Chris Ruane Portrait

Chris Ruane

Labour - Former Member for Vale of Clwyd

Shadow Minister (Wales)
3rd Jul 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Political and Constitutional Reform Committee
20th Jan 2014 - 30th Mar 2015
Home Affairs Committee
4th Feb 2013 - 4th Nov 2013
Opposition Whip (Commons)
7th Oct 2011 - 11th Jan 2013
Statutory Instruments (Select Committee)
7th Dec 2009 - 6th May 2010
Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee)
7th Dec 2009 - 6th May 2010
Crossrail Bill
14th Nov 2007 - 18th Nov 2007
Welsh Affairs Committee
18th Jan 1999 - 16th Dec 2002


Division Voting information

Chris Ruane has voted in 2027 divisions, and 16 times against the majority of their Party.

16 Jan 2019 - UK Participation In The EU Agency For Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust): Post-Adoption Opt-In Decision - View Vote Context
Chris Ruane voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Labour No votes vs 230 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 577 Noes - 20
28 Jan 2013 - Succession to the Crown Bill - View Vote Context
Chris Ruane voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 17 Labour Aye votes vs 154 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 38 Noes - 371
21 Jul 2010 - Use of the chamber (united kingdom youth parliament) - View Vote Context
Chris Ruane voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 4 Labour No votes vs 193 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 499 Noes - 21
22 Oct 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Chris Ruane voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 48 Labour Aye votes vs 230 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 215 Noes - 299
22 Oct 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Chris Ruane voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 49 Labour Aye votes vs 227 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 206 Noes - 298
22 Oct 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Chris Ruane voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 47 Labour Aye votes vs 226 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 194 Noes - 306
22 Oct 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Chris Ruane voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 45 Labour Aye votes vs 226 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 183 Noes - 308
20 May 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Chris Ruane voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 39 Labour Aye votes vs 240 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 190 Noes - 332
20 May 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Chris Ruane voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 56 Labour Aye votes vs 231 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 233 Noes - 304
19 May 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Chris Ruane voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 61 Labour Aye votes vs 215 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 176 Noes - 336
19 May 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Chris Ruane voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 62 Labour Aye votes vs 216 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 223 Noes - 286
19 May 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Chris Ruane voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 58 Labour Aye votes vs 217 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 181 Noes - 314
19 May 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Chris Ruane voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 51 Labour Aye votes vs 225 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 163 Noes - 342
14 Mar 2007 - Trident - View Vote Context
Chris Ruane voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 94 Labour Aye votes vs 226 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 167 Noes - 413
7 Mar 2007 - House of Lords Reform - View Vote Context
Chris Ruane voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 156 Labour Aye votes vs 157 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 305 Noes - 267
7 Mar 2007 - House of Lords Reform - View Vote Context
Chris Ruane voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 96 Labour No votes vs 207 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 337 Noes - 224
View All Chris Ruane Division Votes

All Debates

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Mark Harper (Conservative)
(39 debate interactions)
Guto Bebb (Independent)
(37 debate interactions)
George Osborne (Conservative)
(28 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(190 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(114 debate contributions)
Wales Office
(106 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(69 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Chris Ruane's debates

Latest EDMs signed by Chris Ruane

4th July 2017
Chris Ruane signed this EDM on Monday 17th July 2017

MENTAL HEALTH IN PRISONS

Tabled by: Liz Saville Roberts (Plaid Cymru - Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
That this House welcomes the NAO report, Mental Health in Prisons, published on 29 June 2017; notes that 37 per cent of the average month's prison population are reported to have mental health or well-being illness and that 7917 prison inmates were recorded by NHS England as having received treatment …
20 signatures
(Most recent: 6 Dec 2017)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 11
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 2
Scottish National Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
27th June 2017
Chris Ruane signed this EDM on Wednesday 5th July 2017

WOMEN AGAINST STATE PENSION INEQUALITY

Tabled by: Grahame Morris (Labour - Easington)
That this House believes it has a moral duty to ensure that there is a fair transition for women born on or after 6 April 1951 regarding their pensions; recognises the need for a non-means tested bridging pension that will secure the financial stability of those affected by the 1995 …
197 signatures
(Most recent: 4 Oct 2019)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 123
Scottish National Party: 35
Independent: 11
Liberal Democrat: 10
Democratic Unionist Party: 9
Non-affiliated: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Conservative: 2
The Independent Group for Change: 2
Green Party: 1
View All Chris Ruane's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Chris Ruane, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Chris Ruane has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Chris Ruane has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Chris Ruane


A Bill to make provision for the registration of voters by registration officers; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 27th January 2015

2171 Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
416 Other Department Questions
5th Sep 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2015 to Question 225166, on Electoral Register, if the Electoral Commission will conduct research on the comparative success of different methods of increasing levels of electoral registration.

The Electoral Commission conducts voter registration campaigns in the lead up to all major polls, adopting leading industry techniques and best practice. It evaluates the success of its electoral registration, to ensure continuous improvement. This includes tracking research to assess public reception to the campaign. Digital technology increasingly allows for testing of campaign approaches during the campaign itself, to further improve effectiveness and value for money.

The Commission has developed effective partnerships with third party organisations, which enable it to extend the reach of its campaign messaging, particularly to known under-registered groups. It shares best practice with these partners and provides support and resources to other organisations running their own activities. It works particularly closely with local authorities, which have specific knowledge of under-registered groups in their areas.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
5th Sep 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what representations the Electoral Commission has received about monitoring and improving household canvasses from (a) hon. Members and (b) other bodies and individuals in each of the past four years.

Since 2016, the Commission has received letters from three Members of Parliament making representations about the annual electoral registration canvass of households, two in 2016 and one in 2018. The issues highlighted relate to a lack of clarity for constituents: about the purpose of the Household Enquiry Form sent during the canvass; about the wording used on the HEF; and about the purpose of a fine for failing to provide information in response to the form.

The Commission regularly receives representations from a wide range of other bodies and individuals on electoral registration matters. The issues highlighted above have also been reflected in those representations.

The Commission continues to work closely with the Cabinet Office to ensure that improvements to the current household canvass process will increase the future accuracy and completeness of the electoral registers.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
5th Sep 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what records the Committee holds on the income that local authorities receive from the sale of electoral registers to the private sector.

The prescribed fees for the sale of electoral registers are set out in legislation. The Commission provides comprehensive written guidance for Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) which covers the supply of the registers on payment of the relevant prescribed fee. The Commission does not hold records in relation to the sale of electoral registers by EROs.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
5th Sep 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what steps the Electoral Commission has taken to tackle the sale by local authorities of the details of electors who have opted out of the open electoral register.

The supply of copies of the full register is limited to particular individuals and organisations prescribed in law. The Commission provides comprehensive written guidance for Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) which covers the access and supply of the electoral registers. This guidance makes clear that it is the responsibility of the ERO to be satisfied that the individual or organisation making a request is entitled to receive the register before it is supplied.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
4th Sep 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Electoral Commission will make it its policy to gather information on electoral registration levels on an annual basis.

The Commission carries out regular research studies assessing the accuracy and completeness of the registers. The most recent study, based on the December 2018 registers, will be published in the coming months. These important studies are resource intensive, and it would not be good value for money to do them annually.

The Commission, does, however, gather data from Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) on the size of the electoral registers, as well as on other aspects of their activities to register electors, on an annual basis. This data is used as part of our ERO performance standards assessments and also supports the Commission’s ongoing monitoring of the effectiveness of the electoral registration system.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
4th Sep 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what steps the Electoral Commission is taking to increase the take-up of postal votes.

The Electoral Commission does not take steps to encourage the take up of particular ways people can cast their vote, but rather provides guidance to support voters in taking their own informed decision.

The only exception to this relates to overseas voters in the lead-up to a poll; where such voters are concerned that their returned postal ballot may not arrive in time, we specifically highlight the option of appointing a proxy.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
4th Sep 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many electors have registered online since the introduction of online registration; and what steps the Electoral Commission is taking to encourage online registration.

The Electoral Commission does not hold data on how many electors have registered online; these figures will be held by the UK Government, which manages the online registration service.

The Commission promotes voter registration ahead of specific electoral events through paid-for advertising campaigns. Directing people who are not registered to the government’s online registration page is the central call to action of this campaign activity.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
4th Sep 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what recent assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the potential benefits of using the (a) number and (b) proportion of UK citizens who have registered to vote as a measure of Electoral Commission effectiveness.

The Commission assessed the suitability of measures relating to electoral registration in preparing its Corporate Plan 2018/19 – 2022/23. The resulting document includes additions to the register as a measure of performance. We also have an impact indicator which relates to the levels of accuracy and completeness of the electoral registers in the UK.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
4th Sep 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how much the Commission has spent on direct advertising in the last three years to increase registration of (a) young people aged 18 to 25 and (b) members of the expatriate community.

The Commission has spent no money on this. Direct advertising (or marketing) does not form part of the Commission’s approach to its work encouraging voter registration.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
4th Sep 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how much the Electoral Commission spent on Facebook targeted advertisements for the purpose of increasing electoral registration on National Voter Registration Day in each of the last four years.

National Voter Registration Day was an initiative led by Bite the Ballot, which last took place in February 2016. As part of its activity to support the project, the Commission did not place any Facebook advertising.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
3rd Sep 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what recent advice the Electoral Commission gave to Electoral Registration Officers on (a) maximising the registration of home movers and (b) sending voter registration forms to all households.

The Commission produces comprehensive written guidance for Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) which covers the annual canvass process, including the sending of household enquiry forms. The guidance also covers targeting home movers, and the Commission also provides tools and resources to help EROs with carrying out this work.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
3rd Sep 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what estimate the Commission made of the number of electoral registration officers who have not fulfilled their statutory responsibilities in each of the last 10 years.

Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) have a statutory duty to maintain the electoral registers and to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that all those eligible (and no others) are registered. While the Electoral Commission sets standards for and monitors the performance of Electoral Registration Officers, these do not relate directly to this statutory duty. For this, EROs are independent statutory officers who are directly accountable to the courts.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
23rd Jul 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what the cost to the public purse was of registering each overseas voter in the most recent period for which figures are available.

The Electoral Commission does not hold this data.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
23rd Jul 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which local authorities have achieved the highest increase in levels of voter registration in the last two years; and what steps have been taken to ensure that the practices leading to such increases are adopted in other local authorities.

The Electoral Commission does not measure changes in levels of voter registration at a local authority level. The only reliable method for assessing registration levels (the completeness of the registers) is through research using house-to-house surveying, to gather data on residents and match this against information held on the electoral registers.

The Commission carries out such studies at regular intervals but they do not allow for an assessment of registration for individual local authorities, which would be prohibitively expensive owing to the size of sample required.

As part of the Commission’s guidance and support programme for electoral administrators, it works closely with the electoral community to identify and share good electoral practice. This includes highlighting specific examples of good practice in electoral registration and embedding them throughout its suite of guidance and resources for electoral registration officers.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
23rd Jul 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if he will make an assessment of the ability of the Electoral Commission to monitor the performance of electoral registration officers in dealing with electors who (a) have low reading and writing skills, (b) are visually impaired and (c) have learning difficulties.

The Electoral Commission sets standards for and monitors the performance of Electoral Registration Officers (EROs). These standards have the objective of ensuring that all eligible people are able to participate in the electoral process.

The Commission provides guidance to EROs to support them in delivering their functions and meeting the performance standards. In developing this guidance to improve the accessibility of electoral registration services, the Commission works with a variety of disability organisations – including groups representing electors with sight loss and learning difficulties – to ensure its work reflects good practice.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
23rd Jul 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what recent assessment the Electoral Commission has made of electoral registration rates of attainers in (a) Scotland, (b) Northern Ireland, (c) Wales and (d) England.

The Electoral Commission conducts research into the accuracy and completeness of the electoral registers in the UK at regular intervals. The most recent study was published in 2016 and was an assessment of the December 2015 registers.

The study provided findings on attainers for Great Britain and separately for Northern Ireland. Below the headline findings, it was not possible to report separately for England, Scotland and Wales because of the size of the sample used in the research.

In December 2015, the Commission found that 45% of attainers in Great Britain and 8% in Northern Ireland were correctly registered.

The results of the Commission’s next accuracy and completeness study will be published in autumn 2019.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
23rd Jul 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what training has been given to electoral registration officers on the implementation of fixed penalty notices for non-registration.

The Electoral Commission has published comprehensive guidance for Electoral Registration Officers, which covers the requirements and processes for imposing civil penalties for failing to respond to a requirement to register. The Commission does not provide training for Electoral Registration Officers.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
23rd Jul 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many successful prosecutions for (a) postal vote fraud, excluding by proxy voting, and (b) electoral registration fraud there have been in each of the last 15 years.

The Commission has collected and published information about allegations of electoral fraud from the police since 2008.

The table below shows the number of successful prosecutions for allegations of postal vote and electoral registration fraud. It splits convictions for postal vote fraud into those relating to applications to vote by post and those relating to voting by post.

Number of successful prosecutions relating to postal vote fraud

Year

Convictions relating to applications to vote by post

Convictions relating to voting by post

Convictions relating to electoral registration

2018

0

0

0

2017

0

0

0

2016

0

0

1

2015

0

0

1

2014

0

0

0

2013

0

0

0

2012

0

0

0

2011

0

0

2

2010

1

0

0

2009

n/a

n/a

2

2008

n/a

n/a

0

The police-recorded cases of alleged personation offences in 2008 and 2009 were not broken down to record the type of personation, i.e. polling station, postal voting or proxy voting. It is for this reason these figures are not available.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
22nd Jul 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the potential merits of auto-enrolment on the electoral register of young people when they are given their national insurance number.

The Commission believes that registering young people automatically when they are allocated their National Insurance number would be an effective way of improving completeness levels among attainers.

It recently published the findings of feasibility studies examining the potential for data sharing between organisations holding reliable information about citizens and Electoral Registration Officers. It found that data sharing could be achieved by linking national data sources to the individual electoral registration service, which is already connected to the systems used by Electoral Registration Officers to manage their electoral registers.

In this way, it would be possible for information about young people allocated National Insurance numbers to be shared with Electoral Registration Officers, to support automatic or automated electoral registration.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
22nd Jul 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what steps have been taken by the Electoral Commission to inform hon. Members of the performance of electoral registration officers in their (a) constituency and (b) local authority.

The Electoral Commission’s performance standards framework has not involved any formal notifications to Members of Parliament since 2014. Assessments of the performance of EROs are made annually by the Commission and the details of any ERO who has not met the standards in full are made available on the Commission’s website.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
22nd Jul 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which electoral registration officers identified themselves as below standard at using information services to (a) verify entries in the register of electors and (b) identify potential new electors in the latest period for which figures are available.

The Electoral Commission’s performance standards framework has not involved any element of self-assessment by Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) since 2014.

The Commission has not assessed any ERO as not meeting this specific element of the performance standards since its inclusion in 2016.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
22nd Jul 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many letters the Electoral Commission has written to hon. Members as a result of their electoral registration officers having failed at least one standard performance indicator in each year for which data is available.

The Electoral Commission’s performance standards framework has not included any formal notifications to Members of Parliament since 2014. Assessments of the performance of Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) are made annually by the Commission and the details of any ERO who has not met the standards in full are made available on the Commission’s website.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
22nd Jul 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, with reference to the Answer of 5 July 2011 to Question 63427 on Electoral Register, which electoral registration officers rated themselves too highly in their self-assessment and had their ratings reduced in each year since 2014.

The Electoral Commission’s performance standards framework has not involved any element of self-assessment by Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) since 2014.

Assessments of the performance of EROs are made annually by the Commission and the details of any ERO who has not met the standards in full are made available on the Commission’s website.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
22nd Jul 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what recent discussions the Commission has had with (a) church and community leaders from black and minority ethnic communities and (b) Operation Black Vote on increasing registration levels for voters in those communities.

We know from our research of the electoral registers that voters from BME communities are less likely to be registered to vote when compared with white voters.

As part of all of its public awareness campaigns ahead of elections, the Electoral Commission provides voter registration resources to a wide range of groups or individuals, to use in encouraging registration. These are freely available via the Commission’s website or its ‘Roll Call’ newsletter, to which anyone can subscribe.

We also identify specific organisations who could help promote registration to under-registered groups and actively provide these partners with resources: these have recently included, for example, the Council of African and Caribbean Churches and the Muslim Women’s network. It also works closely with Electoral Registration Officers, who hold many important relationships with church and community leaders to promote voter registration at a local level.

The Commission most recently contacted Operation Black Vote ahead of the Government’s voter ID pilots which took place in May 2019, to seek a contribution to its statutory evaluation of the pilots. It did not receive a response.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
22nd Jul 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, with reference to the Answer of 23 April 2012, Official Report, column 623W on Electoral Register, what steps he has taken to improve student registration.

We know from our research of the electoral registers that students and young people are less likely to be registered to vote.

As part of its public awareness campaigns ahead of elections, the Commission seeks to target under-registered groups wherever this is possible. This includes placing advertising on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, and buying TV advertising space during times when people aged 16 to 34 make up a larger proportion of the audience.

The Commission also provides voter registration resources to a wide range of groups or individuals, to use in encouraging registration. These are freely available via the Commission’s website or its ‘Roll Call’ newsletter, to which anyone can subscribe. Ahead of the elections in May 2019, it developed a number of resources in partnership with the National Union of Students, including social media images, posters and a resource pack for individual student unions.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
22nd Jul 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which local authority had the biggest percentage (a) increase and (b) decrease in electoral registration in each year since 2010.

The table below sets out the largest increases and decreases in the registered local government electorate, by local authority, from 1 December of one year to 1 December of the following year. For example, the 2010 row shows the change in the number of register entries between 1 December 2009 and 1 December 2010.

Year

Largest % increase

Largest % decrease

2010

Shepway (8.9%)

Richmondshire (-7.2%)

2011

Aberdeen (4.9%)

Clackmannanshire (-4.6%)

2012

Clackmannanshire (4.3%)

Tower Hamlets (-6%)

2013

Tower Hamlets (11.3%)

Taunton Deane (-8.8%)

2014

Wellingborough (6.5%)

Ceredigion (-12.7%)

2015

East Devon (5.2%)

Cambridge (-11.8%)

2016

Colchester (9%)

Manchester (-3.8%)

2017

Tower Hamlets (12%)

Hyndburn (-6%)

2018

Barking & Dagenham (4.5%)

Isles of Scilly (-7.1%)

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
22nd Jul 2019
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what the ranked order of spending per person on electoral registration by local authorities was in the last year for which figures are available.

The Commission does not collect data on the spending per person on electoral registration by local authorities.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
12th Jun 2019
To ask the Prime Minister, on how many occasions her office has received representations from the UK Statistics Authority on her office's presentation and use of statistics in each year since 2010..

The information is not held.

20th May 2019
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the EnAble Fund for Elected Office; and if she will make a statement.

The EnAble Fund for Elected Office is a £250,000 interim fund and is available until March 2020 or until the £250,000 budget is exhausted. The Fund supported around 40 candidates at this month’s local elections.

We have commissioned an independent evaluation, which will be published after the Fund has ended next year.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th May 2019
To ask the Prime Minister, when she plans to appoint a new Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa.

My Honourable Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Andrew Murrison MP) has been appointed as a Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development.

1st May 2019
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, how many civil servants in the Government Equalities Office have been seconded to (a) the Department for Exiting the European Union and (b) the Department for International Trade in each of the last three years.

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) confirms no GEO civil servants have been seconded to either the Department for Exiting the European Union or the Department for International Trade in the last three years.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Mar 2019
To ask the Prime Minister, when she plans to name a new Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work.

The appointment will be announced in the usual way

16th Jan 2019
To ask the Prime Minister, if she will publish the minutes of her meeting with Japanese Prime MInister Shinzō Abe on 10 January 2019 on the proposed Wylfa Newydd power plant.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer, my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy gave to the Hon. Member in the Oral Statement on the Nuclear Update on 17 January 2019, Column 1351.

23rd May 2018
To ask the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many and what proportion of room bookings made by hon. Members were cancelled with less than three sitting days' notice in each of the last three parliamentary sessions.

The House of Commons does not hold this information as there is no facility within the booking system to search for and draw off this information. I have asked officials to contact the hon. Member to discuss any particular concerns he has.

23rd May 2018
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what steps the Electoral Commission its taking to monitor the effectiveness of electoral registration officers in promoting individual electoral registration.

The Electoral Commission sets performance standards for Electoral Registration Officers (EROs), relating to their duty to maintain accurate and complete electoral registers.

The Commission uses a risk-based approach to inform its monitoring of performance, and provides support and challenge to EROs as needed. It provides guidance and other resources to EROs to support them in promoting electoral registration; this includes examples of innovative tactics used by EROs to encourage applications to register to vote.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
31st Jan 2018
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 31 January to Question 124786, on Government Equalities Office: Directors, what the (a) names and (b) dates of departure from their posts were of the most recent non-executive directors in the Government Equalities Office.

