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General Election 2010: Identifying voters through a direct property linkage

Posted: 21 April 2010

As the 2010 General Election campaigns gather pace, Council held Electoral Registers are for the first time benefitting from their linkage with the single address register created by local government, the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG).
All electors live somewhere but historically, this information has been maintained in different ways. Now, with thanks to the hard work and effort made by local authorities and a 2008 Directive from the Ministry of Justice, all entries in Electoral Registers are associated with a property. This project has ensured that as many people as possible who can vote have the opportunity to do so, together with improving the reliability and accountability of electoral information.
A 2008 Ministry of Justice Directive (MOJ) requires all Local Authorities to store their electoral data in a consistent way with prescribed formatting for names, dates of birth and addresses. Each address in a register is matched to a Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) from the NLPG. The whole process was designed to improve the quality and integrity of electoral registers, enable effective checking of political party donations and to help in detecting certain types of electoral fraud. It also revealed that many properties were entirely missing from Electoral Registers. The process of matching the two datasets together has also improved the quality and reliability of the NLPG, and has facilitated the wider use of the data across Councils.
Tandridge District Council, one of the first to achieve a 100 per cent adoption of the government directive had matched their Electoral Registers to the NLPG in 2005 but spurred on by the MOJ directive in 2008/9 found that 435 properties were missing from the Electoral Register. Pat Porter from Tandridge District Council explains, "Whilst we achieved a 100% match in 2005, this must be an ongoing process as nothing stays static for long. We now carry out two matching exercises each year to keep the Electoral Register in synch with the NLPG, once in January to prepare for possible elections in the spring and again in August prior to the annual canvass."
In Nottingham, a city with over 130,000 electors, the Council found over 1,300 anomalous records in their Electoral Register with more than 2,000 missing addresses. "Although the matching exercise was technically challenging and could not have been achieved without close partnership of staff, software vendors and external consultants the results have been worth it," explained Diane Fieldhouse at Nottingham City Council. "We have made sure that this was not a one-off exercise and provided the Democratic Services team with direct access to the NLPG. Electoral Register and address data are now maintained via regular change files direct from the NLPG, so there is no need for staff to input information manually. Our address information has also benefitted from the linkages â the Electoral Registration Team is an excellent source of vital customer intelligence".
Tandridge District Council and Nottingham City Council were winners and highly commended respectively in the 2009 NLPG - Ministry of Justice Exemplar Award category for the âBest Implementation of the Electoral Registration Data Standard.'
21 April 2010

The NLPG is a joint venture between all local authorities in England and Wales, the Local Government Information House, part of IDeA and Intelligent Addressing Limited.
Intelligent Addressing is contracted under the terms of the Mapping Services Agreement for Local Government to manage the NLPG hub. IA is required to receive, validate and integrate LLPG data from Local Authorities into the national hub and then distribute the data as part of the NLPG. Under a separate public private partnership agreement, IA has been contracted to act as the sole agent for the commercialisation of the NLPG, and promote its use in market sectors beyond the scope of the MSA
Intelligent Addressing contacts:
Gayle Gander, Head of Marketing| 0207 747 3500| [email protected]| www.intelligent-addressing.co.uk
The Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) works in partnership with all councils, to enhance the performance of the best, accelerate the speed of improvement of the rest, and develop the sector as a whole.
Working in partnership with the local government community, developing national infrastructure projects that enable councils to deliver local services more effectively; LGIH acts as an intermediary between the public and the private sector enabling it to negotiate with private companies on behalf of local authorities in order to provide key parts of a technical infrastructure for improved service delivery.
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