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Voters Pack

Volume 451: debated on Monday 30 October 2006

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many copies of the guide to new voters have been (a) produced and (b) distributed; by whom this has been done; if he will place copies of the guide in (i) the Vote Office and (ii) the Printed Paper Office; what the cost was per issue to (A) produce and (B) distribute; what consultation with hon. Members was undertaken before publication; how members of the public may obtain copies and at what cost; whether he plans to update this publication; what monitoring of the effectiveness of this publication is being planned; and if he will make a statement. (97688)

Between the launch in July 2006 up to the end of September 2006, a total of 95,756 copies of the Voting Times have been distributed across the United Kingdom to new voters, as they have reached their 18th birthday, at a cost of approximately £1 per recipient.

Each copy of Voting Times is personalised for the recipient, as research carried out indicated that this was important to maximise the impact of the guide. Because of this personalisation, it is not possible to separate production from distribution costs for the guide. While the House does not hold stocks of Voting Times the content is published electronically on the parliamentary website at http://www.parliament.uk/votingtimes/index.html from where a generic version of the guide may be downloaded or printed.

Following a resolution of the House on 26 January 2005, the House of Commons Commission was authorised to fund the publication and distribution of a new voters’ guide. Draft versions of the guide were tested with young people. The Modernisation and Administration Committees were consulted on the design and content of Voting Times prior to final approval being given by the Commission on 24 April 2006.

A further programme of research with recipients of the guide is currently under way to determine its effectiveness and any potential areas of improvement. This research will be completed by the new year. In addition, the House of Commons Information Office would welcome suggestions and feedback from hon. Members to improve future versions of the publication.