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) reports to Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, and works with Baroness Williams, Minister for Equalities, and Victoria Atkins, Minister for Women. It has not had a board since 2012, when its non-executive directors were Janet Soo-Chung CBE, Judy McKnight CBE and Peter Bungard.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Jan 2018
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, who the lead non-executive director and other non-executive director board members are in the Government Equalities Office.

In the Government reshuffle of 9 January, the Prime Minister appointed the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, as Minister for Women and Equalities.
The Government Equalities Office has an ambitious agenda to champion equality and help make Britain a place where everyone can succeed without facing discrimination. This work will continue under the leadership of the Home Secretary

We are in the process of confirming new governance arrangements to reflect this change.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Dec 2017
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps the Government Equalities Office has taken to improve social mobility in each of the last seven years.

Since 2010, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) has undertaken a programme of activity to tackle gender inequality in the workplace, including through wide-ranging engagement with employers. Women have too long suffered disadvantage in the labour market, which is a barrier to social mobility. McKinsey estimates that bridging the gender gap in work would add £150 billion to the UK economy by 2025. We need to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

The full-time gender pay gap has fallen to a record low of 9.1%, and we are committed to eliminating the gender pay gap entirely. In 2017 we introduced requirements for all large employers to publish their gender pay and bonus gaps data by April 2018. These requirements will help employers identify and take action to close their gender pay gaps, which is key to accelerating progress.

Many women struggle to find good jobs that meet their needs after taking time out to care for children and other relatives. Analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that time out of the labour market has a substantial impact on women’s salaries. On returning to work, women earn around 2% less on average for every year spent out of paid work. In the 2017 budget, £5 million in funding was allocated to increasing opportunities and support for returners. We are working with employers across the public and private sector to understand how returners can be supported back into permanent employment, and co-ordinating new public sector programmes for returners across the country in a wide variety of roles.

The Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities recently launched the government’s ‘Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential’ plan to improve social mobility through education. GEO will be engaging with the wider Department for Education on the implementation of the plan.

19th Dec 2017
To ask the Honourable Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, how many and what proportion of the Church Commissioners' Answers to Written Parliamentary Questions in the 2017-18 Session to date have referred to the information requested not being (a) collected or (b) collated centrally.

In the 2017-18 Session, to date, no answer given by the Church Commissioners has referred to the information requested not being (a) collected or (b) collated centrally.

19th Dec 2017
To ask the Prime Minister, how many and what proportion of her Office's Answers to Written Parliamentary Questions in the 2017-18 Session to date have referred to the information requested not being (a) collected or (b) collated centrally.

My answers to Written Parliamentary Questions can be found in the Official Report.

19th Dec 2017
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, how many and what proportion of Answers on the Government Equalities Office to Written Parliamentary Questions in the 2017-18 Session to date have referred to the information requested not being (a) collected or (b) collated centrally.

In the current parliamentary session (as at 19 December 2017), the Government Equalities Office have answered one (0.72 %) written parliamentary question explaining that the requested information was not available on the grounds of it not being collected. No parliamentary questions were answered explaining that the information is not held centrally. This is out of a total of 139 parliamentary questions that have been answered.

19th Dec 2017
To ask the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many and what proportion of the Commission's Answers to Written Parliamentary Questions in the 2017-18 Session to date have referred to the information requested not being (a) collected or (b) collated centrally.

In the Session to date, the House of Commons Commission has received 30 Written Parliamentary Questions. Three of those questions – representing 10% of the total answers – have referred to the information not being (a) collected or (b) collated centrally: they referred to reported failures to wear a security pass, Specialist Adviser vacancies and average download speeds.

21st Nov 2017
To ask the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, representing the House of Commons Commission, what steps the Commission is taking to improve the (a) physical and (b) mental well-being of all employed staff.

The Parliamentary Health and Wellbeing Service (PHWS) support staff to help maintain and improve their physical and mental well-being.

PHWS offer a number of services including:

  • healthcare advice to improve fitness and wellbeing
  • wellbeing classes on the Parliamentary Estate, including yoga, pilates and mindfulness
  • advice and guidance for staff with disabilities
  • support to give up smoking plus dietary and lifestyle advice
  • access to physiotherapy services.


The House also has a contract with Westminster Gym which provides employees, amongst others, to access to gym facilities and a range of classes and treatments.

Wellbeing support is also provided and includes counselling by Wellbeing Practitioners. Support, advice and guidance is also provided to help with issues such as:

  • Mental Health
  • Problems at home or work
  • Ill health or ill health of loved ones
  • Financial difficulties and debt
  • Bereavement
  • Alcohol and Drug issues


A minor treatment clinic is located in the Palace of Westminster. The Clinical Nurse Adviser can provide advice and information about illness, injuries at work, lifestyle and wellbeing issues. The Clinical nurse is able to refer clients onto specialist agencies or in-house services where necessary. Minor treatments such as dressings, ear syringing, removal of stitches and blood pressure monitoring can take place at this clinic.

The Service also runs Health & Wellbeing events. These are organised regularly during the parliamentary year and include an annual Wellbeing Day. This gives staff the opportunity to have an individual health check and obtain advice and guidance on health & wellbeing related issues.

10th Nov 2017
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps the Government Equalities Office is taking to improve the (a) physical and (b) mental wellbeing of staff employed in the Government Equalities Office.
2nd Nov 2017
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, how many and what proportion of her Department's public phone-lines charge members of the public to call.

The Department for Education, including the Government Equalities Office, operates nine principal public phone lines. Calls to five of these lines are charged as UK-wide (0370), geographic (020) or public body (0300) numbers. Four of these are free-phone (0800 or 0808) numbers, which do not incur a charge.

20th Jul 2017
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many and what proportion of postal ballot papers were declared null and void in each of the last five general elections.

The Electoral Commission collected data from Returning Officers for all UK constituencies following the UK Parliamentary general elections in 2001, 2005, 2010 and 2015. The numbers of postal votes rejected by Returning Officers were as follows:

Year

Postal ballots issued

Postal ballots returned

Postal ballots rejected

Postal ballots rejected (% of those returned)

2001

1,758,055

1,402,073

31,189

2.2%

2005

5,362,501

4,110,039

146,247

3.6%

2010

6,996,006

5,818,853

221,988

3.8%

2015

7,592,735

6,516,228

214,155

3.3%

The Commission is collecting data from Returning Officers following the UK Parliamentary general election in June 2017. This data will be published in September 2017.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
20th Jul 2017
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what data the Commission holds on how many 18 to 25-year olds live in each parliamentary constituency; and how many and what proportion of those people in each such constituency are registered to vote.

The Electoral Commission does not hold data on the number of 18 to 25-year olds living or registered to vote in UK Parliamentary constituencies.

The Electoral Commission’s most recent report on the accuracy and completeness of the electoral registers in Great Britain, which related to the 1 December 2015 registers, estimated that 71% of 20 to 24-year olds and 51% of 18 to 19-year olds were registered to vote at a current address.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
20th Jul 2017
To ask the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how much the Commission has spent on direct advertising to increase registration of (a) young people aged 18 to 25 and (b) members of the expatriate community.

The Electoral Commission undertakes voter registration and public awareness campaigns in the lead up to each major poll, including advertising targeted directly at recognised under-registered groups such as people aged 18 to 25 and UK citizens living overseas.

The tables below gives totals for advertising placed explicitly and exclusively to target these two audiences in the two campaigns run in the lead up to polls in May and June 2017. For the May elections, the figures include advertising targeted at 16-17 year olds given the lower voting age for these polls in Scotland.

Poll

16/18 to 25 year olds

UK citizens living overseas

May 2017 local elections

£37,500

N/A

UK general election

£8,100

£14,000

People within these categories are also likely to see advertising which reaches them as part of different target groups (such as recent home movers), wider age groups (such as 18-35 year olds) or indeed advertising targeted at the general population. It is not possible to disaggregate these figures and include them here.

Bridget Phillipson
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
11th Mar 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, how much his Department spent on (a) television advertising, (b) radio advertising, (c) national newspaper advertisements, (d) local newspaper advertisements, (e) social media advertising and (f) other types of advertising in each year since 2010.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 17th March 2015 by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office (Francis Maude) to Question UIN 227295.

11th Mar 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, how much his Department spent on (a) television advertising, (b) radio advertising, (c) national newspaper advertisements, (d) local newspaper advertisements, (e) social media advertising and (f) other types of advertising in each year since 2010.

Total advertising spend, excluding VAT, is set out in the table below. The figures include associated costs such as the production of creative services. A breakdown by category is not available.

Advertising

Spend

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

N/A

£118k

£137k

£3.112M

£2.138M

Spend in FY 12-13, 13-14 & 14-15 includes advertising for the Green Deal. The Green Deal helps you make energy-saving improvements to your home and find the best way to pay for them.

During FY 14-15 we have allocated an advertising budget for the ‘Power to Switch Campaign’ as follows:

  • £620,000 to develop, produce and supply advertisements. This includes budgets agreed with the agency to produce each of the TV and Radio advertisements;
  • £4,100,000 to buy advertising space (including agency media buying and communications planning fees).

The FY 14-15 figure includes £335k spent on the ‘Power to Switch Campaign’. Actual final spends are not yet available.

The 'Power to Switch' campaign will run for 5 weeks and will include national, regional and online advertising, encouraging people to switch and save.

5th Mar 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how much it costs to register each overseas voter in the most recent period for which figures are available.

The Electoral Commission’s current campaign to target UK citizens living overseas has an overall budget of £132,000 and has a target of 100,000 additional registrations from overseas voters during the campaign period. If successful, the campaign would have a cost per registration of £1.32.

The Commission will report on the success of the campaign following the election, which will include reporting on the cost of registering overseas voters.

The response to registration campaigns varies considerably depending on levels of public interest in the election and until recently the Commission was only able to measure the number of registration forms downloaded, rather than actual additions to the register. During the Commission’s most recently completed overseas campaign which ran ahead of the 2014 European elections, the cost per download of each registration form was £10.13.

5th Mar 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Electoral Commission will include a question on electoral registration forms asking how and why voters obtained their registration form in order to monitor the effectiveness of electoral registration activities.

The Electoral Commission has a statutory duty to design certain electoral registration forms. These designs must be submitted to the Lord President of the Council for approval following which they must be provided for use by Electoral Registration Officers (EROs).

In doing this, the Commission must ensure that the forms collect all the information required by legislation, and so space to collect prescribed information therefore needs to be prioritised over requests for any additional information.

In designing the forms the Commission has also sought to focus on accessibility and ease of use by applicants.

The Commission has plans in place to evaluate the impact of its work to promote registration in the period leading up to the May 2015 elections. The Commission also provides guidance to EROs to support them in evaluating the impact of their activity locally, which includes advising them to take steps to record the level of responses as a result of an activity.

5th Mar 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how much the Electoral Commission spent on Facebook targeted advertisements for the purpose of increasing electoral registration on National Voter Registration Day.

The Electoral Commission did not spend any money on Facebook targeted advertisements for National Voter Registration Day.

5th Mar 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2015 to Question 225166, if the Electoral Commission will conduct research on the comparative success of different activities aimed at increasing electoral registration.

The Electoral Commission will publish an evaluation of Commission’s registration campaign in summer 2015. This will include results against the targets set for the campaign and information from tracking research with the public. It will also consider the impact of activity carried out by other organisations.

2nd Mar 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what recent estimate he has made of the projected number of years of active energy projection from (a) nuclear power, (b) offshore wind turbines, (c) onshore wind turbines, (d) coal powered power stations, (e) gas powered power stations, (f) solar powered farms, (g) tidal lagoon, (h) biomass and (i) anaerobic digesters.

DECC’s most recently published figures for levelised costs contains information on the operating duration of selected electricity generation for technologies. These are available in the DECC Electricity Generation Costs (December 2013) report:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/269888/131217_Electricity_Generation_costs_report_December_2013_Final.pdf.

25th Feb 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what representations the Electoral Commission made to (a) the Cabinet Office and (b) other bodies on the issue of the accuracy of the 2014 electoral register during the course of its compilation.

The Electoral Commission is regularly in communication with a wide range of stakeholders, including (a) the Cabinet Office, and (b) other bodies, about a variety of issues relating to electoral registration. The Commission’s engagement with the Cabinet Office includes continued membership of their Electoral Registration Transformation Programme Board.

The Electoral Commission has provided comprehensive written guidance and accompanying resources for Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) to support them in maintaining accurate and complete electoral registers. The Commission has also continued to work with EROs to monitor and support them in delivering their plans to address the particular registration challenges in their local area.

24th Feb 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which 10 local authorities had the greatest proportional drop in electoral registration between 2013 and 2014.

The ten authorities that had the largest proportional drop in their registered electorate between February/March and December 2014 are listed in table 5 of the Commission’s report published on 24 February 2015, which is available on its website.

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/182375/Analysis-of-the-December-2014-electoral-registers-in-England-and-Wales.pdf

24th Feb 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how much the Electoral Commission plans to spend on television advertising to encourage registration; and how it monitors the effectiveness of such campaigns.

The Electoral Commission’s budget for the production of its television advert ahead of the elections in May 2015 is £263,961, and its budget for purchasing television advertising space is £1,506,733.

The Electoral Commission uses Government Communication Service guidance on communication evaluation – which provides a model for best practise across the public sector - to inform the evaluation of its public awareness campaigns. The overall target for additions to electoral registers in Great Britain during the Commission’s TV campaign is one million.

However, given the nature of the format it is impossible to directly attribute voter registration applications and additions to the electoral register to television advertising.

24th Feb 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what representations the Electoral Commission has received about monitoring and improving household canvasses from (a) hon. Members and (b) other bodies and individuals.

The Electoral Commission is regularly in communication with a wide range of stakeholders, including (a) Members of Parliament and (b) other bodies and individuals, about a variety of issues relating to electoral registration.

Details of meetings held by Chair and Chief Executive can be found on the Commission’s website, www.electoralcommission.org.uk

24th Feb 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what estimate the Electoral Commission has made of the cost per registration of 16 and 17 year olds who are encouraged to register primarily through (a) television adverts and (b) Bite the Ballot school visits.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has made no comparative assessment of the cost-per-registration of 16 and 17 year olds in these two areas given the very different nature of the activity.

24th Feb 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what research, actions and advice the Electoral Commission undertook to ensure that (a) students and (b) people living in Houses of Multiple Occupation and other mobile groups did not fall off the electoral register in the run up to Individual Electoral Registration; and what assessment the Commission has made of the success of such actions.

The Electoral Commission provides comprehensive guidance to Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) to support them in maintaining accurate and complete electoral registers. The guidance specifically addresses how EROs can target students and identify residents living in houses of multiple occupation.

The Commission also provides a range of public engagement resources and templates that can be adapted locally, some of which have been designed to help EROs target specific groups such as students.

The Commission’s has published an analysis of the December registers in England and Wales, which can be found at: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/182375/Analysis-of-the-December-2014-electoral-registers-in-England-and-Wales.pdf. This analysis illustrates the challenges of registering students at their term-time address, and the report sets out what action has already been undertaken and what more will continue to be done to target students.

In light of the analysis of the December registers, the Commission has added an additional strand of activity to its public awareness plans make clear to students that they need to register at their term-time address if they wish to vote in their university constituency.

The Commission has also been working with the NUS, the Association of Colleges, Universities UK and other bodies to promote voter registration with students and to encourage registration drives on university and college campuses.

To supplement the work being carried out locally by EROs to work with houses in multiple occupation, the Commission has developed partnerships with a number of housing groups and associations to use their communication channels to promote voter registration.

The Commission will continue to monitor progress with the transition to individual electoral registration and will report in June 2015 on the state of the registers used at the May polls.

24th Feb 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what advice the Electoral Commission gave to Electoral Registration Officers on (a) maximising the registration of home movers and (b) sending voter registration forms to all households.

The Electoral Commission provides comprehensive guidance to Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) to support them in maintaining accurate and complete electoral registers. This guidance sets out the actions EROs should take to identify potential new electors, such as by making use of local data - including property databases - and partnership work.

The Commission also provides a range of public engagement resources and templates that can be adapted locally, some of which are specifically designed to help EROs target home movers.

Additionally, to supplement the work being carried out by EROs, the Commission has developed partnerships with a number of organisations that home movers are likely to come into contact with - such as mortgage advisors - to use their communication channels to promote voter registration.

In 2014, Household Enquiry Forms (HEFs) – which are designed to identify who is living at a property and eligible to register so that the ERO can invite them to register to vote – were only required to be sent to properties where no electors were registered, or where the ERO believed there may still be other people living at the address who were not registered.

This means that home-movers have not been captured as effectively as they would have been during a typical annual canvass where all households would receive a form. The processes followed in 2014 were unique in this regard; canvass activity in 2015 and all subsequent years will involve sending household enquiry forms to all properties to check who is resident at an address and to identify new electors who can subsequently be invited to register, and carrying out follow up activity as required.

To address this gap, the Commission has strongly recommended that all EROs write to all households in their area ahead of the May 2015 polls to check that they have accurate information on who is registered at each address and to prompt those who are not yet registered to apply now. The Commission has welcomed the provision of additional funding by the Cabinet Office, which has helped EROs to do this.

The Commission has provided guidance to help EROs carry out this activity, and also developed and made available a template ‘household notification letter’ that they could use. The Commission has also run online paid-for-search advertising to support this activity.

All EROs have confirmed that they have been or will be carrying out this activity or other comprehensive activity which seeks to address the issues identified by the Commission’s analysis of the 1 December registers, which are set out in full in the report which was published on 24 February and is available at: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/182375/Analysis-of-the-December-2014-electoral-registers-in-England-and-Wales.pdf.

Early feedback from EROs where the activity is now well advanced has indicated that it has had a positive impact on boosting the number of registration applications received.

24th Feb 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, whether the Electoral Commission has sufficient data to recommend whether the end of the transition to individual electoral registration should be brought forward to December 2015.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it will be collecting data from Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) on the registers in force for the May 2015 elections. The Electoral Commission is working with Cabinet Office, electoral management software suppliers and EROs to improve the reliability of this data.

The data, in addition to information already collected, will inform the Commission’s June 2015 assessment on whether the end of the transition to individual electoral registration can be brought forward to December 2015.

The Commission’s February 2015 report states that without reliable data it is unlikely that the Commission would be able to recommend in any circumstances that the end of the transition to individual electoral registration should be brought forward to December 2015.

24th Feb 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what interim assessments the Electoral Commission has made of the accuracy of the data on registration rates collected in the run-up to the introduction of individual electoral registration; and what procedures were in place to enable concerns about that data to be raised.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the main source of reliable information on registration rates have been the Commission’s own reports on the accuracy and completeness of the electoral registers. The most recent report was published in July 2014 and is available on the Commission’s website, here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/169889/Completeness-and-accuracy-of-the-2014-electoral-registers-in-Great-Britain.pdf

The household surveying methodology for these studies and the analysis conducted on the findings are robust. The findings were also recently verified by a separate study using census data which found, for the same electoral registers, similar levels of accuracy and completeness as the household survey.

In addition, the Office for National Statistics annually collects and publishes the number of entries on the 1 December electoral registers. The Office for National Statistics checks any apparent anomalies in the data with the relevant Electoral Registration Officers.

24th Feb 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the reasons for the recent increase in voter registration in East Devon.

The Electoral Commission’s recently published report notes that the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) for East Devon attributed the increase in the local electorate to the success of making door to door visits to non-responding properties and individuals. This was the first time such visits had been carried out across the area since 2010.

It should also be noted that while East Devon recorded one of the largest proportionate increases in register size in December 2014, it also saw one of the largest falls in February 2014 which made it more likely to record a higher increase in December 2014.

24th Feb 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, whether the local authorities which did not take sufficient action to conduct a household canvass in 2014 did not take sufficient action to conduct a household canvass in a previous year.

The Electoral Commission is not aware of any local authority that did not take all necessary steps as set out in law – including making personal visits to non-responding properties – in relation to the 2014 individual electoral registration write-out and canvass.

24th Feb 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, when the Electoral Commission first knew of the problems with the registration software used by Electoral Registration Officers; and what steps the Commission has taken to overcome those problems.

The Electoral Commission report on the transition to individual electoral registration, published on 24 February, set out the problems encountered with the electoral management software (EMS) systems used by Electoral Registration Officers, when collecting data about the 1 December registers. These problems do not relate to either the online registration system or the wider functionality of the local EMS systems.

The Electoral Commission became aware of this problem once the first data returns were submitted by Electoral Registration Officers shortly after 1 December.

Since that date the Electoral Commission has worked closely with the Cabinet Office and directly with electoral management software suppliers to refine the reporting function within their systems. There have been substantial improvements in the data returns, but further work is still needed to ensure the data provided in May is more reliable. The Commission is continuing to work with the Cabinet Office and software suppliers on this.

24th Feb 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the effects of its handling of the introduction of Individual Electoral Registration on (a) public perception of the integrity of the Commission and (b) public confidence in the Commission.

The Electoral Commission publishes regular reports on the delivery of Individual Electoral Registration (IER). These reports include information on how the Commission has delivered its responsibilities to relation to IER.


The next of these reports will be published in June.

The Commission’s statutory report on the elections taking place in May 2015 will include post-election public opinion survey results on satisfaction with the election process and electoral registration.

