Agenda and draft minutes

Electoral Provisions Sub-Committee - Wednesday 20 November 2013 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room B12. View directions

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


There were no apologies for absence.


Declarations of Interests

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the term(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any) by the Audit Board or Managing Director.


There were no declarations of interests.


Minutes of the meeting held on 12 September 2011 pdf icon PDF 37 KB

To note and agree the minutes of the meeting held on 12 September 2011.


The minutes of the meeting of the Sub-committee held on 12 September 2011 were agreed as an accurate record.


Urgent Items

The Chairman will announce his decision as to whether there are any urgent items and their position on the agenda.


There were no urgent items.


Review of Polling Districts and Polling Places 2013 pdf icon PDF 29 KB

To report the outcome of the light touch annual review of Polling Districts and Polling Places 2013.

Additional documents:


The Member Services Manager informed the Sub-committee that under the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 there was a requirement to hold full statutory reviews of Polling Districts and Polling Places every five years with the first such review being completed by January 2015. This replaced the previous requirement to carry out statutory reviews every four years, with the last one having been undertaken in Dartford in 2011. In any event it was the Council’s practice to carry out a “light touch” review on an annual basis to ensure that the current arrangements were fit for purpose.


As a result of the current light touch review changes had been considered to the arrangements in three polling districts; New Barn west, Greenhithe, and St John’s. The first two of these involved the use of temporary polling station portacabins. Members were reminded that because of the semi-rural nature of Dartford a relatively high number of temporary stations were used where community buildings or other suitable premises could not be identified but that  these were not ideal either for voters or staff, were expensive to provide and were more disruptive to local people as they were in place for up to a week during an election.


In terms of New Barn West the temporary station had been located for some years at the junction of Nuthatch and Shearwater but following an intervention by the Kent County Council Highways before the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections in November 2012 the position of the portacabin had been moved approximately 20 feet to the right of its original location. This had resulted in complaints from 3 local residents both at the PCC election and at the subsequent Kent County Council election in May 2013. One of the complainants had suggested an alternative location at the junction of Pescot Avenue and New Barn Road and this had been considered as part of the review. The Member Services Manager had visited the suggested location and also considered whether there were any other suitable options in the polling district. The junction of Pescot Avenue and New Barn Road was not considered as a viable location as the location would have been on grass verge on a significant camber, without access to street lighting or power, with limited availability for parking and poor disabled access. The junction was also on a busy road and was on the boundary of the polling district whereas the current location was more central. No other suitable alternative location had been identified in the polling district. For these reasons it was recommended that the polling station should remain at the current location but would be subject to review again during the statutory review in 2014 which would involve widespread public consultation.


Greenhithe polling district was currently served by a temporary polling station located in the Eagles Road public car park. Whilst this location had operated effectively the use of a temporary station had all of the limitations associated with using a portacabin  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Individual Electoral Registration (IER) pdf icon PDF 41 KB

To brief the Sub-committee on the background to the introduction of Individual Electoral Registration and the implications for the Council of having a new system for electoral registration.



The Sub-committee received a briefing on the background to the introduction of Individual Electoral Registration and the implications for the Council of having a new system for electoral registration. Members were reminded of the current system whereby the electoral register was produced each year by way of information provided from an annual canvass whereby a canvass form was completed by one person in each household on behalf of all of the occupants and updated throughout the year by a process of rolling registration. Under the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 this process would change to a process whereby each eligible person would have to make an application individually supplying information including their name, date of birth and national insurance number which would be checked against data held in the Department of Works and Pensions Customer Information System before a person could be added to the electoral register. This would involve the most significant changes to the way that registration was carried out for a century and the IER processes would be more complex, costly and labour intensive, particularly during the transition from the old system to the new one.


Whilst 2014 and 2015 would be years of transition, preparations had begun in early 2013 with the testing of the readiness of electoral software and DWP systems and much work had been carried out despite the lack of certainty about many aspects of the project and the late publication of guidance. This had included a “confirmation dry run” in July by which every local authority had to submit the data in their electoral registers for matching against DWP records as a test ahead of going live in July 2014. This process was designed to ease the transition to IER for most existing electors on the current electoral register because if their entries could be matched against DWP records or locally held data in 2014 then they would be automatically carried across to the transitional electoral register and would have to take no further action. Based on the “dry run” results around 81% of current registrants would be confirmed by matching DWP records and of the 13,500 that did not match a further 5,500 had been matched using local data. Based on these results it was likely that around 8,000 electors would have to be contacted and invited to register under the new system.


The major changes associated with IER were highlighted in the report, including the introduction of an option for online applications, and Members were advised that nobody on the pre-transition register who was not confirmed or and not responded to an invitation to register under the new arrangements would be removed until December 2015. This was in order to ensure that nobody lost the ability to vote at the General Election, however anyone who had not been confirmed across to the new register published in December 2014 by data matching or as a result of successfully completing an IER application would lose their entitlement to have a postal/proxy  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.