Delivering the annual canvass - England

How should I decide which response mechanisms to make available during the canvass?

You will need to decide which response mechanisms you will make available for electors. These may vary for the different canvass routes and the different contact stages within routes, and should be considered alongside the outward contact methods you intend to use. 

Potential response channels include:

  • Website
  • E-mail
  • SMS
  • Post
  • Telephone 
  • In person

You should ensure that your chosen response mechanisms are designed to meet elector expectations and enable them to respond as easily as possible where needed. For example, if you contact some electors via email, they may well expect to be able to respond online, such as by a return email, rather than a different channel.

You could also consider the demographics of your local area to help inform your decisions. For example, if you know you have a high population of older people, areas with limited access to internet, or areas with high levels of socio-economic deprivation, you will need to consider which response mechanisms would be most appropriate to meet the needs of your electors. 

If you decide to use automated response services – which would typically involve using security codes to log onto a website or respond by an automated telephone or SMS response service – you will need to decide whether to manage this internally or to outsource the work to an external supplier.

If you are using an external supplier, you will need ensure that they will be able to meet your requirements before agreeing the process for setting the service up, finalising contracts and reflecting your decisions in your canvass plans. Any person who will be processing personal data for use with response services must comply with the requirements of data protection legislation. 

Last updated: 17 April 2020