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Electoral Services

How we use your personal information for Electoral Services purposes

The Council provides services for local communities and the people who live in them.  Undertaking this work means that we must collect and use information about the people we provide services to and keep a record of those services. Because we collect and use personal information about individuals we must make sure that they know what we intend to do with their information and who it may be shared with. 

We have summarised in this privacy notice some of the key ways in which we use your personal information for the Electoral Services Department purposes. This information should be read in conjunction with the Council’s corporate privacy notice

Introduction

This privacy notice is intended to provide information about how the Council will use (or ‘process’) you personal data for the purpose of Electoral Services.

The Electoral Registration Officer (and when conducting Elections, the Returning Officer) collects the personal data you provide for the purpose of registering your right to vote and administering elections. You need to be registered to be able to vote in any election or referendum for which you are eligible

We have a duty to maintain a complete and accurate register throughout the year. We will only collect the personal data we need from you, in order to do this.

When processing the personal data, we process only the minimum amount necessary in relation to the purpose.

The Data Controller

The Council is the data controller for the personal data we process, and is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as a controller (Z47870100).

How to contact us for data protection matters or concerns

If you have any concerns or would like to know more about how the service using your personal information we’d encourage you to contact us in the first instance in one of the following ways:

By email : electoralservices@rctcbc.gov.uk

By telephone : 01443 490100

In writing : RCTCBC, 10-12 Gelliwastad Road, Pontypridd, CF37 2BW

The Data Protection Officer

The Data Protection Officer (DPO) can be contacted in relation to data protection matters.

Should you have the need to contact the Data Protection Officer directly you can do so via email to the following email address;

The categories of personal data we process

We will hold personal information about you in our role as the Electoral Services Department 

This information may include: 

  • Contact Details such as name,  current and previous address, email address and telephone number.
  • Personal Identifiers such as National Insurance number, Date of Birth and your signature for absent vote checking
  •  Scanned application forms, documentary evidence, dates of any letters of correspondence. 
  •  Notes about any relevant circumstances that you have told us 
  •  Information on the other occupants within your home.

If we need further evidence to validate your identity we may also process the following information

  • A recent photograph
  • Birth, Marriage, Civil Partnership or Adoption Certificate
  • Firearms Certificate
  • Bail Decision Record
  • Financial Information such as Pension, Credit Card, Bank Statements
  • Employment information such as P45 or P60
  • Benefit Statements such as Universal Credit, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Idependence Payments or state benefits.
  • Passport or Driving Licence
  • Identity Card Issued in the EEA
  • Immigration documents processed in the UK
  • Electorol Identity Card issued in Nothern Ireland

From May 2023 we will also process photographic identity documents in our polling stations.

Why we process the personal data

We use it for electoral purposes including maintenance of the electoral register and to administer elections.  We won't use it for any other purposes without telling you first.

Sometimes we have to give it to other authorities, organisations or people. This would be for the prevention or detection of crime, or because of legal matters, for example. We don't need your consent to do this, but if we can, we'll let you know if we've passed your information on.

Applications and Annual Canvass

All individual applications to register received throughout the year are uploaded daily to the Cabinet Office via a secure portal to verify that the application is valid.

The process begins with National annual canvass data matching via the Cabinet Office.   All electors and properties held on the electoral register are uploaded securely to the Cabinet Office (14 and 15 year olds are excluded). The results of this match are then imported directly back into the Electoral Registration Software. 

Local Data matching will also be carried out against Council tax records to ensure the register is as accurate as possible.

The results of these data matches will provide the ERO with the required information to decide which canvass communications are initially sent to each property.

Young Voters

From June 2020, 14 and 15 year olds can apply to register to vote, as 16 year olds are eligible to vote in Senedd elections from 2021. Any applications received from young voters aged under 16 at time of submission can be verified against Education records. Once approved, their information will be held on the computer system but will not be included in outputs from the system such as registers and data files.

Voter Authority Certificates

From May 2023 individuals, who wish to vote in person for UK Parliamentary Elections and Police and Crime Commissioner Elections, including those acting as a proxy on behalf of another individual, will be required to produce an accepted form of photographic ID to prove their identity before they will be issued with a ballot paper in polling stations

If an individual does not have accepted forms of photographic ID, they can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. This is a document containing an elector’s name and photograph and can be obtained free of charge from their local Electoral Registration Officer (ERO), following verification of identinty.  Voter Authority Certificates can also be applied for online.

Online Absent Voter Applications

From October 2023, we will be offering a new service where individuals can submit requests for absent votes online.  Individuals can now apply and upload the necessary Identification documents digitally.

