How we use your personal data
Privacy notice – electoral services
Everyone working for Electoral Services has a legal duty to keep and process information about you in accordance with the law.
The Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) and Returning Officer (RO) are data controllers who collect and use information about residents to enable us to carry out specific functions for which we are responsible and to provide you with a statutory service.
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).
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?
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.
How long for?
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.
Occasions when your information needs to be disclosed (shared) include:
- To contracted printers to print your Poll cards, Postal Packs & other electoral material
- 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
- where the health and safety of others is at risk,
- when the law requires us to pass on information under special circumstances,
- crime prevention or the detection of fraud as part of the National Fraud Initiative
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 in the Electoral Register, is controlled by the Cabinet Office via the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service.
To verify your identity, the data you provide will be processed by the IER 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 IER Digital Service. You can find more information about this here:
The Department for Work and Pensions who use data provided to verify the identity of new applicants, and the Cabinet Office will inform the old local authority of people who have moved area
The Open Register
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. The law requires that we make the Open Register available for sale.
You can opt out of this version at any time and are given the opportunity annually as part of the Canvass of all households.
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 rectified or erased.
You have the right to opt out of the Open Version of the Register, at any time, and we must remove you from this version and tell the statutory recipients in the next 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 Commissioner.
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 privacy notice, please tell us. Contact the Data Protection Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also complain to the Information Commissioner: https://ico.org.uk/