Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer Privacy Notice
1 Council Contact Details
1.1 West Northamptonshire Council
The Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) is responsible for ensuring that all eligible persons are registered to vote and the Returning Officer (RO) is responsible for ensuring the provision of elections/referendums.
It is important to note that both the ERO and RO are separate Data Controllers from the Council.
This notice also describes why the ERO/RO requires your data and the legal basis on which they do this.
2 Information that we hold
2.1 Why we collect information about you
We collect information regarding you and members of your household who are aged 16 plus, to check that you are entitled to register to vote and which elections you are entitled to vote in. Individuals cannot vote until they are aged 18.
The categories of data we collect are:
- Names, address, previous address, contact information, nationality, date of birth/age, National Insurance Number
- Contact information (email address, telephone number) - optional
3 How the information is obtained
3.1 Most of the personal information we process is provided to us directly by you.
3.2 What is the basis for us to process your data?
The ERO and RO have a legal obligation to provide functions under the following laws, and also carry out other processing of your data for the performance of a public interest task:
- Representation of the People Act 1983
- Representation of the People Regulations 2001
- The Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013
- Juries Act 1974
- Representation of the People Regulations (Annual Canvass) (Amendment Regulations 2019
We may also process your information under the following:
- The prevention / detection of crime, including false representation in accordance with the Fraud Act
- Matters relating to public health
4 What we do with the information
4.1 How will we use the information we hold about you?
We will use the information you provide to check whether you are eligible to vote. We may also check your immigration status with the Home Office.
If you are entitled to register, your name and address will be added to the electoral register together with details of the elections you are able to vote in. The electoral register lists everyone who is entitled to vote. Your information may also be included on the open register (known as the edited register). Anyone can buy a copy of the open register so you have the option whether or not you wish your details to be included in this version of the register.
Your contact information will be used by us to communicate with you. It may also be used to contact you in the event of a public health emergency and may be shared with other organisations/councils as part of this process. It will not be included in either the electoral register or open register.
4.2 Who we will share your information with
Information on the electoral register may be shared or used as follows:
North Northamptonshire Council
To verify your identity, the data you provide will be processed by the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service managed by the Cabinet Office. As part of this process your data will be shared with the Department for Work and Pensions and the Cabinet Office suppliers that are data processors for the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service. You can find more information about this here:
- Election staff, political parties, candidates and holders of elected office use the register for electoral purposes
- The council, the British Library and the Scottish Library hold copies that anyone may look at under supervision. A copy is also held by the EC, the Boundary Commissions (which set constituency boundaries for most elections) and the Office for National Statistics
- The council can use the register for duties relating to security, enforcing the law and preventing crime. The police and the security services can also use it for law enforcement
- The register is used when calling people for jury service
- Government departments may buy the register from local registration officers and use it to help prevent and detect crime. They can also use it to safeguard national security by checking the background of job applicants and employees
- Credit reference agencies can buy the register. They help other organisations to check the names and addresses of people applying for credit. They also use it to carry out identity checks when trying to prevent and detect money laundering
- We may also share your information with external companies for the purposes of preparing, printing and despatching documents relating to electoral registration and canvass communications
Information on the open register may be shared or used as follows:
- Businesses checking the identity and address details of people who apply for their services such as insurance, goods hire and property rental, as well as when they shop online
- Businesses selling age-restricted goods or services, such as alcohol and gambling online, to meet the rules on verifying the age of their customers
- Charities and voluntary agencies, for example to help maintain contact information for those who have chosen to donate bone marrow and to help people separated by adoption to find each other
- Charities, to help with fundraising and contacting people who have made donations
- Debt collection agencies when tracing people who have changed address without telling their creditors
- Direct marketing firms when maintaining their mailing lists
- Landlords and letting agents when checking the identity of potential tenants
- Local councils when identifying and contacting residents
- Online directory firms to help users of the websites find people, such as when reuniting friends and families
- Organisations tracing and identifying beneficiaries of wills, pensions and insurance policies
- Private sector firms to verify details of job applicants
4.3 As part of the electoral registration process your details may be data matched against information held by the Department for Work and Pensions. You may receive different documents or be contacted using different channels by the Electoral Registration Officer depending on the outcome of the data matching process.
5 How long we keep your information for and how we securely dispose of it after use
5.1 We keep your personal information for all aspects of processing in line with the council’s retention schedules.
5.2 We will securely dispose of your information in line with the council's retention schedules.
How long do we keep your records?
Every year we are required by law to update the Electoral Register with additions, amendments and deletions of electors. Previous copies of the electoral register are archived for 20 years. Copies of the open register are kept until the next revised version of the register is published. We will only keep your contact information for as long as you consent.
5.2 We will securely dispose of your information in line with retention periods.
6 How we store your information
6.1 Your information is securely stored on the council’s systems.
7 Your data protection rights
7.2 Please be aware that your rights may differ depending on the lawful basis for processing your personal data.
7.3 The right to withdraw consent (if applicable). You can ask that we no longer use your details for this [processing/groups of processing]. If you wish to exercise this right, please contact the Data Protection Officer detailed in section 8.1 below.
8 Who to contact
8.1 If you would like further information about how we use your personal information, or you wish to exercise one of your data rights or you wish to complain about the use of your personal information please contact the Data Protection Officer.
8.2 If you are still dissatisfied once you have contacted the Data Protection Officer, you have the right to complain to the ICO.
The ICO’s address:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Helpline number: 0303 123 1113
You have a right to approach the Information Commissioner’s Office regarding your Information Rights at any time. Please visit Information Commissioner's Office website.
Completion and review dates:
This privacy notice was completed on 17 March 2022.
The privacy notice review date is March 2023.
Last updated 06 July 2023