Who is the Data Controller?
Electoral Services supports the statutory functions of:
- The Electoral Registration Officer who is responsible for compiling and maintaining the electoral
register and for matters relating to voter registration
- The Returning Officer who is responsible for administering elections and referendums
Why do we collect your information?
We collect and process personal information to support the statutory functions and responsibilities of the Electoral Registration Officer and the Returning Officer. This includes the compilation of the electoral register and the administration of elections and referendums.
The lawful basis for collecting personal information is that it is necessary for the performance of a task
carried out in the public interest and exercise of official authority as vested in the Electoral Registration
Officer as set out in the Representation of the People Act 1983 and the following electoral legislation:
- Local Government Act 1972 (as amended)
- Representation of the People Act 1983 (as amended)
- Representation of the People Act 1985 (as amended)
- Representation of the People Act 2000 (as amended)
- Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001 (as amended)
- Local Elections (Principal Areas) (England and Wales) Rules 2006 (as amended)
- Electoral Administration Act 2006 (as amended)
- Neighbourhood Planning (Referendums) Regulations 2012 (as amended)
- Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 (as amended)
What information do we collect?
We keep records about voters (including potential voters), election candidates and agents and staff
employed at elections and referendums or voter registration canvassing activities.
We may collect and process the following information:
- Name, address, date of birth and nationality
- Unique identifiers such as your national insurance number
- Contact details including phone number or email address
- Previous address, correspondence address or last UK address
- If you are aged 76 or over or 16/17 years of age
- Whether your name is included on the open version of the electoral register
- Signatures on application forms
- IP address for online applications to register
- Name, address and contact details for an appointed proxy
- Details of a disability or health matter that may have been disclosed in connection with an
application to vote by post or proxy
- Details of someone who has assisted a voter with an application
- The names of other occupants and potential electors in a household
- Scanned copies of application forms
- Information contained on documents provided to confirm identity
- Court documents and attestations to support anonymous registration applications
- Details of service, service number, rank/rating and regiment for members of the armed forces or
their spouses registering as service voters
- Employment details for Crown Servants/British Council employees or their spouses
- Notes about any relevant circumstances provided by residents
- Names and contact details for landlords and other persons responsible for multiple occupancy
dwellings, care homes, sheltered housing and university halls of residence.
- Election documentation including the marked copy of the polling station register or postal voting list which shows whether a voter has voted
- Details included on the candidate’s nomination forms which may include details of land or property owned or occupied by the candidate, the candidate’s principal place of work, the name, address and contact details of appointed agents and the names, elector numbers and signatures of proposer, seconder and supporting subscribers
- Details included on election candidate expenses documentation which may include personal details including campaign donors or those providing goods or services in connection with the campaign
- Details about our suppliers, contractors and others who provide services including contact
- Details about permitted persons or organisations making requests for copies of the register and
- Complaints and feedback
- Responses to consultations and surveys
- Human resources data
- Photographs where staff employed require photographic identification cards
Some of the information that we collect is classified as special category information, including nationality information (which may reveal racial or ethnic origin) required on a registration application and health information which may be contained in applications to vote by proxy. Personal information collected for the registration of anonymous voters is classified as high-risk data due to the risk of physical harm.
We may use third party suppliers to collect information required in order to compile the electoral register.
The current service provider is Civica Election Services and their privacy notice can be viewed via
In accordance with Section 35 of the Representation of the People Regulations 2001 (as amended), the
Electoral Registration Officer is entitled for the purposes of maintaining the electoral register to inspect any other records held by Portsmouth City Council. Furthermore, Section 9A of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (as amended) imposes a duty to take necessary steps to maintain the electoral register which includes checking other available records. The information accessed may include records held relating to Council tax, housing tenancy, housing benefits and Registrars data. This information is used to confirm existing entries in the register and identify individuals not yet registered or no longer resident.
A data extract of names and addresses of clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) residents was obtained from NHS Digital in March 2021. This data was used to send a letter to CEV residents to inform them about options to vote by post or by proxy at the 2021 local elections.
How we use your information?
