Running electoral registration - Scotland

Managing responses and enquiries from individuals

Managing responses and enquiries from individuals

Your public engagement strategy and registration plan need to address how you will sufficiently resource all the methods that the public can use to contact the local authority.

You should review the effectiveness of your resourcing throughout the year to inform future planning. 

The canvass and other public engagement activity that residents come into contact with will prompt higher levels of queries and questions, so it’s important that you provide sufficient support for residents who make contact by telephone, by email or in writing.

Providing telephone support is important because many residents will have difficulties accessing the internet or understanding written material. Residents will also expect to be able to e-mail queries, talk to someone face-to-face or write letters to the ERO. Face-to-face contact may include speaking to local authority frontline such as in libraries or leisure centres or the corporate contact centre. 

If you provide other methods for residents to contact you, such as Facebook, Twitter, web-forms, and text messages, you should review how effective these channels have been in responding to queries, and also the volume of queries you have received through these channels. A high volume of queries received through one channel could require additional resources in the future or if, for example, you received a significant number of queries through certain channels such as web forms, this could indicate high usage of your local authority website but may also suggest that the information provided there could be clearer in order to mitigate queries.

How to plan resources needed to respond to enquiries

To plan levels of resourcing you should consider:

  • the peaks for demand for public information which are likely to occur following public engagement activity, for instance following the issue of canvass communications and in the run-up to registration deadlines
  • what level of enquiries you received during peaks in registration activity
  • increasing resources at your existing call centre or outsourcing responses, for example, using a specialist call centre
  • the effectiveness of your approach during the last canvass and scheduled polls, and whether you need to do anything differently
  • what contingencies you can put in place if enquiries are much higher than expected (you should test your contingency arrangements to ensure that they are robust)

Directing residents to online registration ( and providing clear and easy to navigate information about registration on your website will help to reduce the burden on your public information response lines. 

The better the information available and the easier it is to access, the less people should reach for the telephone. 

You should regularly review the volume of queries you receive through each channel.

Establishing an agreed response time for enquiries

You should establish a fixed timeframe in which responses will be made where queries cannot be dealt with immediately, so you can let the enquirer know when they may expect to receive an answer. 

For example, you could set up an automatic response to e-mails letting the enquirer know you will get back to them within 48 hours. You could also include answers to frequently asked questions with this automated response, together with links to and to the absent voting forms on your website. 

Last updated: 6 October 2020