Consultation: Draft performance standards for Electoral Registration Officers

Overview

We have the power to set and monitor performance standards for electoral services. We have been setting standards for Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) in Great Britain since 2008, with the most recent update in 2016.

With our guidance and resources, the performance standards form part of a package which supports EROs with planning for and delivering well-run electoral registration services across Great Britain.

Electoral registration in Great Britain is changing as a result of the reforms to the annual canvass being introduced this year. This provides us with an appropriate and timely opportunity to develop a new performance standards framework.

We want these standards to be used by us and by EROs to understand and improve their performance, ensuring that registers are as accurate and complete as possible and that everyone who is eligible to vote and wants to is able to do so.

We want your views on a set of draft standards and how they should be used.

How to respond

The consultation closes on 31 March 2020. Complete this form to respond

Alternatively, you can email us or write to us:

Consultation on draft performance standards for EROs

The Electoral Commission

3 Bunhill Row

London

EC1Y 8YZ

Meetings

Throughout the consultation period we will attend scheduled meetings - such as the Association of Electoral Administrators (AEA) branch meeting and Scottish Assessors Association (SAA). We'll also meet individual stakeholders.

We will take these opportunities to get views on the draft standards and how we use them. We are happy to consider meeting with any other groups or interested individuals on request.

How we developed the new standards

About the draft standards

The proposed new standards are focused on the outcomes that should be delivered, rather than the processes that are followed. The objective is to help EROs and their teams to understand the impact of their electoral registration activities.

This should help EROs to make informed decisions about what activities are undertaken, how these activities are carried out and how their limited resources can be deployed efficiently and effectively.

Objectives of the draft performance standards

  • To support EROs and their teams to deliver efficient and effective electoral registration services, and to allow them to demonstrate the impact of their electoral registration activity
  • To provide reassurance to the public and key stakeholders (such as political parties and elected members) that EROs are doing everything they can to ensure that everyone who is eligible and wants to vote is able to do so

What the draft standards comprise of

  • An outcome:

This states the broad goal that EROs should be seeking to achieve

  • What inputs are needed?

This sets out the resources that will need to be put into the service to enable the necessary activities to be delivered

  • What activities are being undertaken?

This does not provide an exhaustive list of activities, but instead summarises the headline activities that EROs are likely to need to undertake to be able to meet the outcome. Our guidance and resources for EROs will support them in determining the specific activities that will need to be carried out in their particular circumstances

  • What information is needed to understand the impact of our activities?

This highlights the data and qualitative information which will help to demonstrate the impact of the activities and which should form the basis of how we and EROs can determine the success of their work. Again this is not an exhaustive list and the information listed may be supplemented by additional data or information that the ERO feels is relevant to their performance

  • What difference is being made?

This summarises the combined effects that the activities should have and which, taken together, would contribute to the delivery of the overall outcome

  • How can we determine the success of our work?

This sets out measures that will help to demonstrate what difference the work is making. In some cases the difference will not be straightforward to quantify or otherwise measure, and so an aggregation of several measures may be relied upon to demonstrate what the work is achieving

The draft standards have been designed to be flexible enough to recognise the varying local circumstances each ERO is working within. With this in mind, whilst we recognise the benefits of EROs using targets for their registration activity locally, we remain of the view that it would not be appropriate to set performance targets at a national level, given the activities and impacts will vary significantly by local area reflecting the particular demographics and circumstances EROs are each working within.

Questions

Questions

  • Do you think the draft standards will support EROs with understanding and improving their own performance?
  • Do you think the standards will enable the Commission to understand the performance of EROs and to identify where support and challenge is needed?
  • Are the standards focussed on the right outcomes? If not, what outcomes should be reflected?
  • Do the draft standards demonstrate a clear link from inputs through to the overall outcomes?
  • Do the standards focus on the right activities? If not, what activities should be included?
  • Do you have any thoughts on the measurability of the impact of the activities set out in the draft standards?
  • Do the standards cover the full range of responsibilities of the ERO? Are there any gaps or is there anything included that shouldn’t be there?

Using the standards: Electoral Registration Officers

We want to ensure that EROs and their teams find the standards useful in understanding, improving and reporting on their performance.

The standards, and the tools and templates we will make available to support them, have been designed to help EROs understand the impact of their activities on the overall delivery of their registration services. They should also help to identify where improvements can be made, and support EROs to report on their own performance locally.

EROs should be using the data, and qualitative information set out in the standards, to help them understand the impact of their activities in any case, so they can identify what works, what doesn’t, and where improvements can be made.

The framework is designed to support this analysis and focus EROs on the key data and information that will indicate what is working well and what is not working so well. The standards, and the supporting tools and templates, should also help EROs to demonstrate locally – whether within an ERO’s local authority, to elected members, or more broadly – how the activities they are carrying out contribute to the provision of an efficient and effective electoral registration service and, ultimately, will help to ensure that everyone who is eligible and wants to vote is able to do so.

It is critical that data is readily available to EROs through their electoral management software (EMS) systems at any point within a year. The analysis of accurate and easily available data is vital for EROs to understand their performance, monitor their progress and assess the impact of their registration activities.

We are continuing to work closely with Cabinet Office as part of the preparations for the introduction of canvass reform to ensure the relevant data can be easily accessed by EROs when they need it.

Guidance and resources

Questions

Questions

  • Do you think the standards and the types of additional tools the Commission intends to provide will support EROs to understand and report on their own performance?
  • Are there any other additional tools and guidance that would help to support EROs in using the standards?

Using the standards: Electoral Commission

We have the power in law to issue directions to EROs to provide reports on their performance against the standards, and to prepare and publish assessments of their performance against the standards.

Proposed approach

Our aim is to use the standards to inform how we engage with EROs and their teams over the course of the year. This will help us to understand their performance and to identify any issues or concerns, enabling us to provide support and challenge where it is most needed.

However, we also have a responsibility to be transparent to the range of interested stakeholders across Great Britain, including voters, about the performance of EROs and, in particular, to highlight where the outcomes of the standards are not being delivered.

We therefore intend to summarise the data and information gathered through our engagement with EROs and their teams to inform regular progress reports. These reports would provide reassurance to the public and key stakeholders (such as political parties and elected members) that EROs are doing everything they can to ensure that everyone who is eligible and wants to vote is able to do so, highlighting any instances where this is not the case.

Engagement and reporting

Question

Question

  • Will our proposed approach to how we engage with EROs and their teams enable us to provide effective support and challenge? Is there anything more or different we should be using the standards to do?
  • Do you have any views on the proposed approach to reporting?

Download and review the draft potential performance standards

Last updated: 22 January 2020
Next review: 7 January 2021