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

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Chris Ruane on 2014-03-17.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 22 Janaury 2013, Official Report, columns 131-3W, on the electoral register, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the reasons for the increase from 8 to 58 in the number of electoral registration officers who failed performance standard 3 between 2010 and 2011.

Gary Streeter

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has previously corresponded with the honourable member on this issue.

Within that correspondence the Electoral Commission set out that following its 2010 report assessing the performance of Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) it became aware of anecdotal evidence suggesting that for various reasons, including local authority budget reductions, there may have been a greater number of EROs who were not meeting performance standard 3. Therefore, in addition to the 2011 performance standard return, the Commission asked all EROs for the first time to confirm specifically whether or not they carried out a personal canvass of all non-responders and, if not, to provide an explanation as to the reasons why.

The Commission subsequently requested further data from EROs who had not confirmed that they carried out a personal canvass of all non-responders in order to make a better-informed assessment of performance against performance standard 3. This data included the number of non-responding households that were not contacted by a personal canvasser or by any other method (not including forms and reminders); how many of these households had entries confirmed by other records; and how many of those households had entries that could not be confirmed and were removed.

Following this process, the Commission revised the assessments of 51 EROs to ‘below’ the standard. This meant that, including the seven EROs who originally reported that they did not meet the standard, there were 58 EROs who did not meet this standard in 2011.