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Electoral Register: Internet

Volume 481: debated on Thursday 23 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the cost has been of developing the co-ordinated online record of electors to date. (228840)

The costs of developing the co-ordinated online record of electors (CORE) to date, excluding staff costs, is £2,781,840 made up as follows:

£1,726,631 to enable local authorities’ electoral management systems to output data in an agreed Election Mark Up Language (EML) format

£23,111.38 for the feasibility study on the implementation of national access arrangements

£5,760 for a business impact assessment on data security

£6,338 for 13 workshops involving over 280 electoral administrators in England and Wales and Scottish Assessors

£1.02 million grant in aid for local authorities to support the implementation of the Electoral Registration Data Standards, introduced following a direction from Bridget Prentice made under section 52(1) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (c2) (as amended). The direction requires all Electoral Registration Officers in Great Britain to ensure that any electoral registration data held on electronic systems is formatted in compliance with the standards.

It is not possible to quantify the total cost of staff employed on the CORE project since the inception of CORE in 2003 because this information is not available. In January 2008, the CORE project began work on the development and definition of the functionality and services that the CORE Information System will provide, and in April 2008 passed through an OGC Gateway 1 review. Following the recommendation of this review the project team has been expanded to support this work. The total cost of the project team from January 2008 has been £187,259.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans there are to consult on developing the next phases of the co-ordinated online record of electors. (228841)

Throughout 2008 we have been holding meetings and workshops with potential users of the system to gather user requirements, identify issues and test assumptions around how the CORE Service and its IT and business systems will operate. This will inform development of a “high level statement of requirements” for the CORE system. It is expected that the high level statement of user requirements will be complete by March 2009. The Government would consult on the detail of any proposed CORE Scheme Order that followed this.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether a full cost-benefit analysis of introducing a co-ordinated electoral registration service has been undertaken by the Department. (228842)

There are currently no plans to introduce a co-ordinated electoral registration service.

However, the Co-ordinated Online Record of Electors (CORE) project aims to provide a single authoritative source of electoral registration data through assembling copies of local electoral registers into a single national database.

An initial cost-benefit analysis has been undertaken as part of the business case for the project. The cost-benefit analysis will develop as the business case develops, and will inform decisions on the final scope of the CORE scheme and on the development of the project. A final business case, including a final cost-benefit analysis, cannot be settled until the CORE scheme is specified in detail and a procurement strategy is agreed. The CORE project team is currently gathering user requirements to inform development of a “high level statement of requirements”, which will inform decisions on scope, procurement and define the detailed specification, and the business case and cost-benefit analysis will be updated in the light of that work.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the status is of the development of the coordinated online record of electors project. (228868)

The CORE project is currently moving forward with two parallel strands of work: implementation of electoral registration data standards and the gathering of user requirements for the CORE system and CORE service to service the detailed specification of the system.

In April 2008, my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Bridget Prentice) issued direction under section 52(1) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (c.2)(as amended) with which Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) in Great Britain are required to comply by 1 December 2009. The direction requires that any electoral registration data held on electronic systems are formatted in compliance with the standards.

Throughout 2008 officials have been holding meetings and workshops with potential users of the system to gather user requirements, identify issues and test assumptions around how the CORE Service and its IT and business systems will operate. This will inform development of a ‘high level statement of requirements’. It is expected that this high level statement of user requirements will be complete by March 2009. That statement will inform decision about the design, scope and build of the CORE system.

We continue to engage with the Electoral Commission as the preferred choice to fulfil the role of the CORE Keeper.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether a final decision on the scope and specification of the Co-ordinated Online Register of Electors project has been made. (228869)

A final decision has not yet been made on the scope and specification of the CORE service. The CORE project team is currently gathering user requirements to inform development of a “high level statement of requirements”: this in turn will inform decisions on scope and the detailed specification. Throughout 2008 we have been holding meetings and workshops with potential users of the system to gather user requirements, identify issues and test assumptions around how the CORE Service and its IT and business systems will operate. It is expected that the high level statement of user requirements will be complete by March 2009.