24th Feb 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what progress the Electoral Commission has made in differentiating in online registration between people who are already registered and people newly on register.

In its report published on 24 February 2015, the Electoral Commission stated that 80% of the approximately 2 million registration applications made since December 2014 were made online. However, some of these may have been duplicates.

The Electoral Commission and the Cabinet Office sought to collect data on duplications across all applications up to December but the dataset was not reliable enough to report on it.

The Commission and the Cabinet Office intend to collect improved data on duplications in May.

24th Feb 2015
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what assessment his Department has made of the accuracy of the data provided by the Electoral Commission on the 2014 Electoral Registers used for the implementation of Individual Electoral Registration.

The Government has not produced its own analysis.

The registers used for the implementation of Individual Electoral Registration in 2014 were those published before the transition.

The Electoral Commission has published its own analysis of the completeness and accuracy of the electoral registers published in February in England, and March 2014 in Scotland.

23rd Feb 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 9 December 2014 to Question 216723, which local electoral registration officers in England and Wales will not publish registers until after 1 December 2015.

As part of the data collection activity for the Electoral Commission’s recent report on individual electoral registration 20 EROs said they were delaying publication of their 1 December 2014 registers. However, this may not be the total number as others may have delayed publication without informing the Commission (which they were not required to).

23rd Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what estimate he has made of the projected number of years of active energy production available through the use of (a) nuclear power stations, (b) offshore wind turbines, (c) onshore wind turbines, (d) coal-powered power stations, (e) gas-powered power stations, (f) solar-powered farms, (g) tidal power lagoons, (h) biomass stations and (i) anaerobic digesters.

DECC’s most recently published figures for levelised costs contains information on the operating duration of selected electricity generation for technologies. These are available in the DECC Electricity Generation Costs (December 2013) report:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/269888/131217_Electricity_Generation_costs_report_December_2013_Final.pdf.

12th Feb 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what information the Committee holds on what income local authorities receive from the sale of electoral registers to the private sector.

The Electoral Commission does not hold this information.

However, the Commission’s guidance to Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) recommends that EROs maintain a record of the transactions of sales of the registers, which should be available for public scrutiny. The cost of purchasing electoral registers is prescribed in legislation.

11th Feb 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what guidance the Electoral Commission issues on the sale of electoral registration details of electors who (a) are on the open register and (b) have opted not to be included on the central register.

Electoral legislation prescribes in what circumstances and to whom electors’ details on the full and open electoral registers can be sold.

The ‘full’ electoral register includes the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote. Access to, and use of, the full electoral register is carefully controlled. It is only available for sale to certain government departments and other bodies, as well as to credit reference agencies, and may only be used for the purposes for which it has been supplied (for example, credit reference agencies may only use it for credit reference purposes).

The open register is an extract of the electoral register, which electors can opt out of. The open register can be bought by any person, company or organisation.

The Electoral Commission’s guidance to Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) summarises what they are required to do by law. The guidance makes clear the difference between the open and the full registers, and sets out who can have access to them and the prescribed fees for supply.

Individuals applying to register to vote are provided with information on the open and full registers, including what they are used for and who can be provided with data from them.

As part of the transition to Individual Electoral Registration, EROs wrote to all existing electors who had been automatically transferred to the new registers. This letter included information on both the open and full register. The Commission’s report on the first phase of the transition to Individual Electoral Registration, published in October 2014, noted that when EROs began sending these confirmation letters it became clear from the response that many people who were on the open register were not aware of that fact, and were unhappy about how their information was being used.

The Commission remains of the view that the open register should no longer be compiled or made available for sale. The Commission has also recommended that, should the open register be retained, electors should be asked whether they wish to opt in, rather than opt out.

11th Feb 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what steps the Electoral Commission has taken on local authorities who have improperly sold on the details of electors who have opted out of the open register.

If an Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) wrongly supplies the details of an elector who has opted out of the open register, this could constitute a breach of the Data Protection Act. In those circumstances, The Electoral Commission would advise an ERO to immediately speak to their local authority’s Data Protection Officer (or an equivalent officer) and/or directly contact the Information Commissioner’s Office. Depending on the circumstances it could potentially constitute a breach of the ERO’s official duty. An ERO guilty of any act or omission in breach of their official duty – without reasonable cause – is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

The Commission’s guidance to EROs makes clear that the details of any elector who has asked to opt out of the open register must not appear in the open register.

It also highlights that an ERO is a data controller with statutory responsibilities under the Data Protection Act, and links to the data protection principles produced by the Information Commissioner’s Office, as well as other sources of guidance for local authorities on data handling, including the Local Government Association and the Society of Information Technology Management (SOCITM).

11th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, how many passport applications and renewals were administered by post offices in each year since 1985.

Information of the number of passport applications and renewals administered by post offices is the operational responsibility of Post Office Limited.

As such I have therefore asked Paula Vennells, the Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the hon Member on this matter. A copy of her reply will be placed in the libraries of the House.

11th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, how many post offices in which public funds were invested to convert them to a (a) main or (b) local post office have (i) temporarily or (ii) permanently closed in each of the last five years.

The Government understands the important role that post offices play in communities across the country and since 2010 has committed nearly £2 billion to maintain, modernise and protect a network of at least 11,500 branches that continues to meet strict access criteria that see, for example, 99% of the population nationally living within three miles of a post office outlet.

This Government has also committed that there will be no programme of Post Office closures and there are currently around 11,700 post office branches in the UK, with the Post Office network at its most stable for over two decades.

As the provision of post offices and the investment made under its network transformation programme are the operational responsibility of Post Office Limited I have therefore asked Paula Vennells, the Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the hon Member on these matters. A copy of her reply will be placed in the libraries of the House.

11th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, how many external ATMs have been installed at (a) Crown, (b) main and (c) local post offices in each year for which data is available.

The provision of Post Office ATM’s at post offices is the operational responsibility of Post Office Limited.

As such I have therefore asked Paula Vennells, the Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the hon Member on this matter. A copy of her reply will be placed in the libraries of the House.

11th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, how many (a) Crown and (b) sub-post offices have been (i) temporarily and (ii) permanently closed in each of the last five years.

The Government understands the important role that post offices play in communities across the country and since 2010 has committed nearly £2 billion to maintain, modernise and protect a network of at least 11,500 branches that continues to meet strict access criteria that see, for example, 99% of the population nationally living within three miles of a post office outlet.

This Government has also committed that there will be no programme of Post Office closures and there are currently around 11,700 post office branches in the UK, with the Post Office network at its most stable for over two decades.

As the provision of post offices and the investment made under its network transformation programme are the operational responsibility of Post Office Limited I have therefore asked Paula Vennells, the Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the hon Member on these matters. A copy of her reply will be placed in the libraries of the House.

11th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what the shortest period was between the date on which a post office branch received public funding for improvement and the date on which it closed.

The Government understands the important role that post offices play in communities across the country and since 2010 has committed nearly £2 billion to maintain, modernise and protect a network of at least 11,500 branches that continues to meet strict access criteria that see, for example, 99% of the population nationally living within three miles of a post office outlet.

This Government has also committed that there will be no programme of Post Office closures and there are currently around 11,700 post office branches in the UK, with the Post Office network at its most stable for over two decades.

As the provision of post offices and the investment made under its network transformation programme are the operational responsibility of Post Office Limited I have therefore asked Paula Vennells, the Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the hon Member on these matters. A copy of her reply will be placed in the libraries of the House.

11th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what discussions he held with the National Federation of SubPostmasters on the abolition of road tax discs.

The abolition of vehicle tax discs is a matter for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. My Rt hon Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has not held any discussions with the National Federation of SubPostmasters specifically on the subject of vehicle tax.

Ministers meet the National Federation of SubPostmasters regularly to discuss a range of issues relating to the Post Office network. The dates of these meetings are available on the gov.uk website.

28th Jan 2015
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2015, Question 221159, if he will make an assessment of the number of 17 year old attainers who transferred from the household electoral register to individual electoral register.

9 out of 10 electors have been automatically transferred to the new registers under Individual Electoral Registration (IER)

No-one registered in the last canvass will lose their right to vote in the General Election. Those electors not automatically transferred to the new register have been carried forward and have until the end of the transition to apply before they are removed.

Any electors not confirmed, including attainers, would have been sent an invitation to register, sent reminders and canvassed in person to encourage them to apply.

Data relating to IER confirmation results for attainers is available on the following website https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/using-data-matching-to-confirm-electors-in-great-britain

28th Jan 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what the value was of UK (a) exports to and (b) imports from Ireland in each year from 1985 for which data is available.

Official (ONS) figures on UK trade in goods and services with Ireland are only available since 1999. These are shown in Table 1 below:

Table 1: UK Trade in Goods and Services with Ireland, 1999-2013

£ billion, current prices

Year

Exports

Imports

1999

13.4

11.2

2000

15.3

12.8

2001

17.6

14.7

2002

19.8

15.8

2003

17.7

12.9

2004

19.8

13.5

2005

23.5

14.0

2006

24.4

14.3

2007

26.7

15.6

2008

28.7

16.9

2009

25.1

17.0

2010

27.4

17.6

2011

28.9

17.6

2012

28.7

18.1

2013

26.7

17.5

Source: ONS Pink Book 2014

28th Jan 2015
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, how many people have received a fixed penalty notice for failing to register on the electoral register.

This information is not held centrally.

26th Jan 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, how much and what proportion of land was registered in Wales in each year since 1985.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 27 January to Question UIN 221369. Land Registry does not hold the requested figures on the proportion of land registered in Wales in each year since 1985.

26th Jan 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what assessment he has made of the ownership of unregistered land in Wales.

Land Registry figures show that on 31 March 2014 22.08% of the land in Wales was unregistered. Land which is currently unregistered will be registered with the Land Registry when there is a dealing with it. Land Registry continues to encourage and facilitate voluntary registration.

22nd Jan 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what guidance the Electoral Commission provides to local authority electoral registration offices and local authority canvassers when they are distributing and collecting completed individual elector registration forms on the doorstep.

The Electoral Commission has published guidance for Electoral Registration Officers (EROs), and materials for them to use to train canvassers. The guidance states that EROs need to consider how the distribution and collection of completed forms will be undertaken, as part of their engagement strategy and implementation plan for Individual Electoral Registration (IER). You can view the guidance on the Commission’s website, www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Registration forms contain sensitive personal information (including National Insurance numbers and dates of birth), so canvassers will need to ensure that the forms are kept secure at all times. All canvassers therefore need to receive appropriate data protection training, and be trained to keep any personal information they may collect from electors safe from unauthorised access, accidental loss or destruction.

The Commission and the Cabinet Office have also given guidance to EROs on what they can do to minimise the risks to electors’ personal data. For example, where canvassers are collecting forms on the doorstep, they should consider using lockable cases or satchels for transporting documents.

22nd Jan 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what estimate the Electoral Commission has made of the number of local authorities whose canvassers are declining to collect completed individual electoral registration forms on the doorstep.

The Electoral Commission does not record information on local authorities whose canvassers are not collecting completed forms on the doorstep. The Commission guidance does, however, make clear how Electoral Registration Officers should approach collecting registration forms on the doorstep.

Registration forms contain sensitive personal information (including National Insurance numbers and dates of birth), so canvassers will need to ensure that the forms are kept secure at all times. A number of EROs have chosen to equip their canvassers with tablets or smartphones to allow electors to submit applications directly through the www.gov.uk/register-to-vote website.

Additionally, whenever a form is left with an elector there is a legal requirement for them to be provided with a freepost return envelope. This means that, in order to minimise the risks to electors’ data, the application can be posted either by the applicant or the canvasser.

22nd Jan 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many young people were included on the electoral register in December (a) 2013 and (b) 2014 in (i) the UK, (ii) each region and constituent part of the UK and (iii) each local authority area.

The Electoral Commission does not hold data on the age profile of registered electors.

The Electoral Commission has previously estimated the proportion of people correctly registered by age. The most recent estimates can be found in its report The quality of the 2014 electoral registers in Great Britain, which is available on its website here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/169889/Completeness-and-accuracy-of-the-2014-electoral-registers-in-Great-Britain.pdf.

22nd Jan 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many 17-year-old attainers were registered in December (a) 2013 and (b) 2014 in (i) the UK, (ii) each region and constituent part of the UK and (iii) each local authority area.

Data on the number of registered attainers in December 2013 in the UK, by region and local authority area, is available from the Office for National Statistics’ website. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/pop-estimate/electoral-statistics-for-uk/2013/index.html

The Office for National Statistics will publish data on the number of attainers registered in December 2014 in February 2015.

Data is not held on the age of registered attainers and some may have been 16 years old at the point of registration.

20th Jan 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what forecast his Department has made of the saving to the public purse from the relocation of the Crown Post Office in Rhyl.

The Post Office’s directly managed Crown network has incurred heavy and historic losses (totalling £26 million in the Post Office’s last reported full financial year). Eliminating these losses is a key element of the Post Office’s strategy to provide for the long-term sustainable future of the network.

As part of that strategy the Post Office is seeking to franchise a number of its Crown post offices, as is the case with Rhyl. The Government supports the business in delivering that strategy.

As changes to its Crown Post Office network is the operational responsibility of the Post Office I have therefore asked Paula Vennells, the Chief Executive of Post Office Ltd, to write to you on this matter. A copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

20th Jan 2015
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 6 January 2015 to Question 219123, what proportion of people who initiated an online registration failed to finish that registration; and what information he holds on the main reason for failure to conclude the registration process.

Performance data relating to the online registration system is available at https://www.gov.uk/performance/register-to-vote.

20th Jan 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, how much and what proportion of land was registered in Wales in each of the last 10 years.

The information requested is provided in the table below. Data for Wales has only been collected since September 2005. In addition, total area figures shown for 2006 and 2007 are lower than the rest and this is due to an issue encountered with the Powys Administrative Area where the data was not being stored. The remaining years are correctly shown and include Powys.

Date

Total area, ha

Registered freehold, ha

Registered

Not registered

Total - Sep 2005

2,122,453

879,153

41.42%

58.58%

Total - 31 March 2006*

1,602,838

789,231

49.24%

50.76%

Total - 31 March 2007*

1,602,838

874,775

54.58%

45.42%

Total - 31 March 2008

2,122,453

1,229,649

57.94%

42.06%

Total - 31 March 2009

2,122,453

1,329,394

62.63%

37.37%

Total - 31 March 2010

2,122,453

1,418,316

66.82%

33.18%

Total - 31 March 2011

2,122,453

1,494,752

70.43%

29.57%

Total - 31 March 2012

2,122,453

1,541,732

72.64%

27.36%

Total - 31 March 2013

2,122,453

1,591,521

74.99%

25.01%

Total - 31 March 2014

2,122,453

1,653,802

77.92%

22.08%

*Figures do not include Powys

19th Jan 2015
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, whether the Electoral Commission has endorsed the inclusion of 17 year old attainers on the electoral register; and what assessment he has made of the effect of this inclusion on the number of 18 year olds registered to vote.

The Representation of the People Act 1983 provides for attainers to be included in the electoral register. The Electoral Commission has not been asked to endorse this. The government has made no assessment of the effect this inclusion has on the number of 18 year olds registered to vote.

8th Jan 2015
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, (a) how many and (b) what proportion of postal voters did not transfer to the individual electoral register in each (i) local authority and (ii) parliamentary constituency.

The Commission has previously published information on the number and proportion of postal voters matched as a result of the confirmation process. This data is available on the Commission’s website by ward and local authority, but not by parliamentary constituency. It was published last year on 21 October for England and Wales and on 25 November for Scotland.

· England and Wales: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/excel_doc/0006/177963/CLR-Data-Ward-results-WEBSITE.xlsx

· Scotland: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/excel_doc/0020/179030/CLR-Scotland-LA-Data-WEBSITE.xlsx

Postal voters who were not matched through the confirmation process will have been invited by their Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) to register under IER. If they did not respond to the original invitation, they will have been sent up to two reminders and will also have received a personal visit.

While these electors will not be removed from the register until the end of the transition as a result of the change, those existing postal voters who have not been confirmed will not be able to vote by post until they have registered individually.

The Commission’s guidance to EROs emphasises the importance of targeting this particular group in order to maximise the number of electors being able to vote using their preferred method of voting at the scheduled polls in May 2015.

Additionally, by law, EROs are required to write to all electors who have lost their postal vote entitlement on publication of the revised registers within one month of that publication, explaining what they need to do if they wish to continue to vote by post and providing information on how to register individually.

The Commission will be publishing further information on the progress of the transition to IER in England and Wales in February 2015 and in Scotland in April 2015.

17th Dec 2014
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how much has been spent in total on allowances for members of the House of Lords in each year since 2010.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority is not responsible for the allowances of members of the House of Lords. The information requested is available on the parliamentary website at www.parliament.uk/business/lords/whos-in-the-house-of-lords/house-of-lords-expenses/.

17th Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, pursuant to the Answer of 15 December 2014 to Question 218516, if he will list the 55 employers his Department has named and shamed for the non-payment of the national minimum wage.

Details of the employers that have already been named under the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills National Minimum Wage Naming Scheme can be found on the original press notices. Please see below for the dates when we have named the employers and the links to the press releases.

28 February 2014

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-gets-tough-with-employers-failing-to-pay-minimum-wage

8 June 2014

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-names-employers-who-fail-to-pay-minimum-wage

27 November 2014

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-names-employers-who-fail-to-pay-the-national-minimum-wage

Any worker who believes that they are being paid below the minimum wage should call the Pay & Work Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368. HM Revenue & Customs investigate all complaints.

17th Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, how much funding each Citizens Advice Bureau in Wales has received from his Department in each of the last five years.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) fund the national umbrella body for the Citizens Advice Service in England and Wales – Citizens Advice – on behalf of all Government departments and the Welsh Government.

Central Government does not fund individual Citizens Advice Bureaux who receive funding from a variety of public, charity and private sources, with core funding typically provided by the Local Authority in which they are located.

BIS does not hold information on funding of individual bureaux.

17th Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, pursuant to the Answer of 15 December 2014 to Question 217431, if he will make it his policy to record the ethnicity of staff working for companies contracted by his Department.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) seeks to ensure its procurement policy is aligned with wider Government policy as led by the Crown Commercial Service, part of the Cabinet Office. It is not currently BIS policy to request diversity data of the staff working for companies contracted by the Department, but we will keep this option under review.

17th Dec 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 15 December 2014 to Question 216807, what proportion of students who initiated an online registration failed to finish that registration; and what information he holds on the main reason for failure to conclude the registration process.

The online registration system does not identify electors as students so the requested information is not avaliable.

3rd Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what research funding his Department has allocated to developing new technologies for (a) nuclear power stations, (b) offshore wind turbines, (c) onshore wind turbines, (d) coal powered power stations, (e) gas powered power stations, (f) solar powered farms, (g) tidal lagoons, (h) biomass and (i) anaerobic digesters.

Whilst it is possible that the Department of Energy and Climate Change may hold information on expenditure allocation in developing new technologies for (a) nuclear power stations, (b) offshore wind turbines, (c) onshore wind turbines, (d) coal powered power stations, (e) gas powered power stations, (f) solar powered farms, (g) tidal lagoons, (h) biomass and (i) anaerobic digesters, the allocations may well include a mixture of consultancy, out-sourced programme management and not necessarily research and development.

Consequently we are not able to identify how much research funding has been allocated to each of those areas without incurring disproportionate cost.

3rd Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what assessment he has made of the potential contribution of tidal impoundment schemes to (a) local economies and (b) the UK economy.

The Government’s 2010 Severn Tidal Power feasibility study [1] assessed in great detail the potential contribution of 5 generic Severn Estuary tidal range schemes to the local and UK economies, including a regional economic impact study [2].

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/1-severn-tidal-power-feasibility-study-conclusions-and-summary-report

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/7-severn-tidal-power-regional-economic-impacts-study

3rd Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what estimate he has made of the average decommissioning costs of (a) nuclear power stations, (b) offshore wind turbines, (c) onshore wind turbines, (d) coal-powered power stations, (e) gas-powered power stations, (f) solar farms, (g) tidal lagoons, (h) biomass generation and (i) anaerobic digesters.

The Department published estimates of the costs of nuclear decommissioning in 2010. [1] It was calculated that for a generic Pressurised Water Reactor with a capacity of 1.35GW operating for 40 years, decommissioning and waste management costs were in the range £800m – £1800m.

For offshore wind farms, the developers of some projects have provided my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State with estimates for the cost of decommissioning their wind farms under the provisions of the Energy Act 2004. On the basis of this information, the estimated cost of decommissioning offshore wind farms is around £700,000 per turbine.

A report on the economic impacts of onshore wind published jointly by the Department and RenewableUK in May 2012 [2] estimated that the cost of decommissioning each turbine as being in the region of £60,000.

The Department has not produced estimates for the average or typical costs of decommissioning for other types of energy generating assets.