Our lawful basis for processing the personal data;

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), our lawful basis for processing the personal data to undertake our statutory function of Electoral Registration and Administration purposes is:

  • Legal Obligation – Article 6(c) GDPR – processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject.
  • Public Task - Article 6(e) GDPR – processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller.
  • Substantial public interest - Article 9 (2)(g) GDPR - processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest, on the basis of Union or Member State law which shall be proportionate to the aim pursued, respect the essence of the right to data protection and provide for suitable and specific measures to safeguard the fundamental rights and the interests of the data subject.
  • Schedule 1, Part 2.6(1)(b) of the Date Protection Act 2018

The primary legislation, regulations and guidance that supports this includes, but is not limited to;

  • Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 
  • Representation of the People Regulations 2001, and
    • Sections 16+24, Part 3 Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020
    • The Representation of the People (Annual Canvass) (Amendment) Regulations 2019
    • The Representation of the People (Annual Canvass) (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2020
    • Elections Act 2022
    • The Voter Identification Regulations 2022
    • The Representation of the People (Postal and Proxy Voting etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2023

Who or where we get the personal data from

In the vast majority of cases, the information comes directly from you. Sometimes other people may submit information on behalf of someone else, for example, through information supplied during the annual canvass which is used in the process of maintaining the Electoral Register. 

In addition, outside agencies such as other local authorities may provide us with personal information.This may happen when you move into the area from another local authority area. If you are a student at the University of South Wales they may share you data with us, again as part of our responsibilities for maintaining the Electoral Register. 

Who we share personal data with

We may share personal data with the following key organisations to fulfil our statutory function of Electoral Registration.

When sharing the personal data, we only share the minimum amount necessary in relation to the purpose.

Who

Purpose

UK Government - Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Department of Work & Pensions

  • To assist you with obtaining a Voter Authority Certificate.
  • To complete identication checks on voter applications i.e absent voter, Proxy etc

Election representatives

Parts of the register may be shared with elected representatives and candidates standing for the area they represent.

Credit reference agencies

To provide credit reference services.

Internal Council Departments  –

Cabinet Office

Education Department

For verification purposes.

Commissioned third party service providers – MPS Marketing Services

Printing companies for electoral stationary purposes. 

Emergency Services – South Wales Police

To assist with investigations

Anyone can inspect the full electoral register.

  • Inspection of the register will be under supervision
  • They can take extracts from the register, but only by hand written notes
  • Information taken must not be used for direct marketing purposes, in accordance with data protection legislation, unless it has been published in the open version
  • Anyone who fails to observe these conditions is committing a criminal offence and will be charged a penalty of up to £5,000.

The open register contains the same information as the full register, but is not used for elections or referendums. It is updated and published every month and can be sold to any person, organisation or company for a wide range of purposes. It is used by businesses and charities for checking names and address details; users of the register include direct marketing firms and also online directory firms.

You can choose whether or not to have your personal details included in the open version of the register; however, they will be included unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register will not affect your right to vote.

Data Processors

A data processor is a company or organisation that processes personal data on behalf of a controller. The category of data processors that the Service uses is;

-       IT system suppliers / service providers

Our data processors act only upon our instruction. They cannot do anything with the personal data unless we instruct them to do so. They will not share the personal data with any organisation apart from us or use it for their own purposes. They will hold it securely and retain it for the period we instruct.

Should you have a specific query relating to our data processors, please contact the Data Protection Lead.

How long we retain the personal data;

The Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer are obliged to process your personal data in relation to preparing for and conducting elections.

Your details will be kept and updated in accordance with our legal obligations and in line with statutory retention periods.

In keeping with the General Data Protection Regulation storage limitation principle, records are periodically reviewed. Not all personal data is retained. Only personal data that is relevant to the record is retained for the entire retention period.  Information that has no long term or evidential value is routinely destroyed in the normal course of business.  

Your data protection rights

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gives you important rights, including the right to access the personal information the services hold about you.

Click here for further information on your information rights and how to exercise them. 

Your right to make a data protection complaint to the Council

You have the right to complain to the Council if you believe we have not handled your personal data responsibly and in line with good practice.

If you have a concern, we encourage you to contact the us in the first instance. Most concerns can be resolved relatively quickly through a simple phone call or email to us. Should you wish to make a formal complaint you can do so via our Corporate Feedback Scheme.

Your right to make a data protection complaint to the ICO

You can complain to the ICO if you are unhappy with how we have used your data, but we encourage you to contact us first.

The ICO’s contact information is:           

  • Address: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF
  • Helpline number: 0303 123 1113
  • Website: https://www.ico.org.uk