Running electoral registration - Scotland

Identifying potential target audiences for public engagement

Identifying potential target audiences for public engagement

You should use data sources, such as data from your local authority and the census, to build a detailed profile of the make-up of your registration area. You should review this regularly and consider any additional data.

Your local authority may hold and regularly update demographic information about residents including:

  • the sorts of activities they take part in
  • the services they use
  • their attitudes
  • their communication preferences
  • where different groups are clustered geographically

Some authorities also use consumer classification systems to identify the types of people in their area so that they can use their resources effectively to target groups with relevant information. 

Target groups may be distributed evenly across the authority, for example attainers, while others, such as students or private renters, may be concentrated in particular wards or neighbourhoods. 

This information may also be useful in your planning for the canvass

Research carried out by the Commission indicates that people from the following groups are less likely to be registered:

  • younger people (under 35) 
  • private renters
  • people of Black, mixed or other ethnicity groups
  • citizens of the European Union and Commonwealth
  • those considered to be at the lower end of the social economic scale grades

Our research also shows that the registration of young people and, in particular, attainers, remains a challenge. The inspection of local authority education services data may provide you with information which could assist with the identification of potential electors who may be eligible to be registered as attainers.

Your engagement strategy should include how you will engage with attainers in your area. Working with schools and colleges in your area to target these potential electors should be a key area of your public engagement activity. You may also be able to draw on your own or others experiences of engaging with young people to date and use any lessons learnt to inform your future plans.

It might be helpful to contact other authorities with similar target groups in order to share experiences and understand what has worked for them in practice. You should continually review the demographics of your registration area to identify further groups that are under-registered.

Last updated: 6 October 2020