[1] Consultation on a Methodology to Determine a Fixed Unit Price for Waste Disposal and Updated Cost Estimates for Nuclear Decommissioning, Waste Management and Waste Disposal, March 2010:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/42533/1_20100324145948_e____ConsultationonFixedUnitPricemethodologyandupdatedcostestimates.pdf

2 Onshore Wind Direct & Wider Economic Impacts, May 2012 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/48359/5229-onshore-wind-direct--wider-economic-impacts.pdf.

3rd Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what estimate he has made of the days of lost production from (a) nuclear power stations, (b) offshore wind turbines, (c) onshore wind turbines, (d) coal-powered power stations, (e) gas-powered power stations, (f) solar farms, (g) tidal lagoons, (h) biomass generation and (i) anaerobic digesters in the last 12 months.

The Department doesn’t hold this information centrally, and can only provide it at disproportionate cost.

3rd Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what assessment he has made of the contribution of tidal impoundment to renewable energy production in the UK.

In 2007, the Government published the Atlas of UK marine renewable energy resources (see attached), which assesses, amongst other things, the tidal range resource around the UK.

The Government’s 2010 Severn Tidal Power feasibility study [1] then assessed the potential for 5 generic Severn Estuary schemes, including potential energy production.

Following this, the 2012 Crown Estate’s UK Wave and Tidal Key Resource Areas [2] assessed the theoretical resource of tidal barrage and tidal lagoons across the UK at 96 TWh/year (45 GW) and 25 TWh/year (14 GW) respectively.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/1-severn-tidal-power-feasibility-study-conclusions-and-summary-report

[2] The Crown Estate, UK Wave and Tidal Key Resource Areas Project, Summary Report, October 2012

2nd Dec 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many and what proportion of electors in each UK parliamentary constituency were (a) confirmed and (b) unconfirmed on 1 December 2014.

The Electoral Commission will be publishing data on the 1 December 2014 registers in England and Wales in February 2015. Data on Scotland will be published in April 2015 after the publication of the registers there in late February and early March.

There is a delay between the date of publication and the availability of a national summary because the data needs to be collected from 348 electoral registration officers (EROs), collated and analysed in order to provide a robust and reliable assessment of the state of the electoral registers in England and Wales. Not all EROs will publish a register on 1 December as legislation allows them to delay publication in the event of a by-election.

The data, when available, will be presented by local authority and not by parliamentary constituency.

The timing of the Commission’s report was highlighted in the written statement it tabled on 21 October, which also announced the publication of data on the results of the confirmation process, undertaken in summer 2014 as part of the move to Individual Electoral Registration. This data was made available by the Commission by parliamentary constituency and local authority and is available on its website.

26th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, how much sub-sea off-shore cabling has been laid in which areas in each of the last 30 years.

In the last 30 years, there has been a total of 1340km of sub-sea electricity transmission cables laid in the waters surrounding the UK.

This comprises 702km of licenced sub-sea offshore transmission cables1 that connect offshore wind farms in UK territorial sea and surrounding Renewable Energy Zone (REZ)2 to shore, and 638km of interconnector cables, consisting of links from the UK mainland to France, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Lengths provided are for sub-sea sections of cables only, and do not include onshore components that link to relevant grid connection points.

Table of licenced offshore transmission projects

Licenced offshore wind farm transmission assets

Sub-sea cable length (km)

Year licence granted

Sea

Robin Rigg East and West

25.2

2011

Irish Sea

Sheringham Shoal

44

2013

North Sea

Barrow

26.6

2011

Irish Sea

Greater Gabbard

152.5

2013

North Sea

Gunfleet Sands 1 and 2

9.3

2011

North Sea

Ormonde

43

2012

Irish Sea

Wallney 1

45.3

2011

Irish Sea

Wallney 2

43.7

2012

Irish Sea

Lincs

96

2014

North Sea

London Array

216

2013

North Sea

Total Cable length

702

Table of interconnectors

Interconnector

Sub-sea cable length (km)3

Laying year(s)

Connection points

Sea

IFA

45

19864

GB – Folkestone, Kent

FR - Calais

English Channel

Moyle

53

20015

N.I - Nr Belfast,

Scotland - near Stranraer

Irish Sea

BritNed

250

2009 to 20106

GB - Isle of Grain,

Netherlands - Maasvlakte

North Sea

East West

186

2009 to 20127

GB - Deeside, north Wales,

Ireland - Woodland, County Meath

Irish Sea

Isle of Man

104

20008

Bispham, Blackpool to Douglas, Isle of Man

Irish Sea

Total Cable length

638

[1] Source – Ofgem. Offshore transmission is defined as all electric lines of 132 kilovolts or more which are built for the purpose of conveying electricity generated by an offshore generating station. The km length figure does not include ‘inter array’ cables that connect individual wind turbines to the nearby sub-station.

2 The REZ is an area of the sea, beyond the UK’s territorial sea, which may be exploited for energy production. A map of the REZ may be obtained from the UK Hydrographic Office - https://www.ukho.gov.uk/ProductsandServices/Services/Documents/Renewable_Energy_Web%20Page_Jan06_v2.pdf . A map of the ten offshore transmission projects tendered to date, as well as the five projects currently in Ofgem’s competitive tender process, can be found on Ofgem’s website - https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/electricity/transmission-networks/offshore-transmission/offshore-transmission-tenders

3 Length provided refers to the distance between landing points and does not take into account cable configurations of the interconnectors.

4[1] Refers to the year IFA was commissioned. Source: National Grid - http://faculty.london.edu/mottaviani/IFA.pdf

5 Source: Mutual Energy - http://www.mutual-energy.com/The_Moyle_Interconnector/History_and_Development_of_the_Interconnector.php

6 Source: BritNed - http://www.britned.com/BritNed/About%20Us/Construction

7 Source: ABB - http://www05.abb.com/global/scot/scot221.nsf/veritydisplay/4d580b5e493d268dc1257c00003e44dc/$file/Overview%20of%20the%20500MW%20EirGrid%20East-West.pdf

8 Source: AWJ Marine - http://www.awjmarine.co.uk/fishery-liaison/isle-of-man-interconnector/

20th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what recent representations he has received form private sector mail delivery companies on delivering mail in urban areas of the UK; and what assessment he has made of the effect of such proposals on the Royal Mail's ability to deliver Universal Service Provision in rural areas.

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Ministers and officials meet intermittently with representatives of UK postal companies, though there have not been any recent representations from such operators specifically on the issue of delivering mail in urban areas of the country.

Under the Postal Services Act 2011, Parliament gave Ofcom as an experienced and independent regulator the primary statutory duty to secure the provision of the universal service to all addresses – urban and rural – in the UK. Ofcom maintains an ongoing monitoring regime which tracks Royal Mail’s performance and any actual or potential market impacts on the provision of the universal service. Ofcom has said that their own evidence clearly shows that the service is not currently under threat.

Ofcom has been reviewing the case which Royal Mail has been making about the potential impact of competition on their ability to provide that service and is expected to make a statement very shortly. More information about Ofcom’s regulatory regime can be found on its website (www.ofcom.org.uk/).

The BIS Select Committee is currently carrying out an inquiry into postal competition in the UK and postal operators have recently submitted their evidence on market competition to inform the inquiry. Copies of written submissions can be found on Parliament’s website (http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/business-innovation-and-skills/inquiries/parliament-2010/competition-in-the-uk-postal-sector-/?type=Written#pnlPublicationFilter).

19th Nov 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what registration rate was achieved by use of (a) Department for Work and Pensions and (b) local authority data matching in the confirmation dry run; and what rate was achieved by using all levels of data matching in the confirmation live run.

The confirmation dry run match rate with Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) data for Great Britain is included in the Electoral Commission’s report on the dry run, which is available on its website. Across Great Britain 78% of electors could be matched with DWP. Subsequent analysis, from the trial of local data matching by 139 electoral registration officers, suggested that local data matching added an average of 6% to the overall match rate.

The results of the confirmation live run for Great Britain were included in the Commission’s recently published report on the live run in Scotland, which is also available on its website. The data for Great Britain was only available at this point as the transition to IER in Scotland began after the referendum on independence. The final match rate, after matching with DWP and local data, across Great Britain was 87%. These figures mean that overall approximately 40.5 million electors were matched.

Electoral Registration Officers are now working to target those existing electors who could not be matched, as well as those not currently on the registers at all.

The Commission will next report on the transition to Individual Electoral Registration in England and Wales in February 2015 following the publication of the registers by 1 December 2014. This report will be based on the results of our ongoing monitoring of performance as well as detailed, local authority-level data collected from EROs. A separate assessment for Scotland will be published in April 2015 following the publication of the revised registers there by 2 March 2015.

17th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, how many complaints his Department has received about (a) UK Acorn Finance, (b) Burges Salmon Solicitors and (c) Commercial First from (i) hon. Members and (ii) members of the public.

It is not Departmental policy to comment on the affairs of companies. Any complaints made to the Insolvency Service will concern the use of the Secretary of State’s powers of investigation under the Companies Acts and such investigations are confidential.

6th Nov 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 11 September 2014 to Question 208450, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the reasons for the number of those who were not registered to vote not having reduced between 2010 and 2014.

The Electoral Commission’s report on the accuracy and completeness of the last electoral registers compiled under household register concluded that it was not clear what may have caused a stabilisation in registration levels. The report speculated on possible reasons including fewer canvass response rates falling below 90% since 2008 and a general stabilisation in turnout levels.

However, many of the possible reasons for the decline in levels since the 1990s are still relevant and may explain why levels have not recovered further. These reasons are also set out in the Commission’s report which is available on its website.

6th Nov 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how the performance standards for electoral registration officers (EROs) for door-to-door canvassing of non-responders relates to and takes into account an ERO's compliance with the legal duty to conduct such canvassing.

The Commission’s performance standards focus on the way in which Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) carry out their statutory functions, with a view to ensuring that electoral registration services are delivered with the needs of electors in mind.

EROs are already subject to breach of official duty if they fail to comply with electoral law. It is open to anyone who believes that such an offence may have been committed to refer the matter to the police for investigation. In deciding whether to bring a prosecution the Crown Prosecution Service would consider all relevant circumstances, including the reasons for the alleged breach and whether a prosecution is in the public interest.

Where an ERO does not carry out their duties in full, the Commission’s priority is to take action to ensure that the ERO makes improvements to their performance in the discharge of their functions. In doing this, the Commission will consider all available options to determine a proportionate response, based on the facts of each particular case.

6th Nov 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many and what proportion of votes were cast by post in the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner by-election; and if he will make a statement.

Information on the number and proportion of votes cast by post at the recent by-election is held by the Police Area Returning Officer for South Yorkshire, rather than the Electoral Commission.

6th Nov 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 11 September 2014 to Question 208193, if he will make it his policy to provide guidance on financial and legal resources available to private citizens who take legal action against electoral registration officers who do not conduct door-to-door canvassing of those households that do not return electoral registration forms.

The Electoral Commission’s recent assessments of Electoral Registration Officers’ (ERO) compliance with its performance standard for door-to-door canvassing show that this is very high and improving year by year.

As it is the duty of the Electoral Commission to monitor the performance of Electoral Registration Officers (EROs), the Government has no such plans to produce any guidance.

The Government has made clear that if an ERO fails to meet the statutory requirements Ministers can issue a Direction under section 52 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 that will require them to comply with their statutory obligations.

6th Nov 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, for what reasons no legal action has been taken against electoral registration officers who have repeatedly failed to conduct door-to-door canvassing of electors who have not returned an electoral registration form.

The Electoral Commission’s recent assessments of Electoral Registration Officers’ (ERO) compliance with its performance standard for door-to-door canvassing show that this is very high and improving year by year.

As it is the duty of the Electoral Commission to monitor the performance of Electoral Registration Officers (EROs), the Government has no such plans to produce any guidance.

The Government has made clear that if an ERO fails to meet the statutory requirements Ministers can issue a Direction under section 52 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 that will require them to comply with their statutory obligations.

6th Nov 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what steps the Electoral Commission has taken to ensure that electoral registration officers recognise their legal obligation to conduct door-to-door canvassing for the purpose of electoral registration; and what steps have been taken to assess levels of awareness of that duty amongst those officers.

Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) have a general duty to take all necessary steps to maintain the electoral register, including making house-to-house enquiries. There are also provisions in law requiring EROs to follow up any non-responses to household enquiry forms and invitations to register with personal visits.

The Commission provides comprehensive guidance for EROs which sets out their legal duties, including in relation to making house-to-house enquiries, and what they should be doing to comply with these.

In monitoring progress with delivering the transition to Individual Electoral Registration, the Commission’s teams across England, Scotland and Wales are engaging regularly with EROs. This work includes checking to ensure that arrangements are in place to enable the necessary visits to be made and that these visits are then carried out in practice.

6th Nov 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what process the Electoral Commission has for updating and reviewing the methodology for estimating the number of unregistered voters; and whether previous estimates are routinely revised when that methodology is changed.

The Electoral Commission keeps its approach to measuring the accuracy and completeness of the registers under review. There has been no substantial change to the methodology since the first significant study based on the house-to-house approach, which was published in 2010, and is available on the Commission’s website.

The ability to retroactively amend figures would be dependent on the nature of any changes made to the methodology.

5th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what the percentage change was in the national minimum wage in each year since its introduction.

The information requested can be found in the table attached.

5th Nov 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which 100 local authority wards achieved the largest increase in data matching between the Department for Work and Pensions confirmation live run and local authority data matching live run.

The 100 wards that achieved the largest increase in data matching between the Department for Work and Pensions and the local authority data matching stage are listed below.

Local Authority

Ward

DWP match rate (%)

LDM match rate (%)

Increase (%)

Lancaster

University

0

100

100

Westminster

West End

32

75

43

Westminster

Marylebone High Street

37

77

40

Brighton and Hove

Brunswick and Adelaide

33

72

39

Westminster

Warwick

42

81

39

Camden

West Hampstead

42

78

37

Hammersmith and Fulham

Addison

45

82

37

Camden

Swiss Cottage

42

79

37

Westminster

Lancaster Gate

37

74

36

Westminster

Bayswater

44

80

36

Westminster

Knightsbridge and Belgravia

28

64

36

Westminster

Harrow Road

48

83

35

Lancaster

Dukes

44

79

35

Westminster

Bryanston and Dorset Square

42

76

35

Westminster

Little Venice

50

85

35

Lancaster

Ellel

58

92

34

Westminster

Tachbrook

50

84

34

Westminster

Hyde Park

39

73

33

Camden

Fortune Green

47

80

33

Camden

Belsize

48

80

33

Hammersmith and Fulham

North End

45

77

32

Brighton and Hove

Regency

37

69

32

Hammersmith and Fulham

Avonmore and Brook Green

49

80

32

Hammersmith and Fulham

Shepherds Bush Green

49

80

31

Brighton and Hove

Central Hove

46

77

31

Camden

Frognal and Fitzjohns

44

75

31

Westminster

St James’s

46

77

31

Bath and North East Somerset

Abbey

44

74

31

Hammersmith and Fulham

Town

51

81

31

Westminster

Abbey Road

54

85

30

Hammersmith and Fulham

Munster

52

82

30

Hammersmith and Fulham

Askew

54

84

30

Camden

Hampstead Town

51

81

30

Ealing

Ealing Broadway

59

88

30

City of London

AL

34

63

30

Hammersmith and Fulham

Sands End

55

84

29

Hammersmith and Fulham

Fulham Broadway

53

82

29

Camden

Camden Town with Primrose Hill

53

82

29

Kensington and Chelsea

Redcliffe

39

68

28

Hammersmith and Fulham

Hammersmith Broadway

53

81

28

Westminster

Queens Park

60

88

28

Kensington and Chelsea

Queen’s Gate

36

64

28

Camden

Kentish Town

53

81

28

Ealing

South Acton

62

89

28

Ealing

Acton Central

61

89

28

Westminster

Vincent Square

57

84

27

Kensington and Chelsea

St Helen’s

49

76

27

Hammersmith and Fulham

Parsons Green and Walham

57

84

27

Camden

Kilburn

53

80

27

Ealing

Southfield

65

92

27

Westminster

Maida Vale

56

83

27

Kensington and Chelsea

Earl’s Court

41

67

27

Kensington and Chelsea

Courtfield

34

60

26

Hammersmith and Fulham

Palace Riverside

62

88

26

Kensington and Chelsea

Brompton and Hans Town

39

65

26

Bournemouth

Boscombe West

55

81

26

Westminster

Regents Park

60

85

26

Kensington and Chelsea

Colville

47

72

26

Ealing

Ealing Common

63

88

25

Denbighshire

Rhyl West

64

89

25

Shepway

Folkestone Harvey Central

59

84

25

Kensington and Chelsea

Pembridge

39

64

25

Hastings

Central St Leonards

50

75

25

Camden

Holborn and Covent Garden

52

77

25

Camden

Cantelowes

52

77

25

Bournemouth

Winton East

61

86

25

Scarborough

Ramshill

55

80

24

Kensington and Chelsea

Holland Park

48

72

24

Kensington and Chelsea

Norland

52

76

24

Hammersmith and Fulham

Fulham Reach

51

75

24

Wandsworth

Bedford

53

77

24

Kensington and Chelsea

Royal Hospital

45

69

24

Bournemouth

Westbourne and West Cliff

60

84

24

Cardiff

Butetown

57

81

24

Kensington and Chelsea

Abingdon

48

72

24

Lambeth

Oval

51

74

24

Camden

Gospel Oak

60

84

24

Richmond upon Thames

South Richmond

67

91

24

Westminster

Westbourne

61

85

24

Camden

Kings Cross

47

71

24

Richmond upon Thames

Twickenham Riverside

68

91

24

Bath and North East Somerset

Kingsmead

54

77

23

Hammersmith and Fulham

Ravenscourt Park

63

86

23

Wandsworth

Northcote

55

78

23

Ealing

Walpole

68

91

23

Brighton and Hove

Goldsmid

59

82

23

Wandsworth

Shaftesbury

54

77

23

Ribble Valley

Bowland, Newton and Slaidburn

55

78

23

Manchester

City Centre

25

48

23

Wandsworth

Fairfield

55

78

23

Bristol

Cabot

38

61

23

Portsmouth

St Jude

56

79

23

Kingston upon Thames

Grove

59

82

23

Lambeth

St Leonard’s

51

73

23

Bristol

Cotham

36

59

23

Kensington and Chelsea

Campden

49

71

23

Westminster

Church Street

65

87

23

Lambeth

Clapham Town

54

77

23

Westminster

Churchill

67

90

23

Lambeth

Ferndale

49

71

22

It is important to note that due to limitations with the data (as set out in the Commission’s report on the confirmation live run) some figures for individual local authorities or electoral wards may include carried forward electors, those who did not respond to the last household canvass, even though they cannot legally be automatically confirmed.

5th Nov 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which 10 local authorities had (a) the largest and (b) the smallest improvement between the Department for Work and Pensions confirmation live run and the local authority data matching live run of data transfer.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the list of the local authorities with the largest improvement between matching with the Department of Work and Pensions and local data is included in its report on the confirmation live run which is available on its website, was circulated to all Members of Parliament on publication, and is available in the library of the House of Commons. The local authorities are as follows:

Local authority

DWP match rate

Post-LDM match rate

Increase

Bournemouth

72%

87%

16%

Southwark

76%

93%

16%

Richmond upon Thames

63%

79%

17%

Ealing

71%

89%

18%

Lambeth

57%

77%

20%

City of London

54%

75%

21%

Kensington and Chelsea

48%

71%

24%

Camden

52%

79%

27%

Hammersmith and Fulham

54%

82%

28%

Westminster

49%

81%

32%

The Commission further informs me that it cannot accurately provide the local authorities with the smallest increments. This is a result of limitations with the data, as set out in the Commission’s report, which does not always allow carried forward electors, those who did not respond to the last household canvass and who cannot legally be automatically confirmed, to be reliably separated.

The full dataset is available on the Commission’s website.

5th Nov 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many and what proportion of people who were registered for a postal vote under the household electoral register did not have their postal vote transferred during the confirmation run of both the Department of Work and Pensions and the local authority data matching pilots; and what steps the Electoral Commission is taking to ensure that people retain their postal vote in the transition to individual electoral registration.

In England and Wales, 435,025 existing electors with a postal vote have not been confirmed. This amounts to 7% of postal voters in England and Wales. The Commission will report on the results of the confirmation process in Scotland, including the number of postal voters who have not been confirmed, by the end of November 2014.

Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) have already written to all postal voters who have not been confirmed to invite them to register individually. EROs are also required by law to write to any such electors who have not responded by the time of the publication of the revised registers by 1 December 2014 and so have lost their absent vote entitlement.

The Commission’s guidance to EROs highlights postal voters who have not been confirmed as one of the key groups of electors they should have arrangements in place to target.

The Commission will continue to monitor the transition to Individual Electoral Registration and will next report on progress in England and Wales in February 2015. This report will include information on the number of postal voters included on the revised registers. It will also indicate any areas where action needs to be taken by EROs to help to ensure electors can vote using their preferred method of voting at the May 2015 elections. A similar report on progress in Scotland will be published in April 2015.

3rd Nov 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what steps the Electoral Commission is taking to increase the take-up of postal votes.

