Boundary changes and the introduction of the Individual Elector Registration initiative in 2014 led to significant changes in how the elections function was supported by the Information Management team within Northumberland County Council.
The team carried out many activities to improve efficiencies and data quality:
- added cross-references to the polling station data to enable different datasets to be linked together
- checked occupier names using council tax records, which is imperative for automatic local data matching
- checked the property status to establish if a property is any of the following: under construction, long-term empty, or uninhabitable. Seamless integration between systems means no resource is needed to keep this information up-to-date.
- Digitised the boundary data to enable interactive viewing by property
There have been several key outcomes from the project:
- the authority have been able to rationalise the polling station locations and numbers resulted in fewer, better placed polling points reducing the number from 234 to 226. This has been enabled because they have been able to view the information spatially and also interrogate the data more intelligently for example by removing postal voters
- the digital solution has now enabled the elections team, for the first time, to visually gather knowledge' about the community including information such as empty properties; demolished properties etc
- the accuracy of the data has been increased
- boundary changes are smoother and take less staff time
- identified 300 addresses that were not listed on the register of electors and highlights new properties as they are built or come back in to use
- identified cost-savings of over £39,000 every election