Electoral services privacy notice


This information has been produced by the electoral services department at Harrogate Borough Council in order to provide information to residents on how their personal information is processed, stored and who it is shared with.

Key legislation relating to this document is listed below:

  • the Representation of the Peoples Act 1983
  • the Local Government Act 1972
  • the Electoral Administration Act 2013
  • Data Protection Act 1988 and General Data Protection Regulations May 2018

This document will cover how your information is processed relating to individual electoral registration and the annual canvass.

Customer journey

The annual canvass

On an annual basis, the electoral services team has a statutory duty to conduct the annual canvass across the borough. This project is conducted in order to produce an up to date and accurate electoral register ready for publication on the 1 December. The first stage usually commences in July/August, every property on the electoral register database is sent a household enquiry form. This form is sent to ‘The Occupier’ of a property and lists the names, voting preference, opt out preference and if the residents are over the age of 76 that are currently registered on the electoral register. The form is sent to ‘The Occupier’ as if the registered residents on the form sent have moved out; the new residents can amend the form and then this starts the process to update the household details on the electoral register.

Once the household enquiry form is received by the residents of a property, the residents have a statutory duty to respond to the form even if there are no changes to the details.

When the form is returned to the electoral services team, the form is scanned into the software system and then manually processed.

Any information provided on the form such as email addresses, telephone numbers, voting preferences or changes to the household details are retained on the electoral register database and the names and address are published on the annual register on the 1 December 2018.

If a new person is added to the register this then requires the electoral services team to write directly to the individual inviting them to register to vote by following the Individual Electoral Registration (IER) process.

Individual electoral registration

In 2014 the way residents register to vote changed due to the introduction of individual electoral registration. This now means that in order to register to vote all residents must complete a registration form each and provide their name, address, date of birth and national insurance number.
These measures were brought into place to prevent electoral fraud. To verify your identity, the data you provide will be processed by the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service (IERDS) 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 by visiting www.registertovote.service.gov.uk/register-to-vote/privacy

Once your information has been processed by IERDS it is then returned to the electoral register database either verified or unverified. If the information is verified, your details will then be added to the electoral register when it is next published. If the information is unverified the elections office are then required request further evidence of your identity before they can progress with your application on behalf of the electoral registration officer.

How is data stored?

All paper applications, household enquiry forms and evidence of your identity (if provided) are scanned into the electoral management system before processing. Images of forms and evidence of identity are scanned in to provide a clear audit trail.

Hard copies of the above paperwork are kept for 13 months then destroyed. The same retention period applied to scanned images, after 13 months, personal data on the scanned forms such as national insurance numbers are redacted from the image.

If you have chosen to include your email address or telephone number on your application form this is held against your personal record so that we may contact you regarding your application or regarding upcoming elections only. We do not use this material for marketing purposes and it is not shared with any other departments or the public.

Data sharing

There are two types of the register, the full electoral register and the edited register. The electoral register is a public document that is open for inspection at the council offices. It is also a published document that is shared with a number of people/organisations. Please see the list below:

  • political parties
  • politicians
  • The Electoral Commission
  • The Department of Justice
  • credit agencies
  • third parties for example, voter consultancy
  • national/local libraries
  • Police
  • print for business (PRINTUK) (elections print company)
  • electoral reform services

The edited register is an extract of the electoral register that can be purchased by anybody. Under The Representation of the Peoples Act 1983 all residents are automatically included on the open register, however you can opt out of your details being included on the edited register at the point of registering and at any time. You can do this by emailing elect@harrogate.gov.uk please state your name, address and that you would like to opt out of the edited register. Once you opt out of being included on the edited register, this is a permanent change unless you instruct the elections team otherwise.

Sharing information during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis

Personal data or special category data may be shared with relevant organisations and agencies during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. The lawful basis for sharing this information is that (1) it is necessary for the performance of a task in the public interest and (2) to protect the vital interests of an individual.

Covid-19 - use of the register

A copy of the electoral register is provided to the council's monitoring officer. In order to provide support to vulnerable groups during the pandemic, the register data will be used to contact residents offering support, guidance and information on services that are available.

Contact information

If you have queries relating to the above information please do not hesitate to contact the elections office.

You can do so by emailing elect@harrogate.gov.uk or telephoning 01423 500600.

If you wish to contact the team by post, please direct all correspondence to Electoral services, Civic Centre, St Luke's Avenue, Harrogate HG1 2AE