The Electoral Commission does not set out to increase the take-up of postal voting and instead provides information to help people participate with confidence in elections and referendums by whatever method they find most convenient. This includes ensuring people understand the range of options available to them to cast their vote, including by post, proxy and at a polling station.

The Commission’s guidance to Electoral Registration Officers sets out that they should ensure people are made aware of the different ways they can cast their vote so they are able to choose the option that is most appropriate to their circumstances.

Information on different options for how to cast a ballot is also provided on the Commission’s website, via media releases, social media channels, and through the public information phone line.

3rd Nov 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what recent research the Electoral Commission has conducted into the reasons why individuals who are (a) entitled to vote do not register and (b) on the electoral register do not vote.

The Commission informs me that its reports on the accuracy and completeness of the electoral registers set out possible reasons why people may fail to register to vote. These reports are available on the Commission’s website.

The Commission also conducts public opinion research after each set of elections that asks non-voters why they did not vote at the recent election. The results from these polls are also available on the Commission’s website.

28th Oct 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what the Electoral Commission's policy is on referral to the police of electoral registration officers who do not fulfil their legal obligations.

Where an ERO does not carry out their duties in full, the Commission’s priority is to take action to ensure that the ERO makes improvements to their performance in the discharge of their functions. In doing this, the Commission will consider all available options to determine a proportionate response based on the facts of each particular case.

Failure to comply with a legal duty can constitute an offence. It is open to anyone who believes that such an offence may have been committed to refer the matter to the police for investigation. In deciding whether to bring a prosecution the Crown Prosecution Service would consider all relevant circumstances, including the reasons for the alleged breach and whether a prosecution is in the public interest.

27th Oct 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 11 September 2014 to Question 206672, what discussions the Commission has had with Liberty on the Electoral Commission's proposals to introduce electoral identity cards.

The Commission has not yet had discussions with Liberty on its recommendation that electors in Great Britain should be required in future to present an acceptable form of photographic identification (ID) prior to being issued with a ballot paper at polling stations, as has been the requirement in Northern Ireland since 2003. The Commission has recommended that any voter ID scheme for Great Britain should provide for electors to obtain an alternative form of identification, such as a free electoral ID card, if they do not have access to any other specified form of identification.

The Commission is consulting a wide range of relevant organisations to develop and test options for suitable forms of identification, and it will consult Liberty as part of this work.

27th Oct 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which electoral registration officers have failed in their obligation to make household visits when no response was received to either a household enquiry form or an invitation to register; and what steps the Electoral Commission took in response to each individual case in the latest period for which figures are available.

The Commission informs me that the general duty on Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) to take all necessary steps to maintain the electoral register, including making house-to-house enquiries, was introduced in 2006. Specific provisions requiring EROs to follow up any non-responses to household enquiry forms and invitations to register with personal visits came into effect at the beginning of the transition to Individual Electoral Registration, which commenced on 10 June 2014 in England and Wales and from 19 September 2014 in Scotland.

EROs are now in the process of carrying out personal canvassing to follow up non-responses to household enquiry forms and invitations to register. The Commission will continue to monitor the performance of EROs and, if there are any instances where the necessary visits are not being carried out, it will consider the full range of options available, including making a recommendation to the Secretary of State to make a direction.

27th Oct 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, in which year electoral registration officers were placed under an obligation to make houshold visits where no response was received to either a household enquiry form or an invitation to register.

The Commission informs me that the general duty on Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) to take all necessary steps to maintain the electoral register, including making house-to-house enquiries, was introduced in 2006. Specific provisions requiring EROs to follow up any non-responses to household enquiry forms and invitations to register with personal visits came into effect at the beginning of the transition to Individual Electoral Registration, which commenced on 10 June 2014 in England and Wales and from 19 September 2014 in Scotland.

EROs are now in the process of carrying out personal canvassing to follow up non-responses to household enquiry forms and invitations to register. The Commission will continue to monitor the performance of EROs and, if there are any instances where the necessary visits are not being carried out, it will consider the full range of options available, including making a recommendation to the Secretary of State to make a direction.

27th Oct 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 11 September 2014 to Question 208311, what the most significant reason was for the increase in the numbers of people registered to vote in Northern Ireland between 2012 and 2013.

The Electoral Commission carried out an evaluation of the canvass and other registration activities conducted as part of the 2013 annual canvass. The evaluation is presented in ‘Report on the Northern Ireland electoral registration canvass 2013’ available on the Electoral Commission’s website.

27th Oct 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what assessment his Department has made of the appropriateness of the key success measure for completeness of the electoral register contained in the Electoral Commission's Corporate Plan 2014-15 to 2018-19.

The Electoral Commission, as an independent body, is overseen by the Speaker’s Committee. The Speaker’s Committee examines and approves the estimates and five year corporate plan of the Electoral Commission. It is for the Committee as a whole to make such an assessment.

27th Oct 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answers of 11 September 2014 to Questions 208200 and 208199, which local authorities have informed his Department that the capability of their computer systems to deal with individual electoral registration poses a threat to the successful implementation of individual electoral registration.

All local authorities successfully implemented Individual Electoral Registration on 10 June 2014 in England and Wales and 19 September 2014 in Scotland. Cabinet Office is in discussions on an ongoing basis with all local authorities and their software suppliers to ensure the new system beds in.

27th Oct 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 11 September 2014 to Question 208273, what (a) guidance and (b) sanctions (i) his Department and (ii) the Electoral Commission provides for electoral registration officers who refuse to undertake door to door canvassing.

The Electoral Commission sets standards for Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) and monitors performance against these criteria. It will publish its assessments of ERO performance during the course of the transition to Individual Electoral Registration (IER).

All EROs in Great Britain are expected to meet their obligations to carry out door to door canvassing. If an authority is identified as not implementing its plans for carrying out house-to-house enquiries Ministers are fully prepared to issue a direction under section 52 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 to ensure the ERO complies with their statutory obligations.

23rd Oct 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, pursuant to the Answer of 17 October 2014 to Question 209889, how many complaints his Department received about Acorn Agriculture Finance (a) before and (b) after that company was granted licences.

Companies House does not have a company registered in the name of Acorn Agriculture Finance. A company in the name of Acorn Agricultural Finance Limited is shown on the company index of names and Companies House has not received any complaints against the company.

23rd Oct 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what progress has been made on the proposed relocation or closure of Rhyl Post Office.

The proposed franchising of some of its Crown Post Offices is the operational responsibility of Post Office Limited (POL). I understand that the company continues to explore all options for Rhyl with a view to finding a retail partner for the franchise. In the event that a suitable new retail partner cannot be found, POL has given a commitment that a post office service will be retained within the area.

As this is the operational responsibility of the company I have therefore asked Paula Vennells, the Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member on this matter. A copy of her reply will be placed in the libraries of the House.

15th Oct 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, if he will make it his policy to allow local authorities to keep a part of the funding they receive from issuing fixed penalty notices for non-registration in order to pay for that element of enforcement.

The Government has no plans to change the policy regarding funds received from fixed penalty notices issued for electoral registration purposes.

Any money collected by Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) is given to the Consolidated Fund held by central government. This ensures that the civil penalty is not used as a revenue raising measure.

There are safeguards in place to ensure that only those who refuse repeated invitations can be penalised and EROs must take specific steps to encourage an application before they can issue a formal notice of requirement. It is at EROs’ discretion whether to issue a civil penalty notice.

15th Oct 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Electoral Commission will issue advice to hon. Members on the procedures for registering electors who do not have a national insurance number under individual electoral registration.

There is an exceptions process which enables individuals who do not have a National Insurance Number to register to vote. Ministerial guidance has been provided for Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) which sets out the framework for administering this process.

The Commission is currently producing a guide to support anyone interested in promoting electoral registration. This guide will make clear that any individual who does not have a National Insurance Number should be directed to their ERO for advice on what they need to do to register.

15th Oct 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what estimate the Electoral Commission has made of the proportion of (a) male and (b) female electors in each ethnic grouping for which data is held who do not have a national insurance number.

The Electoral Commission has made no such estimate. National Insurance Numbers are allocated by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Commission does not hold any data on this process.

Under individual electoral registration, there is an exceptions process which enables individuals who do not have a National Insurance Number to register to vote.

10th Sep 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, from which organisation complaints have been received about the allocation of funding from the Innovation Fund.

No formal complaints were received about the allocation of funding from the Innovation Fund.

9th Sep 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what proportion of his Department's budget for Electoral Registration Transformation Programme has been spent on registering additional citizens to vote in the current financial year; and what assessment he has made of the performance of that Programme in that function.

The Government has budgeted £99 million during this Parliament to deliver Individual Electoral Registration (IER), which includes the introduction of online registration. The ability to register on a computer or smartphone in as little as three minutes makes registering to vote quicker and more accessible than ever before. Local Authorities and Valuation Joint Boards have received over £39 million of this budget to support the transition to IER.

This funding is managed by the Electoral Registration Transformation Programme in the Cabinet Office’s Constitution Group, and covers the investment made by the Cabinet Office in registering citizens to vote.

9th Sep 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what proportion of his Department's Election and Democracy Division budget has been spent on registering additional voters in the 2014-15 financial year.

The Government has budgeted £99 million during this Parliament to deliver Individual Electoral Registration (IER), which includes the introduction of online registration. The ability to register on a computer or smartphone in as little as three minutes makes registering to vote quicker and more accessible than ever before. Local Authorities and Valuation Joint Boards have received over £39 million of this budget to support the transition to IER.

This funding is managed by the Electoral Registration Transformation Programme in the Cabinet Office’s Constitution Group, and covers the investment made by the Cabinet Office in registering citizens to vote.

9th Sep 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what proportion of his Department's Parliament and Constitution Division's budget has been spent on registering additional voters in the 2014-15 financial year.

The Government has budgeted £99 million during this Parliament to deliver Individual Electoral Registration (IER), which includes the introduction of online registration. The ability to register on a computer or smartphone in as little as three minutes makes registering to vote quicker and more accessible than ever before. Local Authorities and Valuation Joint Boards have received over £39 million of this budget to support the transition to IER.

This funding is managed by the Electoral Registration Transformation Programme in the Cabinet Office’s Constitution Group, and covers the investment made by the Cabinet Office in registering citizens to vote.

9th Sep 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what the decision-making process was for the distribution of his Department's £4.2 million Innovation Fund to improve voter registration.

The £4.2 million fund was aimed at maximising electoral registration throughout the transition to Individual Electoral Registration – the Innovation Fund was part of this.

Five national organisations received funding through the Innovation fund, to test ways of improving democratic engagement among under registered groups were selected on merit for their innovative ideas, insight, networks and knowledge of specific groups.

8th Sep 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what recent assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the changes in accuracy of the electoral registers between December 2010 and March 2014.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the information requested can be found in the Electoral Commission’s recent reports into the accuracy and completeness of electoral registers.

The reports were published on Tuesday 22 July and made available on the Commission’s website. Copies were also circulated to all MPs, including the Honourable Member, by e-mail on the day of publication.

Copies of the reports are also available in the Library of the House of Commons.

8th Sep 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what the (a) number and (b) proportion is of eligible people who are not registered to vote in each nation and region of the UK.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the information requested can be found in the Electoral Commission’s recent reports into the accuracy and completeness of electoral registers.

The reports were published on Tuesday 22 July and made available on the Commission’s website. Copies were also circulated to all MPs, including the Honourable Member, by e-mail on the day of publication.

Copies of the reports are also available in the Library of the House of Commons.

8th Sep 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the effects of (a) increased internal population mobility, (b) increased immigration, (c) electoral registration practices, (d) financial motivation and (e) any failure of electoral registration officers to conduct full door-to-door canvass of non-responders on electoral registration levels.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the information requested can be found in the Electoral Commission’s recent reports into the accuracy and completeness of electoral registers.

The reports were published on Tuesday 22 July and made available on the Commission’s website. Copies were also circulated to all MPs, including the Honourable Member, by e-mail on the day of publication.

Copies of the reports are also available in the Library of the House of Commons.

8th Sep 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how much and what proportion of the Electoral Commission's annual budget the Electoral Commission Report into Completeness and Accuracy of the Electoral Register 2014 cost to produce.

The Electoral Commission informs me that its work on electoral registration is only part of its overall activities and responsibilities. The budget for the research used to inform the 2014 accuracy and completeness reports was £344,400 (including VAT). The Commission does not routinely record staff time spent on specific pieces of work and there is no estimate of this for the project.

It is therefore not possible to accurately determine what proportion of the Commission’s total budget, a significant element of which is staff costs, was spent on the reports.

4th Sep 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what estimate the Electoral Commission has made of the effect of a full canvass of electors in Northern Ireland in 2012 and 2013 on registration levels in Northern Ireland.

The Electoral Commission conducted an evaluation of the 2013 canvass in Northern Ireland. The findings are outlined in its ‘Report on the Northern Ireland electoral registration canvass 2013’ published in April 2014 and available on the Electoral Commission website.

Copies of the report are also available in the Library of the House of Commons.

4th Sep 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, how many and what proportion of electors have registered online in each local authority area since online registration was introduced.

Data concerning the volumes of online and paper applications received are available on the following web page:

https://www.gov.uk/performance/register-to-vote

4th Sep 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, which local authorities have contacted his Department on the capability of their computer system to deal with electoral registration.

The Cabinet Office has ongoing discussions with all local authorities about the capability of their IT systems to deal with electoral registration.

4th Sep 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, which local authorities have contacted his Department on the capability of their computer systems to deal with individual electoral registration.

The Cabinet Office has ongoing discussions with all local authorities about the capability of their IT systems to deal with electoral registration.

4th Sep 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which local authorities have contacted the European Commission on the capabilities of their computer system to deal with individual electoral registration.

The Electoral Commission is in regular dialogue with all Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) and their staff as part of their performance monitoring work to support the effective delivery of the transition to IER.

While electoral management software (EMS) is one of the areas routinely covered in the course of these discussions and correspondence, contact from EROs and their staff on EMS supplier issues is managed by the Cabinet Office. This reflects the joint working agreement in place between the Commission and the Cabinet Office relating to the provision of guidance and support to EROs and their staff throughout the period of the transition.

4th Sep 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Electoral Commission will publish its original timetable for research, printing and publication of the report into the accuracy and completeness of electoral registers published on 22 July 2014; and what the original target date for publication of that document was.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it’s target was to publish its report into the accuracy and completeness of electoral registers before the House rose for the summer adjournment, which it achieved. The final changes to the report were made on Monday 21 July and it was then published on Tuesday 22 July, and circulated to all MPs by e-mail.

The Commission does not produce paper versions of its reports, which are made available electronically on its website and are available for downloading, so no additional time was taken for the preparation of printed copies.

4th Sep 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, when the Electoral Commission will publish its report on the completeness and accuracy of the 2014 electoral register.

The Electoral Commission’s published its report on the completeness and accuracy of the 2014 electoral register on 22 July 2014. The report was made available on the Commission’s website, and a copy was also circulated to all MPs, including the honourable member, by e-mail on the day of publication.

Copies of the report are also available in the Library of the House of Commons.

4th Sep 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Electoral Commission will postpone its proposals on (a) photo identification for voters and (b) limitations on the handling of postal ballots until after the introduction of individual electoral registration.

The Electoral Commission recommended in January 2014 that voters at polling stations in Great Britain should be required to show some form of identification; it has proposed that any scheme for voter identification should be in place not later than the scheduled 2019 elections, which would be after the introduction of individual electoral registration.

The Commission intends to consult on proposed changes to the current Code of Conduct for Campaigners to reflect the recommendation that campaigners should not handle completed absent vote applications or postal ballot packs. The Commission aims to have agreed any changes to the Code in time for them to have effect for the May 2015 UK Parliamentary general election, and has no plans to delay these changes.

4th Sep 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, if his Department will ensure the key indicators for the effectiveness of the Electoral Commission include the actual number and proportion of UK citizens who are registered to vote.

As an independent body established by Parliament, the Electoral Commission is overseen by the Speaker’s Committee.

The Electoral Commission’s corporate plan includes measures which relate to its effectiveness and to registration and it is the duty of the Speaker’s Committee to examine and approve its corporate plan.

4th Sep 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what support his Department gives to private citizens who take legal action against electoral registration officers who do not conduct door to door canvassing of those households that do not return electoral registration forms.

The Cabinet Office provides no such support.

4th Sep 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, which local authorities have (a) promoted online registration and (b) not promoted online registration since its introduction.

Every local authority in England and Wales has sent out a letter alerting electors to the changes in the electoral registration system, promoting and encouraging the uptake of online registration

4th Sep 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, if his Department will discuss with the Electoral Commission that body changing its target performance for completeness of the electoral register between 2014-15 and 2018-19 from completeness does not deteriorate to completeness is improved.

As an independent body established by Parliament, the Electoral Commission is overseen by the Speaker’s Committee.

The Electoral Commission’s corporate plan includes measures which relate to its effectiveness and to registration and it is the duty of the Speaker’s Committee to examine and approve its corporate plan.

4th Sep 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what recent legal action his Department has taken against local authorities which have, on several occasions, not conducted door-to-door canvassing of households which do not return their electoral registration forms.

The Cabinet Office has not taken any legal action against Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) who have failed to conduct door-to-door canvassing of households in response to the non-return of electoral registration forms.

Cabinet Office officials and the Electoral Commission closely monitor EROs to ensure they successfully implement their plans for the transition to Individual Electoral Registration, including door-to-door canvassing.

4th Sep 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, how many people have registered to vote online in each week since individual electoral registration was implemented.

Data concerning the volumes of online and paper applications received are available on the following web page:

https://www.gov.uk/performance/register-to-vote

4th Sep 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, when hard copies of the Electoral Commission's report into the completeness and accuracy of the electoral registers 2014 were placed in the Vote Office.

Only the Electoral Commission’s statutory reports are placed in the Vote Office. However, all reports produced by the Commission are published on its website.


Copies of its report into the completeness and accuracy of the electoral registers 2014 are also available in the Library of the House of Commons.

4th Sep 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which Electoral Commission reports have been (a) placed and (b) not placed in the Vote Office in each of the last five years.

Only the Electoral Commission’s statutory reports are placed in the Vote Office. However, all reports produced by the Commission are published on its website.

4th Sep 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which Electoral Commission regulation campaigns were deemed (a) appropriate and (b) inappropriate to be allocated targets for registration download.

The Electoral Commission informs me that its campaigns deemed appropriate to be allocated targets for registration downloads are those for which downloading a registration form was the major aim and call-to-action (ie. what the campaign is requesting its audience to do) for the campaign.

Since 2010, those campaigns are:

· UK general and English local elections, 2010

· English, Scottish and Welsh local, London mayoral and London Assembly elections, 2012

· English and Welsh local elections, 2013

· English and Northern Irish local, English mayoral and UK European Parliamentary elections, 2014

Conversely, those campaigns deemed inappropriate to be allocated a target for registration downloads include those for which downloading a registration form is not the major call-to-action (i.e. what we are asking people to do in response to the campaign). Instead, these campaigns focus more on informing the voter or making the voter aware of the subject. These are also often additional aims of the voter registration-focussed campaigns.

Since 2010, those campaigns are:

· Welsh devolution referendum, 2011

· UK Parliamentary voting system referendum; Scottish Parliamentary, Northern Ireland Assembly, Welsh Assembly, English local and Northern Irish local elections, 2011

· England and Wales police and crime commissioner elections, 2012

· Northern Ireland canvass 2013

The Commission is basing this response on the assumption that where question 208197 refers to ‘regulation campaigns’, this is understood to be ‘registration campaigns’, as the Commission does not run public awareness campaigns for its regulatory work.

4th Sep 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness in increasing the number of people registered to vote of the full canvass that took place in Northern Ireland between 2012 and 2013; and what guidance he provides to local authorities who do not conduct door-to-door canvassing for the purposes of electoral registration.

In April, the Electoral Commission published a research report on the results of the Northern Ireland electoral registration canvass held in 2013. A copy of the report can be found here:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/166999/Report-on-the-Northern-Ireland-electoral-registration-canvass-2013.pdf

The Electoral Commission provides guidance and resources to help electoral registration officers in the running of electoral registration. This includes guidance on door-to-door canvassing.

4th Sep 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what assessment his Department has made of the trends in the number of unregistered voters between 2010 and 2014; and what targets his Department has to ensure that (a) completeness does not deteriorate and (b) completeness is improved over the next five years.

The Electoral Commission’s study on the completeness and accuracy of the electoral registers, published in July 2014, shows that levels of electoral registration have stabilised since 2011. The report can be found here:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/169889/Completeness-and-accuracy-of-the-2014-electoral-registers-in-Great-Britain.pdf

The Government is committed to taking steps to ensure that completeness of the electoral register is as high as possible, including the introduction of on-line registration and investing £4.2m to support the costs of activities aimed at increasing voter registration.

4th Sep 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what proportion of votes was cast by postal ballot in each local authority area of the UK in the last European election.

The Electoral Commission informs me that electoral data relating to the May 2014 European Parliament election will be made available on its website shortly.

