Delivering the annual canvass - Scotland

Maintaining regular contact with responsible persons

Maintaining regular contact with responsible persons

You should make regular contact with responsible persons both during and outside of the canvass as part of your work to maintain the register. 

Monitoring the progress of the Route 3 canvass

You should remain in regular contact with responsible persons during the canvass to check their progress in providing the required information, assist with any queries they may have, and to avoid delaying you from taking the necessary subsequent actions. You should consider how you will monitor the progress of the Route 3 process as part of your planning for the annual canvass.

When making contact with responsible persons, you should set timescales for receiving the required information. You should put a process in place to check that the information has been provided by your deadline. Your EMS system should be able to assist with this, and diaries, electronic calendars or project planning tools may also be useful.
You should monitor responses from Route 3 properties during the canvass to identify which properties you:

  • have received the required information from, so the Route 3 process can be closed 
  • have received some of the required information from, and need to ask for further information
  • have received no information from within a reasonable period of time, and need to follow up with a reminder or personal visit
  • may need to transfer to a Route 2 canvass 

Further guidance on dealing with canvass returns is found in Route 3 responses

Maintaining contact with responsible persons outside the canvass

It is important to maintain contact with responsible persons throughout the year as part of your activity to maintain the register outside of the canvass period.


As well as ensuring that your contact details for the responsible person at each Route 3 property remain correct in advance of the next canvass you should also ask them to provide updates on residents who have moved in or out during the year. This could be requested on a monthly basis, for example, or in the run up to an electoral event. This would be particularly useful for properties where there are likely to have been a number of changes outside of the canvass period due to the nature of the property, such as care homes or student accommodation. Keeping in touch will also help to build a long-term relationship with responsible persons, and help ensure that the provision of the information you need as part of the canvass takes place as smoothly as possible.  

Our guidance on public engagement and registration planning includes further advice on planning for registration outside the canvass, including what records you can inspect throughout the year to identify potential new electors. 

The section on maintaining the register throughout the year contains additional guidance on registration activity outside the canvass, for example through sending household notification letters or discretionary communications.

Last updated: 27 May 2021