Electoral services data privacy notice

Certain departments and services at the council are separate data controllers to us. This means that whilst they work in a Southwark Council office, they are not the council.  As such they are responsible for certain records, processes and your personal information.   Two separate data controllers from the council are the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) and Returning Officer (RO).  They collect and use information about:

  • residents
  • candidates
  • election agents
  • election and electoral registration staff

to carry out specific electoral function.  The ERO’s and the RO’s primary roles are to:

  • register your right to vote
  • process your absent voting request
  • maintain a register of electors
  • run elections and referendums.

If you have any questions on electoral registration or elections, please email electoral.enquiries@southwark.gov.uk

What information do they collect and why do they use it?

To carry out the ERO and RO’s primary roles, they keep records about the following  groups of people:

  • potential and registered electors, voters and citizens
  • candidates and their agents
  • staff employed at elections
  • the people we need to pay.

The ERO and RO will record information about you to provide their services.  Some information they may record include:

  • your name
  • your address
  • your date of birth
  • your nationality
  • your National Insurance number or other unique identifiers
  • scanned application forms & 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 current and previous address or any alternative addresses
  • the other occupants in your home
  • if you're over 76 or under 18
  • whether you have chosen to opt out of the open version of the electoral register
  • your signature
  • your telephone number(s)
  • your email address(es)
  • previous or forwarding addresses

In addition, if you work for the RO on election duties, or for the ERO for registration duties, they may also collect your:

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

If you are a candidate at an election, an appointed agent at an election or a campaigner they may also hold details on your:

  • political party affiliation
  • campaign group affiliation

Your information will be used for the functions of Electoral Services.

Why do they collect the information?

The RO and the ERO are required by law to record your information to provide electoral registration and election services.  They do not need your consent or permission to use your information as they are required by the following laws to do so:

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

It is a legal requirement to provide the ERO your personal data when requested.  Whilst it is not a legal requirement to vote, it is a legal requirement for all eligible electors to be registered to vote.

How long will they keep your personal information?

The ERO and RO are required to process your personal data to prepare for and to carry out elections and referendums.

Your information will be kept on the Electoral Register until you tell us that you have moved, or we have been informed that you no longer live at a property. 

The register is regularly reviewed and new updates are published frequently.  Old copies of the register are then sent to our archives.  These are public records and your information will be kept in accordance with statutory time limits.

Who do they share the information with?

Information recorded on the electoral register (both full and open) can be accessed and shared with a wide range of people. Your information may be shared with the following people:

  • British Library
  • UK Statistics Authority
  • Electoral Commission
  • Boundary Commission for England
  • Jury Summoning Bureau
  • Elected Representatives (MP, 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 (including the cabinet office)
  • Credit Reference Agencies
  • National Fraud Initiative
  • Partner Electoral Registration and Returning Officers

We also have to disclose (share) your information with our Software providers and contracted printers for the purposes of carrying out our duties of electoral registration and elections.

It is a crime for anyone who has a copy of the full register to pass information from this register on to others, if they do not have a lawful reason.

In addition to the above groups, the Electoral Register can be inspected for free by any member of the public.  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.

Copies of the open register (an edited copy of the electoral register) can be purchased from the Electoral Registration Officer.  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.

Staffing data

Staffing data may be shared with other Returning Officers and Electoral Registration Officers as appropriate. All staff details will also be shared with our payroll team and, or external payroll service providers and HMRC to make payments.

Details of candidates, election agents, subscribers to nomination papers and other political campaigners may be published where the law requires.

For further information, please visit our the electoral register page.

Your rights

Under data protection legislation, you have the following rights over the personal data that we hold:

  • to be informed what we are doing with your personal data
  • to have copies of your personal data
  • to instruct us to stop, or to restrict the processing of your personal data (in certain circumstances)
  • to amend the data we hold on you
  • to complain about how we are processing your data

If you would like to make a request for any of the above, please email electoral.enquiries@southwark.gov.uk.  Alternatively you can make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Page last updated: 11 February 2019