Privacy and Electoral Services

This privacy notice explains how the Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer (the data controller) for Buckinghamshire Council will use the personal information we collect about you when you contact electoral services.

Information we hold about you

We can hold the following information for pending, new or existing entries on the electoral register:

  • name, address, and nationality
  • date of birth (for all entries made from June 2014) or whether you are exempt from jury service based on age
  • unique identifiers (such as National Insurance number)
  • documentary evidence (such as scanned correspondence, passports, payroll information, driving license, utility bills)
  • signature
  • contact details (email and telephone numbers)
  • notes about any relevant circumstances that you have provided to us
  • your previous or redirected address
  • other occupants in your home
  • whether you have chosen to opt out of the open version of the register

As part of our duties, we may be required to collect sensitive personal information. For example, under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) nationality is categorised as special category data. This is because it may reveal a person’s ethnicity. Applications to register anonymously, may also be classed as special category data in some cases.

Why we need your information

As the data controller, the Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer for Buckinghamshire Council collects and uses the personal information you provide for the purpose of maintaining the electoral register and also as part of the election process.

You need to be registered to be able to vote in any election or referendum for which you are eligible. The Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer are committed to protecting your privacy.

We need your information to:

  • maintain an accurate and complete electoral register
  • process applications to register to vote
  • process absent vote and anonymous registration applications
  • undertake an annual household canvass
  • undertake specific processing at an election (including sending Poll Cards or Postal Votes)

The legal basis for processing your data is that it is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest. The Electoral Registration Officer or Returning Officer has a duty to comply with:

  • The Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013
  • The Representation of the People Act 1983
  • The Representation of the People Regulations 2001
  • The Local Elections (Principal Area) Rules 2006
  • The Local Elections (Parish and Communities) Rules 2006
  • The Police and Crime Commissioner Elections Order 2012
  • The Neighbourhood Planning (Referendums) Regulations 2012
  • The Elections Act 2022

We may need to use your special category data because it is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest in order to comply with the laws detailed above.

How we share and process your information

When you apply to register to vote, we will process your information to determine your application, which includes verifying your identity. To do this, the data provided will be processed by the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service, which is managed by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). As part of this process data will be shared with the Department of Work and Pensions and the DLUHC suppliers that are data processors for the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service. Find out more.

The information you provide when you register to vote is held in electoral registers which are managed by the Electoral Registration Officer. The Electoral Registration Officer keeps two registers – the full electoral register and the open register. The full register is published once a year and is updated every month. Any individual may inspect the full electoral register under supervision and may only make hand written notes. The Electoral Registration Officer has a responsibility to ensure the supervision is adequate.

The Open Register is an extract of the full electoral register and is available for sale to any person who requests a copy. It can also be inspected without supervision. You can opt out of appearing on the Open Register when you apply to register to vote or at a later date. If you opt out after your application has been determined, this will not affect or amend any copies of the Open Register which have been previously purchased.

Other people we may share your information with;

  • authorised officers of the council, our printers and software providers, in order to manage the electoral register, print poll cards, postal vote packs and other electoral material
  • registered political parties, local constituency parties and elected representatives.
  • candidates, agents and other permitted participants (who can use it for electoral purposes only, ahead of an election).
  • The British Library
  • local authority archive services within Buckinghamshire Council
  • other Returning Officers
  • UK Statistics Authority
  • The Electoral Commission
  • Parliamentary Boundary Commission
  • Boundary Commission for England
  • Jury Summoning Bureau
  • parish and community councils
  • The Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner
  • National Crime Agency, police forces and security services.
  • Government Departments or bodies and
  • credit reference agencies (who can purchase and use the information, for specified purposes, such as vetting credit applications).

We may also share your information:

  • where the health and safety of others is at risk.
  • when the law requires us to pass on information under special circumstances such as crime prevention or the detection of fraud (for example as part of the National Fraud Initiative).

Details of whether you have voted (but not how you have voted), may be shared with:

  • The Electoral Commission
  • National Crime Agency and Government Departments or bodies
  • police forces
  • registered political parties
  • local constituency parties
  • elected representatives
  • those who are entitled in law to receive the electoral register ahead of that election, (who can purchase the information and use it for specified and limited purposes).

We will only share your information, where we are required to do so by law and certain conditions are met. We will take steps to remind individuals and groups of the specific circumstances for which the data can be used (such as for research or electoral purposes), but once the information has been provided, the individual or group is responsible as a data controller in their own right, for the lawful control and processing of the information supplied.

We will securely hold your information and only keep it for as long as is necessary. Where information is no longer needed it will be confidentially disposed of.

Automated decision making

We do not carry out any automated decision making.

Your rights

You have legal rights over your information. For details of those rights, see our corporate Privacy Policy.

Your rights will differ depending on our lawful basis for processing your data. In the case of Electoral Services information collected and held about you is only used for the reasons above. If we need to use it for any other reason we will normally tell you. You cannot object to the above processing where we need it to carry out our duties under the law.

You have the right to object to the use of certain contact information, such as telephone numbers, or email.

If you do not give us your email address or telephone number, or ask us to stop using them, we will send you information in the post. This may mean you do not receive information as quickly. You can unsubscribe by emailing your request to [email protected].

If you refuse to give us information or deliberately give us the wrong information you may be committing a criminal offence. If you fail to apply to register having been invited and are required to do so you could be fined.

Our Data Protection Officer can be contacted at Buckinghamshire Council, The Gateway, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, HP19 8FF, by email at [email protected]or by phone at 0300 131 6000.

If you have any concerns about our use of your personal information, you can make a complaint to the Data Protection Officer. If you remain unhappy with how we have used your data you can then complain to the ICO.

Date of publication/last update: June 2022