Financial implications of the Bill
78 The majority of the ongoing costs brought by the Bill will be incurred by local authorities’ electoral registration officers in the first instance, due to the time and resources needed to process applications to register as an overseas elector and renewals of overseas registrations. The level of these costs will depend entirely on the number of newly eligible electors who choose to apply to register and as such cannot be predicted in advance. The impact assessment accompanying the Bill gives an illustration of these costs for a possible level of registration, and these estimates will continue to be refined as we collect technical feedback and further information on the registration process from administrators. The Government plans to provide funding for electoral registration officers’ costs, in accordance with the new burdens doctrine.
79 There are further one-off costs of £0.9m associated with IT system changes to implement the Bill which the government will commission quotes for in due course. Initial estimates of these cost are:
1. ~£0.1m to change the online electoral registration service on gov.uk to allow electors made eligible by the Bill to use the service and allow the online service to process renewals of registration;
2. ~£0.7m to make changes to electoral management software used by electoral registration officers to allow the software to process application forms, and to record registrations of, electors made eligible by the Bill and to process renewals of registration made through the online service on gov.uk;
80 Any increase in the size of the registered electorate will slightly increase the costs of conducting polls, and so increase the cost to the consolidated fund of polls which use the parliamentary electorate. Furthermore, we expect there to be some costs associated with communications and awareness raising campaigns targeting newly eligible electors.
81 Further details of the costs and benefits of the Bill’s provisions are set out in the impact assessment published alongside the Bill.