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Electoral Registration

Volume 181: debated on Tuesday 20 November 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what rights of appeal persons have whose names are removed from an electoral register; whether such persons are notified by electoral registration officers of an intention to remove a name and are given an explanation; and what information electoral registration officers are required to supply in writing;(2) if he will withdraw Home Office circular RPA 347, issued to electoral registration officers, concerning registration of those persons whose names do not appear on poll tax registers; and if he will make a statement;(3) what is Government policy with respect to the removal of names from electoral registers of those who have failed to register for poll tax purposes; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 19 November 1990]: Circular RPA 347, issued by the Home Office on 10 August 1990 as part of its guidance to electoral registration officers—EROs—in England and Wales, made recommendations about the use of information in the community charges register in the compilation of the electoral register. This included a recommendation that a person's name should not be carried forward from one electoral register to the next if that person does not respond to the electoral canvass and his or her name does not appear in the community charges register. It also recommended that where such a name does appear in the community charges register it should not be carried forward for more than one year without further inquiries to establish eligibility.Under section 29 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, EROs in England and Wales may, for the purpose of exercising their functions, inspect the community charge register of any charging authority. The purpose of the Home Office guidance issued on 10 August was to enable and encourage EROs to make the fullest and most effective use of this right of access, to assist in the preparation of an accurate electoral register.There is no procedure whereby names can be removed from the published register. A person whose name is not carried forward from one register to the next, because he or she has failed to respond to the canvass and no longer appears to be eligible, has ample opportunity to make a claim for inclusion in the register.