The Electoral Commission

The independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK

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Electoral observers scheme

The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) requires us to provide access to the process of elections for electoral observers, as individuals or on behalf of third party organisations, and representatives of the Electoral Commission. We are required to create, administer, maintain and enforce the code of practice for electoral observers. We are also required to publish the code of practice and to have regard to this published code of practice when exercising our right to enforce the code. Please see our observer code of practice and application form.

What we collect and why:

  • name of applicant
  • individual applicants home postal address   for receipt of badge
  • telephone numbers both mobile and home for us to contact the applicant
  • email address to provide us to contact the applicant during the process and provide information as required in advance of elections
  • date of birth in relation to the statutory age qualification for observers
  • a digital photograph of the applicant, for use on an identification badge
  • a legible copy of supporting photo ID confirming your name and age

This information is collected only to ensure that we issue accreditation to the requesting individual or individual representing an accredited organisation and is laid out in the code of conduct for electoral observers.

Political campaigning

To become an accredited electoral observer we will undertake searches of the internet and social media to look for any evidence of political campaigning or political activity that could compromise the impartiality of this role. We may also look for information that indicates risk to the electoral event or individuals working to deliver it. The requirement for us to undertake these checks on political neutrality and risk to the event are included in the in the observer code of practice and application form. These checks may result in information related to you being stored in the electoral observer section of our document management system and may be shared with the police.

Technical controls

We will retain your information in the electoral observers section of our document management system. If you provide the documentation in electronic form it will be retained as far as possible in the format in which you sent it. Where you have provided hard copy versions of the documentation this will be scanned in to PDF format and stored in our document management system. Images will be stored in the document management system in JPEG format. The electoral observers area of the document management system is managed with unique permission limited to staff roles that administer and approve the process. The ICT and Information Management team have permission to access this section only to provide technical support to the process.

Retention

We will not retain your information for longer than is necessary. The accreditation lasts until 31 December of the year in which you apply. We will retain your information for the time that you are accredited with the scheme and for one year after the accreditation has lapsed. After this time your information will be disposed of securely and you will need to provide all information again. This applies to applications submitted in hard copy and electronic format.

Legal basis

We have a number of functions that are set out in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. These processes require us to collect and process personal data. This is carried out under the legal basis that the processing is necessary for the performance of our public task which is set out in UK law. For example, the administration of applications to observe the electoral process as an individual, on behalf of an organisation or as a representative of the Commission.

Publishing

We maintain and publish three registers: a register of accredited electoral observers, a register of accredited organisations (XLS) and a register of authorised Commission representatives. These are also available for public inspection at our offices on request.

The published information is only for currently accredited observers and contains:

  • electoral observer card ID number
  • first name and surname
  • type of accreditation
  • organisation name if applicable
  • date added to register
  • valid from date
  • valid to date

Sharing

We do not routinely share the information of electoral observers with third parties. We may be asked to share specific information with other bodies such as the police. Any request such as this will be considered on an individual basis and the rights of the data subject will be considered against any restrictions.

Your rights

Some rights, for example restriction and objection, may not be able to be met as this processing is part of our statutory function. We will only process the data for the purposes as defined in law. If additional processing is necessary to fulfil this statutory function, we shall take reasonable steps to inform you of this prior to the processing.

If you object to the use of your personal data as described to support the electoral observers scheme, we will be unable to processes your application.

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