Running electoral registration - Wales

Your public engagement strategy and registration plan

Your public engagement strategy and registration plan

This section of the guidance covers the need to put together a public engagement strategy, what your public engagement strategy should include and how you should go about implementing it. It also covers considerations for putting together a registration plan.

Why having a public engagement strategy and registration plan is important

You have a duty under Section 9A of the Representation of the People Act 1983 to take all necessary steps to comply with the duty to maintain the electoral register and to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that all those eligible – and no others – are registered in it. To ensure that the quality of the register is maintained throughout the year it is important that you:

  • identify and target any unregistered residents
  • process any amendments to an elector’s current registration details 
  • take steps to remove electors who are no longer eligible

Maximising the number of voters registered relies on an effective local public engagement strategy with robust processes behind it. A proactive approach is required throughout the year to identify people who are not registered and encourage them to register.

By encourage, we mean doing everything you can to encourage an application to be made before or after formally inviting someone to register.

In particular, you should have plans in place to carry out registration activity in advance of scheduled elections or referendums to reach electors and encourage them to register to vote.

Your public engagement strategy and registration plan should set out your approach to identifying and targeting potential new electors.

It is important that they remain living documents and you use all available data to keep them under review. 

The challenge of maximising registration takes place in the context of wider challenges for electoral registration, including voter disengagement, transient populations and the other registration challenges that exist in your area. The lessons you have learnt in addressing these challenges to date should be reflected in your updated public engagement strategy.

Public engagement includes:

  • any forms, letters or emails you send directly to individuals or households
  • phone calls, e-mails and direct face-to-face conversations with individuals
  • local activity with partner organisations 
  • contact with organisations such as schools, universities, landlords, housing associations and hostels
  • press releases, media work and use of social media
  • public awareness activity, including local advertising and publicity directly aimed at residents 

An effective local public engagement strategy should reduce the need for follow-up activity, free up resources and help to maximise the number of voters registered. You will need to build and maintain relationships with other teams from across the local authority for your public engagement work to be as effective as possible. These include: 

  • IT
  • communications and engagement professionals 
  • other teams in the local authority who have contact with those residents less likely to be registered

You will also need to work with external partners. You should consider who these partners can help you to reach and how. You will need to ensure that they are engaged, have all the information they need, and understand the timings for any planned engagement work.  

Last updated: 27 October 2023