1. The Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 passed
by the then Labour Government, provided for a new system of electoral
registration where each eligible elector is registered individually,
instead of the current system of registration by household. The
Coalition's Programme for Government promised to "reduce
electoral fraud by speeding up the implementation of individual
On 30 June 2011, the Government published a White Paper on individual
electoral registration, with draft clauses and an impact assessment.
In the same month, the Government laid secondary legislation
allowing for a series of data matching pilots in particular local
authority areas to test how far comparing electoral registers
against other public databases would allow eligible people missing
from the register to be identified.
Our Report largely focuses on the proposals in the White Paper.
2. On 13 July and 14 September 2011, the Government
published two further sets of draft legislation, with explanatory
notes, including a range of proposed measures in the field of
These will be looked at in greater detail in Chapter 8.
3. The Committee decided to undertake pre-legislative
scrutiny of these proposals in July 2011. Our witnesses
have included academic experts, representatives of some of those
groups who might be particularly affected by the proposals, local
authority officials involved in administering electoral registers
and elections and in conducting the data matching pilots, the
Electoral Commission, and the Government. We are grateful as ever
to all of our witnesses, and to those who provided us with written
4. This Report looks first at the likely impact of
the Government's individual electoral registration proposals on
both the completeness and accuracy of the electoral registers,
as well as the impact on those who use the registers. We then
consider the transitional provisions for 2014-15, before looking
at resource implications of the proposals for local electoral
registration officers. Finally, we consider the other electoral
administration proposals, in so far as these have not already
been taken into account.
5. Individual registration was implemented in Northern
Ireland in 2002. The Government's proposals therefore largely
relate to the rest of the United Kingdom. We attempt to draw lessons
in this Report from the Northern Ireland experience where this
6. We welcome the fact that these proposals have
been published for pre-legislative scrutiny by us, as well as
for wider consultation.
1 HM Government, The Coalition: our programme for
Government, May 2010, p27 Back
Cabinet Office, Individual Electoral Registration, and
Impact Assessment, Cm 8108 and 8109, June 2011 Back
Electoral Registration Data Schemes Order 2011 (S.I. 2011, No.
Cabinet Office, Draft electoral administration provisions,
Cm 8150, July 2011 and Further draft electoral administration
provisions, Cm 8177, September 2011