Guidance for (Acting) Returning Officers administering a UK Parliamentary election in Great Britain

Publishing election notices

When you are required to publish notices, you should publish and display them in a place in the electoral area where they will be seen. This should include local authority offices, noticeboards, libraries and other public buildings. You may also give notices in any other manner you think fit.1  

You should apply robust proof checking processes to help: 

  • detect any errors 
  • avoid any potential data breaches before they occur

You can find more information on proof checking processes in our quality assurance guidance and you can find a quality assurance checklist here. 

Data protection considerations for election notices

As the data controller you will need to consider whether it is appropriate or necessary for notices to remain published, on your website or elsewhere, beyond the expiry of the petition period for the election. 

For example, where a notice serves a specific purpose – such as advising who will be a candidate at the election - once the election is over, and the opportunity to question that election has passed, the notice serves no further purpose. 

Once the petition deadline for the election has passed you should either remove the notices from the website or remove the personal data contained in the notices. 

Data protection legislation permits personal data to be stored for longer periods, subject to the implementation of appropriate safeguards if the data will be processed:

•    solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, or
•    for scientific, historical, or statistical purposes 

For example, notices of election results on your website should be retained as they are for public interest and have historical and statistical purposes.

For more information see our guidance on data protection considerations.

Last updated: 19 December 2023