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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 07/03/2006
Electoral Registration - Proposed Co-ordinated National Register



APPENDIX P
Waverley Borough Council

EXECUTIVE – 7TH MARCH 2006

Title:
ELECTORAL REGISTRATION – PROPOSED CO-ORDINATED NATIONAL REGISTER

[Wards Affected: All]
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Summary and purpose:

This report outlines a consultation document from the Government on its proposals for a co-ordinated on-line record of electors (CORE). It sets out the broad outline of a response which officers will send to the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA).

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Environmental implications:

There could be some saving in paper usage connected with the proposals for the co-ordinated record of electors.

Social / community implications:

There could be significant social and community implications arising from people’s fears about misuse of centrally held data about themselves. There could also be some impact on the levels of electoral registration if people were worried about the implications.

One of the Government’s aims is to reduce the possibility of any fraud at elections, and this is intended to increase confidence in the democratic process.

E-Government implications:

There could be major E-Government implications in that the Government is intending to make data available at a national level to authorised bodies, and also to make it simpler for electors to update their registration details on line. Waverley already offers both telephone and on-line options for electors to confirm that there are no changes to their details.

Resource and legal implications:

There could be some resource implications involved in setting up the system, but the Government will provide funding for the main IT infrastructure. There could also be some worries about use of the data, which could expose the Council to the risk of challenges about data protection.

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CORE Project

1. This was launched by the Government in 2004. Its aims were to 1) standardise key elements of the different types of electoral registration software, used by around 400 locally based electoral registration offices in the UK 2) building on standardisation, to establish arrangements to provide access to this data, at a national level, for authorised persons and organisations and 3) individual electors might be able to access, confirm and possibly request changes to their own details on-line.

2. The Government has been working on the project for some time and it has a range of other objectives as follows:-

to help improve the integrity of electoral registers

3. The Government has consulted the Electoral Commission and has also commissioned consultants, Accenture E-Democracy Services, to conduct a detailed feasibility and option study.

Options Investigated

4. The consultants drew on their experience in America in delivering state-level voter registration systems. The consultants drew up six models, ranging from a very locally based system where each electoral registration officer continues to run their own system but submit data to a central point, to a completely centralised system run by Government which would not allow local electoral registration officers to use their own systems locally. There would in effect be one database run from a central location.

5. These models were then assessed against criteria of functionality, acceptability, implementability and risk. The consultants then narrowed it down to two models which are towards the centralising end of the spectrum but not the completely centralised system.

Officer Responses

6. Officers have looked at the proposals, which are very detailed in nature and technical but officers feel that they raise a number of points of principle. These are as follows:-

1) Roles of Electoral Registration Officers


3) Risk of Centralised System


Conclusion

Officers have submitted a response, as the closing date for reply to the Department of Constitutional Affairs was 7th March. However, they have said that members may wish to add some general points to the response and if the Executive wishes to do this officers will arrange for this to be sent electronically.

Recommendation

The Executive is recommended

1. to note the broad officer response to the DCA Consultation document; and

2. to strengthen or add any new issues that Executive would wish to raise.

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Background Papers (Cex)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Robin Pellow Telephone: 01483 523222

E-mail: rpellow@waverley.gov.uk




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