Electoral services

Electoral services

Who we are and what we do

The Electoral Services Section is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. For the purpose of the 2018 General Data Protection Regulation, the Data Controller is (depending on the service) either the Electoral Registration Officer (for registration matters), or the Returning Officer (for election matters) based at the Town Hall, Mulberry Place, 5 Clove Crescent, E14 2BG

When you contact the Electoral Services Team, we are likely to ask you for certain personal information in order to be able to assist with your enquiry. Some of this information will need to be recorded and stored on our systems. This Privacy Notice aims to explain:

  1. the different kinds of personal data we process
  2. how we use your data
  3. how we store your data
  4. why we process your data
  5. when and why we share your information
  6. the legal grounds for processing your information.

Everyone working for Electoral Services has a legal duty to keep and process information about you in accordance with the law.

This notice explains why we ask for your personal information, how that information will be used and how you can access your records.

We process your data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and UK privacy legislation and if you have any concerns or questions the Council’s Data Protection Officer can be contacted on DPO@towerhamlets.gov.uk.

The laws that govern the collection and use of this data

The following is a list of all primary and secondary legislation relevant to the collection, processing and retention of personal data:

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

Why we need your information and how we use it

We use information about citizens, electors and voters to enable us to carry out specific functions for which we are responsible and to provide you with a statutory service.

We keep records about potential and actual electors, voters, citizens, candidates and their agents, staff employed at an election and the people we need to pay. These may be written down (manual records) or kept on a computer (electronic records).

What type of information is collected from you

The information we collect and process may include:

  1. basic details about you, for example, name, address, date of birth and nationality
  2. unique identifiers (such as your NI number),
  3. scanned application forms & dates of any letters of correspondence
  4. notes about any relevant circumstances that you have told us
  5. details and records about the service you have received
  6. your previous or any redirected address
  7. the other occupants in your home
  8. if you are over 76 or under 16/17
  9. whether you have chosen to opt out of the Open version of the Register.

Who your information may be shared with (internally and externally)

This will include:

  1. contracted printers to print polling cards, postal packs & other electoral material
  2. to registered political parties, elected representatives, candidates, agents and other permitted participants who are able to use it for electoral purposes only
  3. credit reference agencies, the British Library, UK Statistics Authority, the Electoral Commission and other statutory recipients of the Electoral Register
  4. details of whether you have voted (but not how you have voted) to those who are entitled in law to receive it after an election
  5. where the health and safety of others is at risk
  6. when the law requires us to pass on information under special circumstances,
  7. crime prevention or the detection of fraud as part of the National Fraud Initiative.

How long we keep your information (retention period)

In order to provide you with this service, we rely on our legal obligations. The Electoral Registration Officer & Returning Officer are independent statutory post holders and are obliged to process your personal data in relation to preparing for and conducting Elections.

Your details will be kept and updated in accordance with our legal obligations and in line with statutory retention periods.
Anyone who receives information from us has a legal duty to keep it confidential.
We are required by law to report certain information to appropriate authorities – for example:

  • where a formal court order has been issued.
  • to law enforcement agencies for the prevention or detection of a crime
  • to the Jury Central Summoning Bureau indicating those persons who are aged 76 or over and are no longer eligible for jury service.

Partner organisations

The process of checking citizens’ personal identifiers to ensure eligibility for inclusion in the Electoral Register, is controlled by the Cabinet Office via the Governments Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service.

The process includes:

  • The Department for Work and Pensions who use data provided to verify the identity of new applicants
  • The Cabinet Office will inform the old local authority of people who have moved area

Information will be processed within the European Economic Area (EEA) and will not be shared with overseas recipients.

If your details are in the Open version of the Electoral Register, your name and address can be sold to third parties who may use it for any purpose. You can opt out of this version at any time and are given the opportunity when you apply to register to vote and annually as part of the Canvass of all households.

To verify your identity, when you apply to be registered 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 (DWP) and the Cabinet Office suppliers that are data processors for the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service.

Find more information on the Register to vote website.

How we protect your Information

We will not transfer your personal data outside the EU without your consent.

We have implemented generally accepted standards of technology and operational security in order to protect personal data from loss, misuse, or unauthorised alteration or destruction.  

Please note that where you are transmitting information to us over the internet this can never be guaranteed to be 100 per cent secure.  

For any payments which we take from you online we will use a recognised online secure payment system.

We will notify you promptly in the event of any breach of your personal data which might expose you to serious risk. 

Your rights

You have rights under the Data Protection Legislations:

  • to access your personal data
  • to be provided with information about how your personal data is processed
  • to have your personal data corrected
  • to have your personal data erased in certain circumstances
  • to object to or restrict how your personal data is processed
  • to have your personal data transferred to yourself or to another business in certain circumstances.
  • You have the right to be told if we have made a mistake whilst processing your data and we will self-report breaches to the Commissioner.

How you can access, update or correct your information

The Data Protection Legislation allows you to find out what information is held about you, on paper and computer records. This is known as ‘right of subject access’ and applies to your Electoral Services records along with all other personal records.

If you wish to see a copy of your records you should contact the Data Protection officer. You are entitled to receive a copy of your records free of charge, within a month.

In certain circumstances access to your records may be limited, for example, if the records you have asked for contain information relating to another person.

The accuracy of your information is important to us to be able to provide relevant services more quickly. We are working to make our record keeping more efficient. In the meantime, if you change your address or email address, or if any of your circumstances change or any of the other information we hold is inaccurate or out of date please email us or write to us at:

Electoral Services
Floor 7
Town Hall
Mulberry Place
5 Clove Crescent
E14 2BG

Tel: 020 7364 5000

If you would like to know more about how we use your information, or if for any reason you do not wish to have your information used in any of the ways described, please tell us by contacting our Data Protection Officer:

The Data Protection Officer
Complaints and Information Team
Tower Hamlets Council
Mulberry Place
5 Clove Crescent
E14 2BG

Tel: 020 7364 5000
Email: DPO@towerhamlets.gov.uk

You can obtain further information about GDPR from the Information Commissioner and can also contact them if you have any complaints that you wish to make:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Water Lane
Wilmslow, Cheshire

Tel: 0303 123 1113