4th Sep 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, with reference to the key success measures on page 14 of the Commission's Corporate Plan 2014-19, what the main targets for successful public awareness campaigns were; what the targets were for each of these campaigns; and whether subsequent targets are adjusted in the light of the results of each campaign.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has information available about the targets set for its public awareness campaigns since 2010.

The nature of these targets can vary between campaigns depending on the focus, be it awareness-raising, voter information or voter registration.

The Commission sets stretching targets for each campaign based primarily on the performance of the nearest comparable campaign. It also takes into account a number of other factors in addition to this. These include campaign messaging and call-to-action; audience; and pre-existing public interest in the event(s) taking place.

The table below outlines the main targets set for each full campaign run by the Electoral Commission since the 2010 UK General Election, and the actual result.

The only campaigns not included in the table below are the Welsh devolution referendum, March 2011 and UK Parliamentary voting system referendum, May 2011; Scottish Parliamentary, Northern Ireland Assembly, Welsh Assembly, English local and Northern Irish local elections, 2011 campaigns.

This is because the Electoral Commission did not have comparable campaigns against which to benchmark targets.

Campaign

Area

Target

Actual Result

UK general and English local elections, 2010

Registration form downloads (total, pre-registration-deadline and post-registration-deadline)

142,000

540,000

Calls received by the call centre

12,000

53,000

Forms sent out by the call centre

10,000

10,000

English, Scottish and Welsh local, London mayoral and London Assembly elections, 2012

(GB-wide targets)

Registration form downloads

75,000 (15,000 of which are from Scotland)

146,774

% of the population report having seen at least one element of the campaign

50-60%

66%

English, Scottish and Welsh local, London mayoral and London Assembly elections, 2012

(Scotland only targets)

% of people recognising the door drop booklet

20%-30%

38%-43%

% of the population know the elections on 3 May are for local council elections

20% to 30%

63%

% of those that claim to have read the booklet who know that you vote using numbers

50% to 60%

95%

% of the population report having seen at least one element of the Scotland-specific campaign

50% to 60%

62%-68%

England and Wales police and crime commissioner elections, 2012

% of the population report having seen at least one element of the campaign

50%-60%

50%

% of the population recognising the door drop booklet (mid-wave)

25%-35%

32%

% of the population knowing that the elections on 15 November are for PCCs (mid-wave)

40%-50%

46%

% of those who claim to have read the booklet know that you vote using first or second choice (mid-wave)

50%-60%

58%

English and Welsh local elections, 2013

Registration forms downloaded from the website

75,000

87,000

% of the population report having seen at least one element of the registration campaign

50%-60%

62%

Northern Ireland canvass, 2013

% of people report having seen or heard at least one element of the campaign.

50-60%

74%

% of people know the return deadline is 27 September

20-30%

38%

% of people claimed they returned their form as a result of seeing the advertising.

25-35%

30%

% of canvass forms are returned by the 27 September deadline

50-60%

70%

% of canvass forms are returned by the 28 October deadline

70-80%

79%

English and Northern Irish local, English mayoral and UK European Parliamentary elections, 2014

(GB-wide targets)

% of the population report having seen at least one element of the registration campaign

60%-70%

69%

Registration forms downloaded from aboutmyvote.co.uk

140,000

207,815

English and Northern Irish local, English mayoral and UK European Parliamentary elections, 2014

(Northern Ireland-only targets)

% of population report having seen at least one element of the registration campaign

60-70%

78% (voter registration campaign)

69% (voter information campaign)

Registration forms downloaded from aboutmyvote.co.uk.

10,000

6,059

% of the population aware of the requirement to take a valid form of photographic ID to vote.

95%-98%

95%

English and Northern Irish local, English mayoral and UK European Parliamentary elections, 2014

(Overseas voter-only targets)

Registration form downloads from aboutmyvote.co.uk

25,000

7,079

4th Sep 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, under what criteria the targets set for the electoral registration campaigns that were conducted by the Electoral Commission were deemed appropriate for targets for registration downloads.

The Electoral Commission informs me that its campaigns deemed appropriate to be allocated targets for registration downloads are those for which downloading a registration form was the major aim and call-to-action (ie. what the campaign is requesting its audience to do) for the campaign.

Since 2010, those campaigns are:

· UK general and English local elections, 2010

· English, Scottish and Welsh local, London mayoral and London Assembly elections, 2012

· English and Welsh local elections, 2013

· English and Northern Irish local, English mayoral and UK European Parliamentary elections, 2014

Conversely, those campaigns deemed inappropriate to be allocated a target for registration downloads include those for which downloading a registration form is not the major call-to-action (i.e. what we are asking people to do in response to the campaign). Instead, these campaigns focus more on informing the voter or making the voter aware of the subject. These are also often additional aims of the voter registration-focussed campaigns.

Since 2010, those campaigns are:

· Welsh devolution referendum, 2011

· UK Parliamentary voting system referendum; Scottish Parliamentary, Northern Ireland Assembly, Welsh Assembly, English local and Northern Irish local elections, 2011

· England and Wales police and crime commissioner elections, 2012

· Northern Ireland canvass 2013

The Commission is basing this response on the assumption that where question 208197 refers to ‘regulation campaigns’, this is understood to be ‘registration campaigns’, as the Commission does not run public awareness campaigns for its regulatory work.

21st Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what estimate the Electoral Commission has made of the cost including postage to (a) the voter and (b) the Electoral Commission, of producing and processing an identity card for the purpose of voting.

The Commission is currently undertaking work to estimate the cost of implementing and administering a proportionate and accessible scheme for verifying the identity of electors at polling stations. The Commission’s work will include estimating of the potential costs of implementing an electoral identity card scheme, which would be available free of charge to electors in Great Britain who were not in possession of any other form of valid identification.

21st Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what recent estimate the Electoral Commission has made of the cost of Bite the Ballot.

The Commission has made no estimate of the cost of Bite the Ballot.

14th Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what proportion of the public were (a) satisfied and (b) dissatisfied with the process of voting in Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the most recent year for which data is available.

The Electoral Commission informs me that its 2013 winter tracker survey provides the most recent public opinion data on satisfaction with the process of voting in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This research found that nearly three in four (72%) were very or fairly satisfied with the process of voting. Seven per cent were very or fairly dissatisfied. The remainder said that they were ‘Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied’ (18%) or ‘Didn’t know’ (2%).

The full topline findings are available on the Commission’s website at:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/our-work/our-research/public-opinion-surveys

The Commission’s May 2014 post-election public opinion survey, which contains a question on satisfaction with the procedure for voting, will also be published on the same section of the website shortly.

10th Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 9 July 2014, Official Report, column 299W, on electoral register, how many periodic reports on the accuracy and completeness of the electoral registers there have been since 2001.

All of the Commission’s reports on the accuracy and completeness of the electoral registers are on its website here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/our-work/our-research/electoral-registration-research

10th Jul 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 9 July 2014, Official Report, columns 298-9W, to the hon. Member for South West Devon representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, on electoral register, which of the local authorities which failed Performance Standard Three in more than one year (a) were and (b) were not granted additional central government funding to increase registration.

All Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) have received funding, based on their levels of under-registration, to help with the costs of local activities to maximise registration as part of the transition to Individual Electoral Registration.

10th Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 9 June 2014, Official Report, column 301W, on the electoral register, if he will list the electoral registration officers who responded to the Electoral Commission survey on the importance of data matching and who considered that local data matching was (a) important and (b) unimportant during the live run confirmation.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has placed the answer to the hon. Member’s question in the library.

9th Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which wards, by town, county and parliamentary constituency had a postal vote turnout greater than 80 per cent at the last local elections for which figures are available.

As it has previously confirmed to the hon. Member, the Electoral Commission does not hold ward data by town and parliamentary constituency.

The most recent postal vote turnout data it holds by ward / division is for the May 2013 county council elections in England and Anglesey, Wales. The table below shows the wards / divisions where the postal voter turnout was greater than 80 per cent.

County

Local authority

Electoral ward / division

Postal voter turnout (% postal ballots returned)

Lincolnshire

North Kesteven

Hykeham Forum

82

Leicestershire

Melton

Melton North

82

Cumbria

South Lakeland

Kendal Highgate

81

Norfolk

North Norfolk

Holt

81

Buckinghamshire

Wycombe

Booker Cressex & Castlefield

81

Nottinghamshire

Broxtowe

Nuthall

81

9th Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what the 100 local authority wards with the lowest turnout for voting at polling stations are; and what the proportion of the total turnout for postal voting in these wards is.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has placed the answer to the hon. Member’s question in the library.

3rd Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Electoral Commission will produce a list of significant cases of electoral fraud resulting in custodial sentences since 1998; and what political party was involved in each case.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the requested data for the period 1998-2012 is contained in Appendix 3 of its evidence and issues paper on electoral fraud published in May 2013. This may be found on the Commission's website here:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/electoral-fraud/electoral-fraud-vulnerabilities-review#

In addition, since the publication of its paper in May 2013 a case of personation, misconduct in public office and intention to pervert the course of justice at the Derby Council elections in 2012 resulted in one defendant being jailed for 14 months and three other defendants each being given suspended jail sentences of 8 months. The Commission understands that none of those convicted in this case were shown to be linked to a political party.

3rd Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many successful prosecutions for (a) postal, not proxy, vote fraud and (b) electoral registration fraud there have been in each of the last 15 years.

The Electoral Commission informs me that data for offences under the various Representation of the People Acts which specifically refer to offences relating to electoral registration fraud, or postal vote fraud cannot be separately identified on the Ministry of Justice Court Proceedings Database as they form part of a miscellaneous group which cannot be separately analysed. However, since 2008, the Electoral Commission has collated and published data reported by UK police forces on cases of alleged electoral fraud annually on its website here:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/electoral-fraud/electoral-fraud-responsibilities

2nd Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 1 July 2014, Official Report, column 613W, on electoral register: young people, what the EC's policy is on publishing data which it holds but has not commissioned.

The Commission informs me that it does not have policy on publishing data which it holds but has not commissioned.

The data referred to in the original question is publicly available on the Office for National Statistics' website and can be accessed by every member of the public.

2nd Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 1 July 2014, Official Report, column 613W, on electoral register, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the accuracy of two separate pilot schemes which data mined Student Loans Company data.

The Commission has published an evaluation report on each of the two data-matching pilots conducted using data from the Student Loans Company.

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/our-work/our-research/electoral-registration-research

In 2012, the Commission found that there were very few registrations from data matching with the Student Loans Company (SLC) database. This, and responses to the follow-up activity, support the view expressed by the SLC that the data used for these pilots (at the end of the academic year) was sometimes out of date.

In 2013, the Commission concluded that there were some issues with the addresses on this data being incomplete. Only one pilot area reported usable results for this database and this pilot area reported a low number of new registrations.

2nd Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what recent assessment the Committee has made of the adequacy of the budget of the Electoral Commission for (a) advertising and (b) the functioning of the Commission.

Under paragraph 14 of Schedule 1 to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 the Committee is required to review the Electoral Commission's estimates of resources and five-year corporate plan before they are laid before the House. In the course of the Committee's scrutiny it is required to have regard to advice provided to it by HM Treasury and reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General as well as taking oral evidence from the Commission. The Report from the C&AGhas been published on the SCEC website: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/procedure/NAO%20Electoral%20Commission%20Annual%20VFM%20Report%202013-14.pdf.

A Sub-Committee of SCEC was informally briefed on the Electoral Commission's finances and plans by Peter Wardle, Chief Executive and Carolyn Hughes, Director of Finance and Corporate Services on 4 February and the full Committee took oral evidence on the Estimate in public from Jenny Watson, Chair of the Committee, and Carolyn Hughes on 2 April. A transcript of the evidence is available online at the Committee's website:

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/speakers-electoral-commission/140402_SCEC_estimate.pdf!docid=2047751!.pdf

On 1 May 2014 the Committee made a written statement confirming that it had agreed the Commission's Estimate for 2014-15 without modification.

2nd Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what role the Electoral Commission has in promoting political engagement; and what assessment the Commission has made of the contribution of ward level data or voter turnout at general elections to monitoring political engagement.

Until 2007 the Commission delivered both its own programmes to increase voter turnout and engagement and funded a range of voluntary and other providers to deliver such work, with a particular focus on encouraging under-engaged groups to vote.

Since 2007 the Commission's work has focussed on increasing voter registration, providing information to help people vote and improving the regulation necessary to foster public confidence in political parties and their funding. Partly for this reason the Commission has not considered the contribution of ward level data to monitoring political engagement at General Elections.

The shift in focus in 2007 was in line with the conclusions of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL)'s report into the Electoral Commission that year, which said that pursuing the aims of increasing voter turnout and democratic participation was not the most effective use of its limited resources. The Speaker's Committee supported this change, and both the Government and Opposition at the time agreed with this shift. The Commission welcomes opportunities, such as those provided by the current review of the Political and Constitutional Reform (PCRC) Committee into voter engagement in the UK, to ensure that it continues to reflect Parliament's view about its most appropriate role and focus for the future.

2nd Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many electors have registered online since the introduction of online registration; and what steps the Electoral Commission is taking to encourage online registration.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the numbers of people who have registered online falls within the remit of the Cabinet Office, which is leading on online registration.

The Electoral Commission is taking a range of steps to encourage online registration, including providing template letters for Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) to send to residents highlighting the fact that people can register online and directing them to the registration site (gov.uk/register-to-vote). The Commission has also made a range of publicity resources available for EROs to use in their local public engagement activity which direct people to the gov.uk site. These will work in conjunction with the Commission's mass media public awareness campaign to coincide with the ‘write out' EROs are doing in their areas and which takes place in England and Wales in July / August and in October in Scotland. The Commission is also working with partners and stakeholders, including political parties, businesses, voluntary organisations and the media, to ensure the message about online registration and the gov.uk/register-to-vote address is spread as widely as possible.

2nd Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how much the Electoral Commission has spent on public awareness campaigns on the change from household to individual electoral registration; and what assessment the Commission has made of the effectiveness of those campaigns.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the budget for the first phase of its individual electoral registration (IER) public awareness campaign – which is timed to coincide with the ‘write out' from Electoral Registration Officers to everyone in their area - is approximately £3million.

The campaign is running in England and Wales from 3 July to 10 August and a separate campaign will run in Scotland when IER is introduced there in the autumn. The Commission will use a range of measures to assess the effectiveness of the campaigns, including undertaking campaign tracking research studies at the start and conclusion of each campaign.

2nd Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of public awareness of the change from household to individual electoral registration.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the budget for the first phase of its individual electoral registration (IER) public awareness campaign – which is timed to coincide with the ‘write out' from Electoral Registration Officers to everyone in their area - is approximately £3million.

The campaign is running in England and Wales from 3 July to 10 August and a separate campaign will run in Scotland when IER is introduced there in the autumn. The Commission will use a range of measures to assess the effectiveness of the campaigns, including undertaking campaign tracking research studies at the start and conclusion of each campaign.

2nd Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, for what reason the Electoral Commission first decided to undertake research into the completeness of the electoral register; and why further work on this issue has now been commissioned.

The Commission's first research on the completeness and accuracy of the registers was published in 2005, using 2001 census data. The research was undertaken to gain estimates of the quality of the electoral registers and to continue a series of published reports following each census, which had previously been funded/overseen by the Office for Public Censuses and Surveys and the Home Office.

The 2005 report, and subsequent research, have informed the advice, guidance and resources the Commission produces to help get people registered, as well as the public awareness campaigns the Commission runs itself.

All of its current planned research is focused on monitoring the transition to Individual Electoral Registration.

2nd Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the effect of the removal of electors who failed to register under individual electoral registration before 1 December 2015 on the next boundary review.

The Electoral Commission will report on the number of individuals on the registers before the next UK Parliamentary general election that will be removed if the transition to Individual Electoral Registration will end in December 2015.

As usual, the Commission will ensure the information is publicly available and it will be for the Boundary Commissions and those responsible for boundaries to assess their impact.

1st Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Electoral Commission will publish electoral registration rates for each region and constituent part of the UK for each of the last 30 years; what the long term and predicted future trends in levels of registration are; and if he will make a statement.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it holds regional and country-level data on completeness from the studies on electoral registration which have been carried out using census data. This is presented in the table below. Note that these estimates are not corrected for non-response to the census and as a result are higher than the commonly quoted headline completeness estimates.

Country/Region

1981

1991

2001

England

93.5

92.7

93.1

Scotland

94.7

93.4

-

Wales

90.8

95.2

94

North East

92.6

-

93

North West

94.2

-

92

Yorkshire and Humber

94.4

-

93

East Midlands

95

-

95

West Midlands

93

-

96

East of England

95

-

95

London

90

-

87

South East

95.2

-

94

South West

92.4

-

94

The Commission's 2011 report summarises its conclusions on the recent trends in levels of registration and likely causal factors. The report can be found on their website here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/145366/Great-Britains-electoral-registers-2011.pdf

A further report on the completeness and accuracy of the registers will be published in July and will update the picture to 2014.

1st Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which wards, in which town, county and parliamentary constituency had a postal vote turnout greater than 90 per cent at the last set of local elections for which figures are available.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the most recent turnout data it holds by ward / division is for the May 2013 county council elections in England and Anglesey, Wales. Postal voter turnout was not greater than 90 per cent in any electoral ward / division at these elections.

1st Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which 100 wards had the lowest turnout for voting (a) in person and (b) by postal vote in the last set of local elections for which figures are available; and which town, county and parliamentary constituency each such ward was located.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has placed the answer to the hon. Member's question in the library.

1st Jul 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 26 June 2014, Official Report, columns 267-8W, on general election 2010, if the Electoral Commission will make it its policy to hold information on ward level turnout for general as well as local elections.

The Electoral Commission informs me that legislation specifies what data Returning Officers (ROs) must currently record and report to the Commission, and the list of required data does not include ward level electoral data for UK Parliamentary General Elections. The Commission's current view is that the likely benefits of it collecting this data are insufficient to justify the additional burden it would impose on ROs and their staff. The Commission will continue to collect electoral data at constituency level for UK Parliamentary General elections.

26th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what the target was for each voter registration drive of the last five years of the number of electors they hoped to register; how much was allocated for each campaign; and how much the Electoral Commission planned to spend on each registration drive.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the information requested for the years 2010 to 2013 was provided to the honourable member in response to his PQs 189416 (6 Mar 2014 : Column 892W) and 185198 (3 Feb 2014 : Column 61W).

In addition, for 2014, the Commission ran a registration campaign for the local and European Parliamentary Elections which were held on 22 May. The campaign budget was £2,800,000 and there was a target of 150,000 registration form downloads. 207,000 downloads were achieved during the campaign.

26th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what the postal vote matching rates were during the data matching dry run in each (a) local authority area and (b) constituency in the UK.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the data for local authorities is available on its website here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/excel_doc/0020/163145/Confirmation-dry-run-2013-Results-Local-Authority.xls

The Commission does not hold the data in a way that is broken down by constituency.

26th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Electoral Commission will conduct research into the use of data matching of local and national databases to better identify people who are entitled to register to vote but who are not registered.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the Cabinet Office has previously conducted several pilots on this topic and the Commission has evaluated them. The full evaluation reports are available on the Commission's website here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/our-work/our-research/electoral-registration-research

The Cabinet Office plans a further pilot for early 2015 and the Commission intends to evaluate this as well.

26th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what number and percentage of electors were added to the electoral register as a result of the implementation of standard three door to door canvassing in each constituent part and region of the UK in each of the last 10 years.

The Electoral Commission informs me that they do not hold the data requested. The data collected annually from EROs is household-level data rather than elector level data, reflecting the household nature of the annual canvass.

The data collected includes the number of household canvass returns made via different response methods - including personal canvasser, and this is available for each year from 2008 on their website.

26th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Electoral Commission will make it their policy to gather information on registration levels on an annual basis.

The Electoral Commission informs me that they collect from every ERO, and publish, annual electoral registration statistics covering a range of topics including the number of electors on the registers, response rates to the annual canvass, numbers of additions and deletions on the registers and levels of carry forward.

This data collection will be more frequent during the transition to individual electoral registration (IER).

The Commission further informs me that they report periodically on the overall levels of accuracy and completeness of the electoral registers. Such studies are costly to conduct and it is not therefore feasible to conduct them annually. There are two such studies planned as part of the Commission's approach to monitoring the implementation of IER.

26th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what estimate the Electoral Commission makes of how many registered electors move house and (a) re-register and (b) fail to re-register to vote each year.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it intends to provide information on this in its report which uses census data to assess the completeness and accuracy of the registers. This is due to be published in July.

26th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many times an electoral registration officer (ERO) has to fail Standard Three before the Electoral Commission will refer the ERO to the Minister of State for the Cabinet Office for the purpose of improving the performance of the ERO.

The Commission informs me that it has reported on ERO performance against Standard 3 for each year since 2008.

To support EROs in preparing for and delivering the transition to individual electoral registration (IER) the Commission has developed a new performance standards framework, which it will use to monitor the performance of EROs against throughout the transition to individual electoral registration. The Commission will continue to carefully monitor and work closely with EROs and will consider a range of options to ensure EROs are carrying out their duties in full.

Discussions between the Electoral Commission and the Cabinet Office take place regularly on a range of subjects.

