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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 18 November, 2013

 

Report of the Managing Director

 

Individual Elector Registration

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         The purpose of this report is to advise Members on the introduction of Individual Elector Registration within the Vale of Glamorgan.

Recommendations

1.         That the contents of the report be noted

2.         That arrangements are made for UK Governments Cabinet Office to deliver a presentation to members on the subject of Individual Elector Registration at an agreed time in the near future.

 

Reasons for the Recommendations

1&2   Increase awareness on Individual Elector Registration

 

Background

2.         Residents historically have registered to vote in elections by either (1) completing a canvass form indicating the names of residents in the property over 18 (to vote) and over 16 in preparation for their 18th birthday, or (2) requesting a rolling registration form outside of the canvass period. One form is completed by one member of the household for all occupiers eligible to vote.

3.         With the introduction of Individual Elector Registration (IER) all electors must register individually from June 2014 and have their application verified before being added to the register.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.         IER will bring about a complete change in how residents register to vote; as a result it will be necessary to ensure residents are aware of these changes prior to June 2014.

5.         The new process is as follows,

6.         Existing electors on the register will be confirmed where their details match with those held by DWP. Once matched they will receive a letter confirming they will be included on the Electoral Register for the coming year. Those not matched will be invited to register and will have until December 2015 to register under new system

7.         In addition to the DWP Data Match, the Council will also carry out a local data match against databases such as Council Tax in an attempt to further raise the overall automatically matched figure.

8.         Properties / residents not automatically matched will be sent a Household Enquiry Form (HEF). This will be similar to the old style registration form, whereby one person will add the names of all eligible voters in the property and return. Rather than the residents being added to the electoral register, all eligible voters will then receive an Individual Registration Form, which in addition to name; will now request additional information such as National Insurance Number and Date of Birth. It is anticipated online applications will be accepted from June 2014

9.         The Vale of Glamorgan took part in a dry run of the Data Matching exercise in July 2013 wherein 82% of our current Electoral Register matched with the database held by the DWP. The higher the automatically matched figure is following the live data match the fewer canvass forms will be sent in 2014/15.

10.      There will be a national advertising campaign organized by the UK Government Cabinet Office to promote this change during 2014. The Council will also be undertaking local publicity and advertising, to ensure as many voters as possible are registered and to minimise the confusion this change may bring about.

11.      A lack of awareness of the change may cause confusion amongst voters leading to reluctance to give out the required information which in turn could reduce the overall voter registration rate for the Vale of Glamorgan.

12.      Increased awareness through local actions in addition to national media coverage should mitigate this risk.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

13.      Additional funding for the transition to Individual Elector Registration is being allocated by the UK Governments Cabinet Office. Some additional temporary posts may be required to deal with the initial increase in workload. Due to the Councils assurances to the UK Government of being able to deliver IER on time, we have been allocated funding of £41,924 to facilitate this change.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

14.      None directly

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

15.      These changes are reflected nationally

Crime and Disorder Implications

16.      None directly

 

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

17.      All new paperwork will be available in English and Welsh. It will be particularly important to ensure that registration rates are high across ALL sections of the community.

Corporate/Service Objectives

18.      Service Objective - To successfully implement IER within the Vale of Glamorgan

Policy Framework and Budget

19.      None

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

20.      None directly

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

21.      Corporate Resources

Background Papers

Draft Legislation for IER can be found at

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2013/9780111101896/contents

 

Contact Officer

Tom Evans - Business Support Manager, Customer Relations

 

Officers Consulted

Managing Director

Electoral Services Team Leader

 

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies - Managing Director

 

 

 

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