The Electoral Registration Officer uses your information to:
- Compile, publish and maintain the electoral register
- Process applications submitted to us
- Undertake an annual canvass of households to determine who is eligible to be included on the
electoral register (this may include contacting you directly using email or phone contact details
provided by you)
- Complete data matching against Department of Work and Pensions records and local authority data
to validate entries in the electoral register prior to undertaking the annual canvass exercise
- Identify potential voters and encourage voter registration
- Maintain records of postal and proxy voters
- Recruit and pay supporting staff
The Returning Officer uses your information to:
- Administer the voting process including polling stations and postal voting
- Administer the nomination of election candidates and the appointment of agents
- Prepare statutory election documents and notices including poll cards
- Recruit and pay supporting staff
How do we keep personal information secure?
We take appropriate steps to make sure that the personal information we hold (on paper and electronically) is kept securely and only used by people who have a right to see it. The Council’s security measures include encrypting personal data and equipment, system access controls and training in data protection for all staff.
Where another company or organisation processes personal information on our behalf, they will only
process your personal information in line with our instructions and are obliged to provide security
assurances to the Council and to certain regulatory bodies.
How long do we keep hold of personal information?
Your information will be held and updated in accordance with our legal obligations and statutory retention periods.
Documentation relating to a particular election, for example, ballot papers, polling station documents and postal voting records, are held for one year. Candidate election expenses returns are held for two years.
Sharing or disclosing personal information
To verify your identity when you register to vote, 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 of 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 via https://www.registertovote.service.gov.uk/register-to-vote/privacy
As part of the government’s reform of the annual canvass process, data from the electoral register is used to undertake a data-matching exercise against records held the Department of Work and Pensions annually at the start of the canvass exercise in July/August.
Data is transferred securely via the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service managed by the Cabinet Office. The Electoral Registration Officer is required to publish the electoral register and this is available for public inspection under supervision in Portsmouth Central Library.
Information from the electoral register may also be shared with or disclosed to:
- Companies supplying services to us including contracted printers who produce poll cards, postal
voting packs, voter registration forms and canvass forms, with our software suppliers and the
GOV.UK Notify service
- Local and national political parties, elected representatives and election candidates
- Credit reference agencies
- Portsmouth City Council for statutory functions (including for participation in the annual National Fraud Initiative) and the Council’s library and archives service
- The British Library, the Jury Summoning Bureau, the Electoral Commission, the UK Statistics
Authority and other statutory recipients of the electoral register
- Other organisations when the law requires us to disclose information including for the prevention
and detection of crime and the National Fraud Initiative
The regulations which apply to the supply and use of the electoral register can be viewed via http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2002/1871/regulation/15/made
The open version of the electoral register is available for general sale. Further information on the two
versions of the electoral register can be viewed via
The Returning Officer is required to publish certain statutory election notices which may include details of the name and address of candidates, the names and signatures of the proposer, seconder and assentors, and the name and address of election agents.
Certain election documents may be supplied or inspected in accordance with Sections 117 and 118 of the Representation of the People (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2006 respectively.
The Electoral Registration Officer may use the GOV.UK Notify service to contact residents or registered
electors in connection with the compilation or maintenance of the Register of Electors. Further information can be viewed at: https://www.notifications.service.gov.uk/privacy
The Returning Officer also uses the GOV.UK Notify service to contact election candidates, agents or staff employed in connection with an election.
The Returning Officer uses MEA software for the recruitment and appointment of staff at elections and
referendums. Further information can be viewed at: https://mea.civica-xpress.co.uk/privacy
Following a statutory review of polling districts and polling places, the local authority is required to publish any correspondence, including representations, received in connection with the review in accordance with Section 4 of the Review of Polling Districts and Polling Places (Parliamentary Elections) Regulations 2006 (as amended).
Access to personal information
Individuals can find out if we hold any personal information by making a ‘subject access request’. If we do hold information about you we will:
- give you a description of it;
- tell you why we are holding it;
- tell you who it could be disclosed to; and
- let you have a copy of the information in an intelligible form.
To make a request for your personal information, please contact:
Data Protection Officer,
Portsmouth City Council,
Tel: 023 9268 8482
Complaints or queries
We take any complaints we receive very seriously. Please bring it to our attention if you think that our
collection or use of information is unfair, misleading or inappropriate. We are happy to provide any
additional information or explanation about how we collect and use personal information.
Any complaints, queries or requests should be sent to the Council’s Data Protection Officer.
Telephone: 023 9283 4385
For independent advice about data protection, privacy and sharing issues, you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) at:
Information Commissioner’s Office,
Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 (if you prefer to use a national rate number).
Changes to this privacy notice
This privacy notice was last updated on 15 March 2021.
How to contact Electoral Services
Tel: 023 9283 4074