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Electoral Register

Volume 481: debated on Tuesday 21 October 2008

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission whether the Electoral Commission has taken steps to encourage the use of doorstep canvassing in increasing registration. (228702)

The Commission informs me that under section 9A of the Representation of the People Act 1983 electoral registration officers (EROs) are required to visit, at least once, any property for which an annual canvass form has not been returned.

The Commission has produced comprehensive guidance for EROs, which outlines this legal responsibility. Prior to each canvass, the Commission issues a circular to EROs reminding them of this guidance.

In addition, the Commission has recently published performance standards for EROs. The standards cover the extent to which EROs use house-to-house inquiries to ensure that all eligible residents are registered. The Commission will publish its assessment of EROs' performance against the standards in spring 2009.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what steps the Electoral Commission has taken to measure the effectiveness of electoral registration officers in increasing levels of registration. (228703)

The Electoral Commission informs me that in July 2008 it published 10 performance standards for electoral registration officers (EROs) covering the following key areas:

planning and organisation;

participation;

integrity and completeness; and

accuracy of the electoral register.

Three of these standards deal specifically with:

sources of information used by EROs to verify records on the electoral register and identify potential new electors;

sources of information used by EROs to ensure all relevant properties are included in the database; and

the extent to which EROs use house-to-house inquiries to ensure that all eligible residents are registered.

The Commission will shortly be assessing EROs against these standards and will publish an assessment in spring 2009.