Electoral services privacy policy

This privacy notice sets out how our Electoral Services Department will process and use your personal data

This privacy notice is to be read in conjunction with the full London Borough of Barking and Dagenham privacy notice.

The Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) and Returning Officer (RO) are data controllers who collect and use information about residents, candidates, election agents and election and electoral registration staff to enable us to carry out specific functions for which we are statutorily responsible.

What type of information is collected about you

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 or kept on a computer.

These records may include:

  • basic details about you – for example, your name, address, date of birth and nationality
  • unique identifiers (such as your National Insurance number)
  • scanned application forms and dates of any letters of correspondence
  • copies or details of proof of identity and eligibility
  • notes about any relevant circumstances that you have told us
  • your previous or any redirected address
  • the other occupants in your home
  • if you are over 76 or under 18
  • whether you have chosen to opt out of the open version of the register of electors
  • your signature
  • contact details including telephone numbers and email addresses
  • previous or forwarding addresses

In addition, if you work for the Returning Officer on election duties or for the Electoral Registration Officer for registration duties these may also include:

  • tax status
  • next of kin / emergency contact details
  • details of previous employment

If you are a candidate at an election, an appointed agent at an election or a campaigner we may also hold these details:

  • political party affiliation
  • campaign group affiliation
  • home address, date of birth and contact details

Why we use your personal data

Your data will be used for the functions of the Electoral Services Department undertaken on behalf of the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO)/Returning Officer (RO) who collect your personal data from you for the purposes of:

  • registering your right to vote
  • processing any absent (postal or proxy) voting requests
  • producing and maintaining an accurate register of electors
  • delivering elections and referendums

Who we share your data with

To verify your identity, the data you provide on any application form to register to vote will be processed by the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service (IER-DS) 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-DS. You can find more information about this on register to vote.

The Electoral Registration Officer publishes two versions of the register:

The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections. The register is used for electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as:

  • detecting crime (eg fraud)
  • calling people for jury service
  • checking credit applications

The open register is an extract of the electoral register but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation. For example, it is used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details. Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote.
If you are concerned that having your name or address on the electoral register may affect your safety, there could be other options available to you, such as anonymous registration. In certain limited circumstances, you can register without your name and address showing on the register.

The electoral register is published once a year (usually each December) and is updated on the first working day of each month between January and September. The law restricts who can be supplied with the electoral register, extracts of the electoral register and absent voter records. Details of who can be provided with this data are available from the Electoral Commission.

Anyone can inspect the electoral register because it is a public document. Inspection can be made of paper copies held by Electoral Services. Information is listed in address order for each polling district.

  • inspection of the register is conducted under supervision
  • hand written notes may be made during inspection, but no copies of photographs of the register are allowed
  • any information recorded must not be used for direct marketing purposes, in accordance with data protection legislation, unless it has been published in the open register
  • anyone who fails to observe these conditions may be charged a penalty of up to £5,000

We have to share your personal data with our software providers and contracted printers for the purpose of carrying out our duties of electoral registration and delivering elections and referendums.

Staffing data may be shared with other Returning Officers and Electoral Registration Officers as appropriate. All staff details will also be shared with the payroll team and HMRC so as to make payments. Details of candidates, election agents, subscribers to nomination papers and other political campaigners may be published where the law requires.

The data you provide is held in electoral registers which are managed by Electoral Registration Officers The full register is published once a year and is updated every month and can only be supplied to the following people and organisations:

  • British Library
  • UK Statistics Authority
  • Electoral Commission
  • Boundary Commission for England
  • Jury Summoning Bureau
  • elected representatives (MPs, MEPS, local councillors)
  • Police and Crime Commissioner
  • candidates standing for elections
  • local and national political parties and registered campaigners
  • the council
  • parish and community councils
  • police forces and the National Crime Agency
  • public library or local authority archive services
  • government departments or bodies
  • credit reference agencies
  • National Fraud Initiative
  • Partner Electoral Registration and Returning Officers 

Returning Officers have statutory duties to collect and retain information from:

  • candidates and their agents
  • staff employed at an election
  • voters

This information may be kept in either digital format (i.e. data within a software system or as scanned copies of documents) or hard copy printed format or both.

How long we keep your personal data for

The Electoral Registration Officer and 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. For a copy of our document retention policy, contact Electoral Services directly at electoral.services@lbbd.gov.uk.

The legislation that governs the collection and use of personal data

The following is a list of all primary and secondary legislation relevant to the collection, processing and retention of personal data:

  • Local Government Act 1972
  • Representation of the People Act 1983
  • Electoral Administration Act 2006
  • Electoral Administration Act 2013
  • Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001
  • Representation of the People (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2002 and 2006
  • Representation of the People (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No 2) 2006
  • European Parliamentary Elections (Registration of Citizens of Accession States) Regulations 2003
  • European Parliamentary Elections Regulations 2004
  • Police (Scotland) Regulations 2004
  • European Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Regulations 2009
  • Local Elections (Principal Areas) Rules 2006
  • Local Authorities (Mayoral Elections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007
  • Greater London Authority Elections Rules 2007
  • The Local Authorities (Mayoral Elections) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2011
  • The Local Elections (Principal Areas) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Rules 2011
  • Greater London Authority Elections (Amendment) Rules 2012
  • Neighbourhood Planning (Referendums) Regulations 2012

Your Rights

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 us. 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.

You have the right to request the erasure of your personal data (‘right to be forgotten’). You have the right to request that we stop, or restrict the processing of your personal data, in certain circumstances. Where possible we will seek to comply with your request, but we may be required to hold or process information to comply with a legal requirement.

The Data Protection Act 2018 also 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 Information Commissioner.

If you are dissatisfied with how the Electoral Registration Officer/Returning Officer has used your personal information you have a right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office at casework@ico.org.uk.