Running electoral registration - England

Potential data sources for local data matching

Potential data sources for local data matching

You can require any person to supply you with information required for the purpose of your duties in maintaining the register of electors.1 You are therefore entitled to request data sets from organisations where you deem it necessary for the purpose of verifying the identity of an applicant.
There are a wide variety of data sources that may be available including, but not limited to: 

  • council tax data
  • adult social care data 
  • local authority billing and payments data 
  • parking permits data
  • school admission data
  • blue badge data 
  • customer service records 
  • payroll data 
  • registrar data on births, deaths and marriages

Each data source must be assessed against the criteria found in our guidance on evaluating local data sources before being used for local data matching.
Where a data set has limited coverage you may wish to consider using that data set alongside another to provide greater coverage across your registration area. Data sets with limited coverage may have additional value where they match with groups identified by you as part of your engagement strategy. 

As ERO, you are legally entitled to access local data sets and to inspect and make copies of records kept in whatever form by:2  

  • the council which appointed you (and where you are an ERO for a district council in a two-tier area, the county council)
  • any registrar of births, deaths and marriages, including any superintendent
  • any person, including a company or organisation, providing services to, or authorised to exercise any function of the council; this includes those providing outsourced services under any finance agreement. For example, a private contractor appointed to collect council tax on behalf of the local authority

Where EROs are appointed by a lower tier authority in a two-tier structure request relevant data from their County Council, it is at the discretion of the upper tier authority as to whether to supply this data and EROs should ensure that they have appropriate data sharing agreements in place where this data is supplied. 

Legislation gives express permission for local authorities which have not directly appointed an ERO, to provide data to this ERO, but requires a written agreement between the ERO and the authority to be in place before any transfer of data occurs.3 The written agreement should regulate the processing of information including its transfer, storage, destruction, and security. 

While you have a legal entitlement to your local authority’s data, you should conduct any data matching activities in accordance with current data protection legislation, relevant guidance and good practice available on the Information Commissioner’s Office website

Information supplied as part of an application for a Voter Authority Certificate or Anonymous Elector's Document

You may not use any information supplied as part of an application for a Voter Authority Certificate or Anonymous Elector's Document, such as a National Insurance number, for any other purpose than the processing of that application.4 This means that you may not use the information provided with an application for a Voter Authority Certificate or Anonymous Elector's Document to complete a registration application for the same elector where the registration application is incomplete or the information supplied with the registration application has not matched with DWP records.

The registration process is prescribed and requires the elector to provide a declaration that the information on the application is true.5

Last updated: 6 March 2023