Chris Ruane – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Chris Ruane on 2014-05-06.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Electoral Commission will write to all hon. Members to inform them whether or not their electoral registration officer (ERO) conducted data matching for the purposes of individual electoral registration (IER) in the recent dry run; and what steps the Electoral Commission can take against EROs who do not undertake data matching activities for the purpose of IER.

Mr Gary Streeter

The Electoral Commission informs me that the use of local data-matching to support confirmation and verification under Individual Electoral Registration (IER) is at the discretion of Electoral Registration Officers (EROs). Ministerial guidance sets out the considerations EROs should take into account in determining whether to conduct local data matching for these purposes, which includes an assessment of the costs and benefits of doing so in their local area.

Following the dry-run of the confirmation exercise in summer 2013, 137 EROs reported to the Commission on the trials that they had carried out of local data-matching to support the confirmation process. However, in a survey of EROs after the dry-run, 91% of respondents said that local data-matching would be important in their area during the confirmation live run in 2014.

The Commission published the confirmation dry-run data and an analysis of this and the survey responses received from EROs on its website and emailed hon. Members on publication.

The Commission informs me that it will continue to work with the Cabinet Office and its Regional Delivery Managers to provide support to EROs throughout the transition to IER to ensure that they are carrying out all necessary activities to meet the challenges of IER in their local areas.

The Commission will also collect and publish data from EROs at key stages in order to monitor the progress of the transition, as follows:

· on conclusion of confirmation – August 2014 (England and Wales) and October 2014 (Scotland)

· on conclusion of the write-out and following publication of the revised register – December 2014 (England and Wales) and March 2015 (Scotland)

· after the registration deadline for the May 2015 elections – April 2015

The Commission will make this information available to all hon. Members on publication, along with information on what questions they can ask their local ERO to establish progress with delivering the transition in their area.