention or detection of a crime
• crime prevention or the detection of fraud as part of the National Fraud Initiative
• where a formal court order has been issued
The process of checking applicants’ personal identifiers to ensure eligibility for inclusion in the Electoral Register, is controlled by the Cabinet Office via the 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
Information will be processed within the European Economic Area (EEA) and will not be shared with overseas recipients.
Anyone who receives information from us has a legal duty to keep it securely and only use it for the purpose it has been supplied for.
It is a crime for anyone who has a copy of the full register to pass information from this register on to others, if they do not have a lawful reason to see it.
Anyone can inspect the full electoral register:
- Inspection of the register will be under supervision
- They can take extracts from the register, but only 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 version
- Anyone who fails to observe these conditions is committing a criminal offence and will be charged a penalty of up to £5,000
The open register contains the same type of information as the full register, but it only contains the names of electors who have not asked to have their details excluded from it. The open register is not used for elections or referendums. It is updated and published every month and can be sold to any person, organisation or company for a wide range of purposes such as direct marketing or by online directory firms.
You can choose whether or not to have your personal details included in the open version of the register; however, they will be included unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register will not affect your right to vote and you can do this at any time.
Can I see my records?
The Data Protection Act 2018 allows you to find out what information is held about you, on paper and computer records. This is known as ‘right of subject access’ and applies to your Electoral Services records along with all other personal records.
If you wish to see a copy of your records you should contact the Data Protection Officer. You are entitled to receive a copy of your records free of charge, within a month.
In certain circumstances access to your records may be limited, for example, if the records you have asked for contain information relating to another person.
Do I have Other Rights?
The Data Protection Act 2018 allows you other rights; for example if there is an error in your records you have the right to make sure it is corrected or removed.
If your details are on 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 have the right to opt out of this version at any time. If you opt out of the open version of the register we will remove you from this version and tell the statutory recipients in the next register update.
You have the right to be told if we have made a mistake whilst processing your data and we will self-report breaches to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
If you would like to know more about how we use your information, or if for any reason you do not wish to have your information used in any of the ways described in this information, please tell us. Contact the Data Protection Officer at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01372 732000.
Where can I get advice?
For independent advice about data protection, privacy and data sharing issues, you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) at:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 if you prefer to use a national rate number.