The Commission made clear in its June report that it would use its statutory powers to make a recommendation to the Secretary of State to require specific EROs to do door-to-door canvassing if this didn't happen during the introduction of IER, which began on 10 June in England and Wales.

No specific date for conclusion has been set as it will depend on the circumstances in each area, but the Commission will continue to keep this under active review. Should the Commission make a recommendation for such a direction, it will write to the relevant honourable members and local council leaders. We will also write to the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee and ask for this correspondence to be placed in the House Library.

26th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, on what date the discussions between the Electoral Commission and the Cabinet Office on sanctions against electoral registration officers (EROs) who refuse to conduct door-to-door canvassing as per Standard Three began; when those discussions will conclude; whether the conclusions of those discussions will be made available to (a) hon. Members with EROs who failed Standard Three, (b) the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee and (c) councillors within failed local authorities; and if he will place in the Library the conclusions of those discussions.

The Commission informs me that it has reported on ERO performance against Standard 3 for each year since 2008.

To support EROs in preparing for and delivering the transition to individual electoral registration (IER) the Commission has developed a new performance standards framework, which it will use to monitor the performance of EROs against throughout the transition to individual electoral registration. The Commission will continue to carefully monitor and work closely with EROs and will consider a range of options to ensure EROs are carrying out their duties in full.

Discussions between the Electoral Commission and the Cabinet Office take place regularly on a range of subjects.

The Commission made clear in its June report that it would use its statutory powers to make a recommendation to the Secretary of State to require specific EROs to do door-to-door canvassing if this didn't happen during the introduction of IER, which began on 10 June in England and Wales.

No specific date for conclusion has been set as it will depend on the circumstances in each area, but the Commission will continue to keep this under active review. Should the Commission make a recommendation for such a direction, it will write to the relevant honourable members and local council leaders. We will also write to the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee and ask for this correspondence to be placed in the House Library.

26th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Electoral Commission will publish the names of the 10 local authorities with the (a) smallest and (b) biggest percentage increase in registration after the implementation of the Standard Three door-to-door canvassing for 2013 canvass; and which parliamentary constituencies each such local authority covers.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the table below shows the ten local authorities with the biggest increases and decreases in electorate between the start and end of the 2013 canvass.

Local authority

Change (November 2013 – Feb/March 2014

Edinburgh, City of

20,241

Cheshire West and Chester

14,676

Tower Hamlets

10,566

Newcastle upon Tyne

9,550

Taunton Deane

9,023

North Lanarkshire

9,001

South Lanarkshire

8,926

Glasgow City

8,710

Huntingdonshire

8,023

Mole Valley

7,866

Northampton

-10,309

Barnet

-12,743

Newham

-16,617

Maidstone

-10,121

Cornwall

-13,195

East Devon

-6,424

Birmingham

-20,572

Shropshire

-14,350

Leeds

-24,119

Renfrewshire

-7693

These local authorities cover the following parliamentary constituencies:

Local authority

Constituencies covered

Edinburgh, City of

Edinburgh East

Edinburgh North and Leith

Edinburgh South

Edinburgh South West

Edinburgh West

Cheshire West and Chester

City of Chester

Eddisbury

Ellesmere Port and Neston

Tatton

Weaver Vale

Tower Hamlets

Bethnal Green and Bow

Poplar and Limehouse

Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle upon Tyne Central

Newcastle upon Tyne East

Newcastle upon Tyne North

Taunton Deane

Taunton Deane

North Lanarkshire

Airdrie and Shotts

Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill

Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East

Motherwell and Wishaw

South Lanarkshire

Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale

East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow

Lanark and Hamilton East

Rutherglen and Hamilton West

Glasgow City

East Dunbartonshire

Glasgow Central

Glasgow East

Glasgow North

Glasgow North East

Glasgow North West

Glasgow South

Glasgow South West

Huntingdonshire

Huntingdon

North West Cambridgeshire

Mole Valley

Epsom and Ewell

Mole Valley

Northampton

Northampton North

Northampton South

South Northamptonshire

Barnet

Chipping Barnet

Finchley and Golders Green

Hendon

Newham

East Ham

West Ham

Maidstone

Faversham and Mid Kent

Maidstone and The Weald

Cornwall

Camborne and Redruth

North Cornwall

South East Cornwall

St Austell and Newquay

St Ives

Truro and Falmouth

East Devon

Central Devon

East Devon

Tiverton and Honiton

Birmingham

Birmingham, Edgbaston

Birmingham, Erdington

Birmingham, Hall Green

Birmingham, Hodge Hill

Birmingham, Ladywood

Birmingham, Northfield

Birmingham, Perry Barr

Birmingham, Selly Oak

Birmingham, Yardley

Sutton Coldfield

Shropshire

Ludlow

North Shropshire

Shrewsbury and Atcham

The Wrekin

Leeds

Elmet and Rothwell

Leeds Central

Leeds East

Leeds North East

Leeds North West

Leeds West

Morley and Outwood

Pudsey

Renfrewshire

Paisley and Renfrewshire North

Paisley and Renfrewshire South

26th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, on which dates the Electoral Commission will report to (a) Parliament and (b) individual hon. Members on the progress on the implementation of individual electoral registration.

The Commission informs me that it will report to both Parliament and individual Members at appropriate points, and in line with its statutory duties throughout the implementation of Individual Electoral Registration.

The Commission intends to publish updates on progress at three key points in the transition, as laid out in its March report. This is available on the Commission's website here:

www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/166511/Readiness-for-the-transition-to-IER-Progress-Report-March-2014.pdf

26th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Electoral Commission will publish the 10 local authorities with the biggest (a) increase and (b) decrease in the net number of electors following the 2013 annual canvass.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the table below shows the ten local authorities with the biggest increases and decreases in electorate between the start and end of the 2013 canvass.

Local authority

Change (November 2013 – Feb/March 2014

Edinburgh, City of

20,241

Cheshire West and Chester

14,676

Tower Hamlets

10,566

Newcastle upon Tyne

9,550

Taunton Deane

9,023

North Lanarkshire

9,001

South Lanarkshire

8,926

Glasgow City

8,710

Huntingdonshire

8,023

Mole Valley

7,866

Northampton

-10,309

Barnet

-12,743

Newham

-16,617

Maidstone

-10,121

Cornwall

-13,195

East Devon

-6,424

Birmingham

-20,572

Shropshire

-14,350

Leeds

-24,119

Renfrewshire

-7693

These local authorities cover the following parliamentary constituencies:

Local authority

Constituencies covered

Edinburgh, City of

Edinburgh East

Edinburgh North and Leith

Edinburgh South

Edinburgh South West

Edinburgh West

Cheshire West and Chester

City of Chester

Eddisbury

Ellesmere Port and Neston

Tatton

Weaver Vale

Tower Hamlets

Bethnal Green and Bow

Poplar and Limehouse

Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle upon Tyne Central

Newcastle upon Tyne East

Newcastle upon Tyne North

Taunton Deane

Taunton Deane

North Lanarkshire

Airdrie and Shotts

Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill

Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East

Motherwell and Wishaw

South Lanarkshire

Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale

East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow

Lanark and Hamilton East

Rutherglen and Hamilton West

Glasgow City

East Dunbartonshire

Glasgow Central

Glasgow East

Glasgow North

Glasgow North East

Glasgow North West

Glasgow South

Glasgow South West

Huntingdonshire

Huntingdon

North West Cambridgeshire

Mole Valley

Epsom and Ewell

Mole Valley

Northampton

Northampton North

Northampton South

South Northamptonshire

Barnet

Chipping Barnet

Finchley and Golders Green

Hendon

Newham

East Ham

West Ham

Maidstone

Faversham and Mid Kent

Maidstone and The Weald

Cornwall

Camborne and Redruth

North Cornwall

South East Cornwall

St Austell and Newquay

St Ives

Truro and Falmouth

East Devon

Central Devon

East Devon

Tiverton and Honiton

Birmingham

Birmingham, Edgbaston

Birmingham, Erdington

Birmingham, Hall Green

Birmingham, Hodge Hill

Birmingham, Ladywood

Birmingham, Northfield

Birmingham, Perry Barr

Birmingham, Selly Oak

Birmingham, Yardley

Sutton Coldfield

Shropshire

Ludlow

North Shropshire

Shrewsbury and Atcham

The Wrekin

Leeds

Elmet and Rothwell

Leeds Central

Leeds East

Leeds North East

Leeds North West

Leeds West

Morley and Outwood

Pudsey

Renfrewshire

Paisley and Renfrewshire North

Paisley and Renfrewshire South

26th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what estimate the Electoral Commission has made of the number of local authorities who conducted a dry run in data matching and did not repeat this to the Electoral Commission.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has not made any estimate of the number of electoral registration officers (EROs) who did not undertake local data matching trials following the dry run of confirmation in 2013. 139 EROs reported results to the Commission but there are likely to have been other EROs who carried out some activities but did not report it to the Commission.

The Commission further informs me that it did ask EROs, on a separate survey, whether local data matching would be important during the live run of confirmation and 91% said that it would.

The Commission therefore expects more EROs to conduct local data matching for the live run of confirmation than reported on results following the dry run.

The Commission, working with Cabinet Office, will be collecting data from all EROs after the live run of the confirmation process which will demonstrate levels of usage of local data in practice. This data will be published on the Commission's website.

26th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, on what specific date the Electoral Commission plans to publish its estimate of the number of people missing off the electoral register.

The Commission informs me that it will publish this report shortly.

26th Jun 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what additional central government funding is available to electoral registration officers for the purpose of electoral registration in each of the last 10 years; and which local authorities were successful in bidding for such funding.

The following additional amounts were available for the purpose of electoral registration in the last 10 years:

2007/2008 - £934,741

2008/2009 - £544,391

2009/2010 - £427,190

2010/2011 - £54,708

2011/12 – no additional funding

2012/13 – no additional funding

2013/14 - £4,857,018

2014/15 - £29,992,993

In the financial years 2007/2008 to 2010/2011, local authorities were able to bid for funding from the Participation Fund, which was abolished due to lack of demand. A table listing those local authorities which received money from this fund has been placed in the Library of the House.

The Government has provided funding in 2013/14 and 2014/15, in addition to the Revenue Support Grant, for every local authority and Valuation Joint Board in England, Wales and Scotland for the net additional cost of the transition to Individual Electoral Registration (IER).

In addition, in 2013/14 every local authority and Valuation Joint Board in England, Wales and Scotland received a share of £3,984,068funding to support the costs of activities to maximise electoral registration.

26th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many and what proportion of people were deleted from the electoral register after the second year of non-response to electoral canvass in the 10 local authorities with the (a) greatest and (b) smallest decreases; and what parliamentary constituencies are covered by such local authorities.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the requested data is presented in the table below. This data is for Great Britain and therefore excludes Northern Ireland.

Local authority

Number of deletions (from Nov 2013 register) following second year of non-response

Deletions (from Nov 2013 register) following second year of non-response (% of register)

Decrease (Dec 2012 to Feb/March 2014)

Leeds

28,190

5.0

-24177

Birmingham

0

0.0

-20243

Cornwall

16541

3.9

-13273

Newham

2491

1.2

-13183

Northampton

2,659

1.7

-11851

Shropshire

3,360

1.4

-11551

Barnet

2422

1.0

-11255

Maidstone

10498

8.7

-9257

Durham

1191

0.3

-6683

Taunton Deane

-

-

-7578

Adur

370

0.8

-109

Staffordshire Moorlands

195

0.2

-99

North West Leicestershire

20

0.0

-97

Lewes

569

0.7

-82

Cotswold

105

0.2

-80

Oadby and Wigston

45

0.1

-73

Newcastle-Under-Lyme

885

0.9

-72

Shetland Islands

17

0.1

-48

Surrey Heath

602

0.9

-36

Tunbridge Wells

0

0.0

-22

The following constituencies are covered by these areas:

East Ham

West Ham

Elmet and Rothwell

Leeds Central

Leeds East

Leeds North East

Leeds North West

Leeds West

Morley and Outwood

Pudsey

Birmingham Edgbaston

Birmingham, Erdington

Birmingham, Hall Green

Birmingham, Hodge Hill

Birmingham, Ladywood

Birmingham Northfield

Birmingham, Perry Barr

Birmingham Selly Oak

Birmingham, Yardley

Sutton Coldfield

Camborne and Redruth

North Cornwall

South East Cornwall

St Ives (includes the Isles of Scilly)

Truro and Falmouth

Northampton North

Northampton South

South Northamptonshire

Ludlow

North Shropshire

Shrewsbury and Atcham

The Wrekin

Chipping Barnet

Finchley and Golders Green

Hendon

Faversham and Mid Kent

Maidstone and The Weald

Taunton Deane

Bishop Auckland

City of Durham

Easington

North Durham

North West Durham

Sedgefield

East Worthing and Shoreham

Staffordshire Moorlands

Stone

North West Leicestershire

Brighton, Kemptown

Lewes

The Cotswolds

Harborough

Newcastle-under-Lyme

Staffordshire Moorlands

Stoke-on-Trent North

Stone

Orkney and Shetland

Surrey Heath

Maidstone and The Weald

Tunbridge Wells

26th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which 50 local authorities had the largest decrease in electoral registration between December 2012 to March 2014; and which parliamentary constituencies cover such local authorities.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the requested data is available here:

[hyperlink attached document]

26th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which local authorities have failed standard 3 door-to-door canvassing more than once and (a) have and (b) have not applied for additional central government funding for electoral registration.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) for the authorities set out in the table below have not met standard 3 in more than one year:

Brentwood

Broxbourne

Castle Point

East Devon

East Dorset

East Hampshire

East Hertfordshire

Epping Forest

Great Yarmouth

Gwynedd

Hyndburn

Lancaster

Maldon

Merthyr Tydfil

Mid Devon

Mid Sussex

North Devon

North Dorset

North Lanarkshire

North Warwickshire

Powys

Rhondda, Cynon, Taff

Sedgemoor

Solihull

South Lanarkshire

Taunton Deane

The Vale of Glamorgan

Torridge

Uttlesford

Warwick

West Devon

West Oxfordshire

West Somerset

The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not hold information on applications made for central government funding for electoral registration. The Cabinet Office is responsible for managing this process.

24th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, with reference to the Answer of 30 April 2014, Official Report, column 711W, on electoral register, if the Electoral Commission will make it its policy to collect data on the number and percentage of attainers registered to vote.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) collect the number of attainers on the registers published following each annual canvass.

The ONS also publishes population estimates by single year of age which make it possible to calculate rough percentages of attainers registered. However, these proportions are approximations as the number for attainers on the register is likely to include some duplicate entries and the population estimates will include people who are ineligible to register to vote.

The Electoral Commission has access to this data and therefore informs me that it currently has no plans to collect information itself on the number and percentage of attainers registered to vote each year. The Commission does, however, periodically produce research on the completeness and accuracy of electoral registers, which includes information on attainers. The next of these reports is expected to be published in July.

24th Jun 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 28 January 2014, Official Report, column 510W, on electoral register: young people, how much funding his Department has made available to (a) Rock Enroll and (b) Bite the Ballot in each year for which data is available; and how many people each such organisation has directly registered in each year for which data is available.

The Government is supportive of organisations that promote democratic engagement such as Bite the Ballot.

Cabinet Office and Bite the Ballot co-developed the Rock Enrol learning resource in 2012/2013. The value of the contract was £25,700. The Government has made Rock Enrol freely available freely available on the gov.uk and Times Education Supplement websites.

24th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, with reference to the Answer of 2 April 2014, Official Report, column 681W, on electoral register, how many students were registered to vote as a result of the cross-referencing of data from the Student Loans Company in the data matching pilots.

The Commission informs me that in total, across the two separate pilot schemes which the Commission evaluated, 37 new electors were added to the registers, as a result of Student Loans Company data, in the particular areas undertaking the data mining pilots.

24th Jun 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 1 April 2014, Official Report, columns 555-6W, on electoral register, Northern Ireland, what actions resulted from his discussions with the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office concerning the schools programme for electoral registration.

The Government has made the Rock Enrol learning resource freely available on the Gov.UK and Times Education Supplement website amongst others.

Additionally, the recent introduction of online registration in England and Wales will make it more convenient for young people to register to vote.

19th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, pursuant to the Answer of 11 June 2014, Official Report, column 167W, on wind power: electrical substations, what constitutes a nationally significant infrastructure proposal (a) generally and (b) in relation to onshore wind farms.

The Planning Act 2008 defines what can be included in an application for development consent for a nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP). Electricity substations are not categorised as NSIPs in their own right but, under the Act, can be included in an application for development consent for such a project if they can be considered as associated development in England.

In addition, substations may be included in applications for generating stations (including onshore wind farms) under the Act if they are integral to the main development.

19th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, with reference to the Answer of 12 May 2014, Official Report, columns 375-7W, on electoral register, what causes have been identified for the relatively low electoral registration rates in Northern Ireland.

The Commission published a report in November 2012 on the electoral register in Northern Ireland. This found there had been a substantial drop in levels of registration since the previous assessment in 2007. This report can be found here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/152626/Continuous-electoral-registration-in-Northern-Ireland.pdf

The report suggested that the low level of completeness was mainly the result of the failure of the processes that had been employed to manage the register in Northern Ireland, under continuous registration, to keep pace with either population change or home movement. In particular, it identified the absence of a full household canvass as contributing to the drop in completeness.

Following the publication of findings for the April 2012 register, a household canvass was conducted in Northern Ireland in autumn 2013. After the canvass, the Commission reviewed the results and concluded that it had been well run and significantly improved the completeness of the register. The Commission's report can be found here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/166999/Report-on-the-Northern-Ireland-electoral-registration-canvass-2013.pdf

18th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many of the six million people identified as missing on the electoral register by the Electoral Commission in 2011 have been registered to vote in each year since 2011.

The Electoral Commission informs me that its last GB wide study into the completeness of electoral registers was completed in 2011. This type of research does not specifically identify unregistered individuals but provides an assessment of the overall accuracy and completeness of the registers. The Commission's next study is being published in July and this will update the picture on levels of completeness in 2014.

18th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what recent assessment the Electoral Commission has made of (a) its successes and (b) failures over the last five years.

The Commission continuously assesses its work and publishes an annual assessment of progress within its annual report and accounts. The Commission's annual reports and accounts, together with its corporate plans are laid before Parliament each year by Mr Speaker and are available on its website here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/our-work/publications/corporate-publications

18th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what the electoral registration rates were in Northern Ireland in each of the last 15 years.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not hold data on the electoral registration rate for each of the last 15 years.

However, the Commission has periodically carried out specific research on levels of registration in Northern Ireland. This found that the local government register for Northern Ireland was 83.4% complete in December 2007 and 73% complete in April 2012.

Following the publication of findings for the April 2012 register, a household canvass was conducted in Northern Ireland in autumn 2013. After the canvass, the Commission reviewed the results and concluded that it had been well run and significantly improved the completeness of the register. The Commission's report can be found here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/166999/Report-on-the-Northern-Ireland-electoral-registration-canvass-2013.pdf

18th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what assessment he has made of the effect of the use of zero hour contracts on workers' wellbeing.

No assessment of the effects of zero hours contracts on worker's wellbeing has been made by this Department. However the Workplace Employers Relations Study (WERS) found that overall well-being of employees increased between 2004 and 2011 despite the recession. Overall job satisfaction also increased and is very high by international standards.

Zero hour contracts have a place in today's labour market, supporting business flexibility, making it easier to hire new staff and providing pathways to employment for young people.

Following a public consultation, which closed in March this year, this Government has introduced legislation via the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill to ban the use of exclusivity clauses in contracts which do not guarantee any hours.

18th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what recent assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the potential benefits of the inclusion of the actual number and proportion of UK citizens registered to vote as a measure of the Electoral Commission's effectiveness.

The inclusion of the actual number and proportion of UK citizens registered to vote is not currently included as a key success measure of the Electoral Commission's effectiveness. The Commission's key success measures are reviewed each year and included in its Corporate Plan which is updated and presented to the Speaker's Committee for approval on an annual basis.

The Commission works with Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) and other stakeholders to increase the number and proportion of UK citizens registered to vote and therefore the change in registrations cannot be attributed solely to the Commission. Changes in registration rates are also likely to be the result of some factors which do not relate directly to registration practices, including levels of political engagement and changes in population mobility.

However, the Commission sets targets for the number of registration forms downloaded from its AboutMyVote website. This measure provides a proxy for the number of registrations attributable to each Commission campaign. The targets for the number of registration forms downloaded vary for each poll taking account of, for example, the size of the electorate.

It is currently not possible to directly map the number of forms downloaded from the Commission's site to actual registrations as the registers are managed by 363 Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) across Great Britain and EROs do not measure the number of registration forms downloaded from aboutmyvote.co.uk for the specific period of Commission campaigns. Following the introduction of Individual Electoral Registration, the Commission will examine the opportunities presented by online registration to review its registration measurements.

18th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Electoral Commission will revise its Key Success Measures, Target Performance for completeness of register from 'completeness does not deteriorate' to a policy of 'increasing completion rates year on year'.

