Electoral Services Privacy Policy

Last Updated: 13 September 2022

How we use your information in relation to Electoral Services

This privacy notice tells you what to expect when South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) collects personal information in relation to your use of SLDC’s Electoral Services. 

Purpose of processing and legal process for processing your information

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, which elections you are entitled to vote in and to administer absent votes. 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; signature
  • contact information (email address, telephone number)

In order to enable SLDC to carry out its duty and/or obligations it is necessary for us to collect personal information from you to provide you with necessary and appropriate services.

Who we share your information with

Information on the Electoral Register may be shared or used as follows:

  • to verify your identity and maintain the register, 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
  • to maintain the register we may also match your data against records held by other council services, such as council tax
  • electoral Services staff, political parties, candidates and holders of elected office use the Register for electoral purposes
  • we, and the British Library, hold copies that anyone may look at under supervision. A copy is also held by the Electoral Commission, the Boundary Commissions (which set constituency boundaries for most elections) and the Office for National Statistics
  • we 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 request 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 full 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

During the annual canvass information from the Electoral Register is shared with an external scanning company who process information on our behalf. A data-sharing agreement is established and the external company follows our retention and document destruction policies.

Any organisation or individual can buy the Open Register. Information on the Open Register may be shared or used by the following:

  • 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.

Retention period or criteria used to determine the retention period

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. Copies of the open register are kept until the next revised version of the register is published. We will retain your personal information in accordance with the retention periods contained in the our Records Retention Schedule and Record of Processing Activity (RoPA). 

The sources the personal data originates from and whether it came from publicly accessible sources

We will use the information you provide to check your identity and 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 only be used by us to communicate with you. It will not be included in either the Electoral Register or Open Register

We have a legal obligation to provide functions under the following laws:

  • Representation of the People Act 1983
  • Representation of the People Regulations 2001
  • Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013

We may also process your information under the following:

  • the prevention and/or detection of crime, including false representation in accordance with the Fraud Act

When we collect your information in order to support you, we are doing so in our capacity as a public authority.

Whether the provision of personal data is part of a statutory or contractual requirement or obligation, and possible consequences of failing to provide personal data

We have a statutory duty to provide these services to you and you are therefore expressly consenting to our use and disclosure of your personal information in the manner described in this privacy notice therefore the consequences of you failing to provide your personal information is that we can no longer comply with our statutory duty.

The existence of automated decision making, including profiling and information about how decisions are made, the significance and consequences

Where this occurs we ensure through monitoring against SLDC’s policies and procedures that the correct decision and outcome is verified.

Changes to this privacy policy

We keep our privacy policy under regular review. This privacy policy was last updated June 2018.

The data controller and their contact details

The Electoral Registration Officer for South Lakeland District Council is the data controller. You can contact us by:

Paul Mountford is our Data Protection Officer and can be contacted at the same address, or at policy@southlakeland.gov.uk, or by phone on 01539 733 333.

Your rights about your data

You have the right to request access to information about you that we hold. To make a request for your personal information, contact our Data Protection Officer, as detailed above. You also have the right to:

  • object to processing of personal data that is likely to cause, or is causing, damage or distress
  • prevent processing for the purpose of direct marketing
  • object to decisions being taken by automated means
  • in certain circumstances, have inaccurate personal data rectified, blocked, erased or destroyed; and
  • claim compensation for damages caused by a breach of the Data Protection regulations

If you have a concern about the way we are collecting or using your personal data, we request that you raise your concern with us in the first instance. Alternatively, you can contact the Information Commissioner's Office.