The Commission's key success measures are included in its Corporate Plan which is updated and presented to the Speaker's Committee for approval on an annual basis. The next opportunity to update the Corporate Plan will be when the 2015-16 to 2019-20 plan is presented to the Speaker's Committee in spring 2015 and the Commission will be reviewing the key success measures in preparation for this plan in autumn 2014.

18th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many and what proportion of questions answered by the Electoral Commission involving four pages of data or less were (a) placed in the Library without a web link, (b) placed in the Library with a web link and (c) given in full in Hansard in each of the last five years.

The Commission informs me that it does not collect this information in the requested format.

18th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which 100 wards in which town, county and constituency in Northern Ireland had (a) the highest electoral registration rate and (b) the lowest registration rate in the latest period for which information is available.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not hold information about ward electorates for Northern Ireland. This information is held by the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland.

18th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which 100 wards in which town, county and constituency had the lowest turnout for voting in person at the last General Election.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not hold the data requested at ward level.

The Commission collects electoral data at each set of polls. In nearly all cases this is collected down to the level of individual contests, which means that it only holds ward level data for local elections.

18th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which wards, in which town, county and constituency had a postal vote turnout greater than 90 per cent at the last General Election.

The Electoral Commission does not hold the data requested at ward level.

The Commission collects electoral data at each set of polls. In nearly all cases this is collected down to the level of individual contests, which means that it only holds ward level data for local elections.

18th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what steps the Electoral Commission is taking to increase the number of British overseas electors registered to vote.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it runs public awareness campaigns to encourage British expatriates to register to vote; the most recent took place ahead of the European elections this year.

Two briefing notes, which included details of the campaign, were circulated to hon. Members in advance of the elections. These notes are available on the Commission's website here:

· www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/164449/Elections-May-2014-briefing.pdf

· www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/165893/The-elections-on-22-May-2014-Briefing-note-2.pdf

The Commission intends to run a similar campaign ahead of the 2015 General Election. It is currently evaluating the performance of its 2014 campaign to identify improvements that could be made for the General Election campaign. The Commission will ensure that a copy of the evaluation is sent to the hon. Member when it has been completed.

12th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, in which 100 wards in which constituency in the UK turnout for voting at the polling station was lowest at the 2010 general election.

The Electoral Commission does not hold the data requested at ward level. The Commission collects electoral data at each set of polls down to the level of individual contests, which means that it only holds ward level data for local elections.

12th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, in which local authority wards in which constituency postal ballot turnout was greater than 90 per cent at the 2010 general election.

The Electoral Commission does not hold the data requested at ward level. The Commission collects electoral data at each set of polls down to the level of individual contests, which means that it only holds ward level data for local elections.

11th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what the postal vote turnout was as a proportion of all votes cast in each UK parliamentary constituency at the 2010 General Election.

The Electoral Commission has placed the answer to the hon. member's question in the library.

5th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what guidance the Electoral Commission follows in determining whether statistics in answers to parliamentary questions are (a) provided in full, (b) provided via a link to a website and (c) placed in the Library.

Wherever possible, when responding to parliamentary questions for statistical data, the Electoral Commission aims to provide information that has not been previously published in full and in line with the Official Report's rules on the presentation of answers.

Where information has previously been published, such as in response to a previous parliamentary question or within one of the Commission's reports, it takes a view on whether it republishes the information or provides a link to where it is already published, on a case by case basis taking into account whether, for example, it would be helpful for it to be seen in its full context. Consideration of whether information is deposited in the Library includes whether the answer is longer than four pages and does not already exist in a consolidated format on a website.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the use in Northern Ireland of prize draws to increase voter registration.

No direct assessment has been made by the Cabinet Office of the use of prize draws to improve electoral registration in Northern Ireland.

However, we have learnt from the experience of Northern Ireland and used it to inform the development of Individual Electoral Registration (IER) in Great Britain. Unlike the transition to IER in Northern Ireland in 2002, in Great Britain data matching is being used to confirm the majority of current electors on the existing register without them having to make a new application. The Government has also provided £4.2 million funding which has been shared between five national organisations and all 363 local authorities in order to promote voter registration, particularly amongst under-registered groups.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what steps he is taking to disseminate the lessons learned from the data mining pilots for the introduction of individual electoral registrations; and if he will make a statement.
4th Jun 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what recent discussions he has had with (a) church and community leaders from black and minority ethnic communities and (b) Operation Black Vote on increasing registration levels for voters in those communities.

I met recently with Operation Black Vote to discuss the importance of electoral registration.

The Government is keen to work with groups and organisations to support and raise the profile of the importance of voter registration amongst all communities.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, whether monies collected from fixed penalty notices issued for failure to register on the electoral register will be retained by the local authority which issues that notice.

Under paragraph 11 of schedule ZA1 to the Representation of the People Act 1983, monies received from a civil penalty notice issued for failure to respond to a notice of requirement to register on the electoral register are paid into the Consolidated Fund.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, when electoral registration officers will be able to impose fixed penalty notices for non-registration.

From 10 June 2014, alongside the introduction of individual electoral registration (IER), Electoral Registration Officers in England and Wales will be able to impose civil penalty notices for failure to respond to a notice of requirement to register on the electoral register. In Scotland this will be from 19 September 2014 alongside the introduction of IER in Scotland, following the Scottish referendum.

In conjunction with the Electoral Commission we intend to collect information on the number of civil penalties issued for failure to respond to an IER invitation through each local authority's Electoral Management System.

Local authority staff who are responsible for the delivery of electoral registration have been fully trained on IER processes, including a module on notices of requirement to register and on civil penalties.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to provide that the freeze dates for population size for boundary reviews and the census be in the same year.

The Government has no plans to do so. Using population figures derived from census data would not provide a better basis for a review of constituency boundaries than using the electoral register.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 20 May 2013, Official Report, column 443W, on electoral register, what the results were of his Department's cooperation with data holding organisations on datasets that can be used to ensure completeness and accuracy of the electoral register.
4th Jun 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what training has been given to electoral registration officers in the implementation of fixed penalty notices for non-registration.

From 10 June 2014, alongside the introduction of individual electoral registration (IER), Electoral Registration Officers in England and Wales will be able to impose civil penalty notices for failure to respond to a notice of requirement to register on the electoral register. In Scotland this will be from 19 September 2014 alongside the introduction of IER in Scotland, following the Scottish referendum.

In conjunction with the Electoral Commission we intend to collect information on the number of civil penalties issued for failure to respond to an IER invitation through each local authority's Electoral Management System.

Local authority staff who are responsible for the delivery of electoral registration have been fully trained on IER processes, including a module on notices of requirement to register and on civil penalties.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what assessment he has made of the introduction of individual electoral registration in Northern Ireland.

The experience of Northern Ireland has helped inform the plans for the transition to Individual Electoral Registration (IER) in Great Britain. As a result the approach in Great Britain differs from Northern Ireland in several key respects. Unlike the transition to IER in Northern Ireland in 2002, in Great Britain data matching is being used to ‘confirm' the majority of current electors on the existing register without them having to make a new application. The transition is being phased over two years, which means no one who registered to vote at the last canvass will lose their right to vote at the General Election in 2015. The annual canvass is also being retained and on-line registration is being introduced to make electoral registration more accessible.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 27 January 2014, Official Report, column 387W, on electoral register, what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of gathering and holding information on the proportion of attainers who are registered to vote; and what assessment he has made of the usefulness of such information for improving the introduction of individual electoral registration.

The Government has made no such estimate or assessment.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 28 January 2014, Official Report, columns 509-10W, on electoral registration, whether his Department provides funding to Bite the Ballot to increase voter registration.

The Government recently announced that all 363 local authorities and valuation joint boards in Great Britain and five national organisations are sharing £4.2 million funding to promote voter registration amongst under-registered groups.

Organisations with ideas on how funding can be used to create and support opportunities to promote voter registration, including Bite the Ballot, have been encouraged to approach local authorities, and I emphasised this point with Bite the Ballot when I met them in March this year.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 23 April 2012, Official Report, column 623W, on electoral register, what steps he has taken to improve student registration in the run up to individual electoral registration.

The Government is working with the Higher Education sector to maximise the registration of students.

Measures include provision of data from the universities to the EROs to help them contact students individually and promoting the use of online registration, when it becomes available, particularly during course enrolment.

The Government has produced guidance for university registrars to help them implement these steps before the start of the 2014/15 academic year when students will register under Individual Electoral Registration.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 8 November 2011, Official Report, column 283W, on electoral register, if he will make it his policy to collect information on the number of fixed penalty notices issued for non-registration in the run up to the introduction of individual electoral registration.

From 10 June 2014, alongside the introduction of individual electoral registration (IER), Electoral Registration Officers in England and Wales will be able to impose civil penalty notices for failure to respond to a notice of requirement to register on the electoral register. In Scotland this will be from 19 September 2014 alongside the introduction of IER in Scotland, following the Scottish referendum.

In conjunction with the Electoral Commission we intend to collect information on the number of civil penalties issued for failure to respond to an IER invitation through each local authority's Electoral Management System.

Local authority staff who are responsible for the delivery of electoral registration have been fully trained on IER processes, including a module on notices of requirement to register and on civil penalties.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what use his Department has made of the National Wellbeing Index introduced by the Office for National Statistics in formulating policy since the introduction of that Index in 2011; and what policies his Department has introduced to improve national wellbeing as defined in that Index since 2010.

The National Wellbeing Index contains two measures directly related to DECC's priorities: “Energy consumed within the UK from renewable sources” and “Total greenhouse gas emissions”, where latest data shows the positive impact being made by DECC. For example in 2013, provisional data shows 15% of electricity being produced from renewable sources – a new high. To provide further support for renewable and other forms of low carbon generation DECC is implementing Electricity Market Reform, in particular provisions for Feed-in-Tariffs with Contracts for Difference. Since 2010 DECC has also launched the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme to provide support for renewable heat in both the domestic and non-domestic sectors.

More broadly, a number of DECC's policies, such as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) which funds efficient boilers and insulation measures to low income and vulnerable households and is now guaranteed until at least 2017, contribute toward other aspects of the National Wellbeing Index, for example “Getting by financially”.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, with reference to the Answer of 24 February 2014, Official Report, column 19W, on electoral register, with which civic society organisations the Electoral Commission is proactively seeking partnership for the purpose of increasing electoral registration.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it is seeking to establish new partnerships and ways of working with a wide range of organisations to help ensure voters are aware of what they need to do under the new system of individual electoral registration.

In addition to the partnerships it is currently finalising, the Commission will continue seeking to establish new partnerships up to, and beyond, the next UK Parliamentary General Election in 2015 to achieve this. As partnerships are finalised, they will be highlighted on the Commission's website and we will make members aware of where they can find this information when the first batch of information is published online.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what (a) number and (b) proportion of voters voted (i) at a polling station and (ii) by postal ballot in each police authority area in the 2012 Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

The Electoral Commission has placed the answer to the hon. member's question in the library.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what (a) number and (b) proportion of voters voted (i) at a polling station and (ii) by postal ballot in each European parliamentary constituency in each such election since 1984.

The Electoral Commission was formed in 2000 and as a result it only holds information from the 2004 European parliamentary elections onwards. It has placed the data it holds in the library.

The full datasets for the 2014 European parliamentary elections will be available at the end of August.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what the average distance is between an onshore windfarm and its connecting sub-station.

The Department does not hold this information. Windfarms usually own the cables connecting them to substations. Gathering the information requested would, therefore, require contacting individual windfarm developers at a disproportionate cost.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, on how many occasions and relating to which locations proposals for overground cables between onshore windfarms and the connecting sub-station have been rejected in each of the last 10 years.

The Department has not rejected any applications for overhead line connections to onshore windfarms in the past 10 years in England and Wales.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, if he will take steps to ensure that onshore windfarm developers take into account the costs of (a) overground cables and (b) underground cables between a windfarm and its sub-station when taking decisions on laying such cables.

Onshore windfarm developers already take into account the costs of different connection options as part of their commercial decisions. In addition, developers submitting applications for nationally significant infrastructure proposals are required to consider alternative options for connections, including undergrounding and routes, as part of the planning consent process.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, whether his Department makes funding available for onshore windfarm operators to place cables underground between the windfarm and the connecting sub-station.

The Department does not make specific funding available to generators for placing their cables underground. However, network infrastructure costs have been factored into Government decisions on levels of support for onshore windfarms such as the Renewables Obligation.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what length of cables between onshore windfarms and connecting sub-stations has been placed (a) above ground and (b) underground in each of the last five years.

The Department does not hold this information. Windfarms usually own the cables connecting them to substations. Gathering the information requested would, therefore, require contacting individual windfarm developers at a disproportionate cost.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, how many onshore windfarms have been connected to sub-stations in each of the last five years.

According to Renewable-UK Wind Energy Database the following numbers of onshore wind projects have been connected in Great Britain over the past five years. The vast majority of these projects contained five or fewer turbines. The Department does not hold data on what, if any, connections to substations were required.

Year

Number of Projects

2014

34

2013

73

2012

109

2011

48

2010

43

Further details of these onshore wind projects are available at:

http://www.renewableuk.com/en/renewable-energy/wind-energy/uk-wind-energy-database/index.cfm

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, in which locations cables between onshore windfarms and connecting sub-stations have been placed completely underground in each of the last 10 years.

The Department does not hold this information. Windfarms usually own the cables connecting them to substations. Gathering the information requested would, therefore, require contacting individual windfarm developers at a disproportionate cost.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what assessment his Department has made of potential health risks arising from (a) above-ground and (b) underground electricity cables which connect onshore windfarms to sub-stations.

Public Health England (PHE) is advisor on potential health risks from above ground or underground electricity cables. Government policy, based on advice from PHE, is that the 1998 International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection guidelines on public exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) are applied in terms of the 1999 EU Council Recommendation on limiting exposure of the general public (1999/519/EC). PHE remains the focus of UK expertise in such matters and keeps the scientific evidence relevant to EMF exposures under review.

4th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what use his Department has made of the National Wellbeing Index introduced by the Office for National Statistics in formulating policy since the introduction of that Index in 2011; and what policies his Department has introduced to improve national wellbeing as defined in that Index since 2010.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is measuring National Wellbeing, not as an index but through a framework of 41 indicators which capture social progress around important aspects of life for individuals, communities and the nation. The statistics are experimental and as such we should not expect to have examples of major policies that have been heavily influenced by the wellbeing data at this stage.

Evidence provided to the Environmental Audit Committee for its Inquiry into Wellbeing can be found at: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/inquiries/parliament-2010/well-being/

The evidence submitted by the Department is outlined in Annex A, and demonstrates the impact of our policies and programmes – including our labour market reforms and support for Higher and Further Education – on wellbeing. Since submitting that evidence, we have also commissioned research to develop a comprehensive evidence base on the link between employees' wellbeing and business performance. The findings will feed into future policy development on wellbeing at work, as well as the development of an on-line guide providing suggestions on methods for improving wellbeing in the workplace. The findings from this research, the first of its kind in the UK, are due for publication in late Summer 2014.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2014, Official Report, column 19W, on the electoral register, what measures the Electoral Commission agreed following its meetings with the Department for Work and Pensions, Cabinet Office and other departments on co-operation in electoral registration.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has highlighted the previous question to the Cabinet Office and suggested that they should discuss the issues referred to in it with the Department for Work and Pensions and are currently awaiting a response.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2014, Official Report, columns 20-1W, on electoral registration, which local authorities and electoral registration officers the Electoral Commission has identified as pursuing best practice in electoral registration.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it will write to the honourable member on this issue alongside its report on EROs' planning and preparedness for IER, including their progress in developing public engagement strategies, at the end of March 2014 and will place a copy in the House library.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2014, Official Report, columns 20-1W, on electoral registration, which electoral registration officers and local authorities had the biggest improvement in registering attainers between 2008 and 2013.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not collect data on the number of attainers registered as part of its monitoring of Electoral Registration Officers (EROs). Through its performance standards framework the Commission monitors whether EROs are encouraging participation in the registration process by having in place an effective and appropriate public awareness strategy and working with partners where appropriate to promote registration.

The Commission informs me that there has been a significant improvement made by EROs in this area.

Between 2008 and 2012 the number of EROs meeting or exceeding the standards relating to public awareness and working with partners increased from 34% to 99% and from 67% to 100% respectively.

The Commission's report on EROs' performance in 2013 will be published at the end of March 2014.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 22 Janaury 2013, Official Report, columns 131-3W, on the electoral register, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the reasons for the increase from 8 to 58 in the number of electoral registration officers who failed performance standard 3 between 2010 and 2011.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has previously corresponded with the honourable member on this issue.

Within that correspondence the Electoral Commission set out that following its 2010 report assessing the performance of Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) it became aware of anecdotal evidence suggesting that for various reasons, including local authority budget reductions, there may have been a greater number of EROs who were not meeting performance standard 3. Therefore, in addition to the 2011 performance standard return, the Commission asked all EROs for the first time to confirm specifically whether or not they carried out a personal canvass of all non-responders and, if not, to provide an explanation as to the reasons why.

The Commission subsequently requested further data from EROs who had not confirmed that they carried out a personal canvass of all non-responders in order to make a better-informed assessment of performance against performance standard 3. This data included the number of non-responding households that were not contacted by a personal canvasser or by any other method (not including forms and reminders); how many of these households had entries confirmed by other records; and how many of those households had entries that could not be confirmed and were removed.

Following this process, the Commission revised the assessments of 51 EROs to ‘below' the standard. This meant that, including the seven EROs who originally reported that they did not meet the standard, there were 58 EROs who did not meet this standard in 2011.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2014, Official Report, column 20W, on the electoral register, if the Electoral Commission will make a copy of its evaluation of the effectiveness of electoral registration grants available online; and if he will inform the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee once this action is complete.

The Electoral Commission informs that it will arrange for the document to be put on their website and will inform the honourable member and the Political and Constitutional Committee Clerk when this has happened.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2014, Official Report, column 19W, on the electoral register, with which civic society organisations the Electoral Commission is proactively seeking partnerships for the purpose of increasing electoral registration.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it is in the process of contacting a range of organisations, including civic society organisations, and will write to the honourable member once this is complete with the list of organisations that have signed up.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to his Answer of 24 February 2014, Official Report, column 22W, on the Electoral Register, whether the Electoral Commission plans to consider initiating voter national registration days or weeks for UK citizens.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it will consider the honourable member's suggestions.

The Commission has previously organised voter registration drives specifically targeting overseas and armed forces voters, but not for widespread domestic registration.

The Commission is already in discussions with Bite the Ballot, who recently organised a National Voter Registration Day, about how it can help support their work.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 6 February 2014, Official Report, columns 18-19W, on the electoral register, in which month of 2014 the statistics on data matching on electoral registration between the Office of National Statistics, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency and the National Records of Scotland will be published.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it expects to publish a report on England, Wales and Scotland in summer 2014. The timing of the work in Northern Ireland is still the subject of discussions with NISRA. The Electoral Commission will inform the honourable member when this is confirmed.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 28 January 2014, Official Report, column 510W, on the electoral register: young people, what estimate he has made of the number of young people who have been added to the electoral register as a result of Rock Enrol!

The government has made available £4.2 million funding to all 363 local authorities (LAs) and valuation joint boards (VJBs) in Great Britain. The Government has written to Electoral Registration Officers and encouraged them to use this funding to support the delivery of Rock Enrol! in their area. Officials will continue to work closely with LA/VJBs in order to monitor and measure the outcomes.

The Government is supportive of organisations that promote democratic engagement such as Bite the Ballot and welcomes lessons from their experiences.The Rock Enrol! learning resource is freely available on the gov.uk and Times Education Supplement websites amongst others. The Government is also working with a range of organisations, including the Association of Citizenship Teachers, to promote the use of Rock Enrol!

For details of the Electoral Commission's registration activities I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given by the Hon. Member for South West Devon on 22 January 2014, Official Report, column 209W [183573].

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 26 January 2014, Official Report, column 570W, on the electoral register: young people, how many times the student forum has met since its creation; and what the main outcomes of the forum have been in the last three years.

The Student Forum has met 16 times across all regions since its launch on 18 July 2013.

The Forum has secured the involvement of the Higher Education sector to support Electoral Registration Officers in reaching students on an individual basis after the transition to Individual Electoral Registration and promoting the use of online electoral registration after it is launched in England and Wales in June.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion and number of voters with learning disabilities who (a) register to vote and (b) vote.

The Government has made no such estimate.

No record is made of disability when registering to vote or when voting.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what steps his Department has taken to improve registration rates and voter turnout of (a) visually impaired voters and (b) voters with learning difficulties.

Electoral law requires returning officers to take account of the needs of people with disabilities by making polling stations and voting accessible.

In June 2014, the government will be introducing an online facility for registration which will support further accessibility options for those with particular needs. User testing of paper forms has allowed their design to take into account the requirements of those with disabilities.

The Cabinet Office has also funded the Royal Mencap Society to create educational resources for people with a learning disability and to develop a model for one-to-one support for families, carers and others to encourage and enable registering to vote.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what his Department's policy is on allowing officials to appear before all-party parliamentary groups.

I refer the hon. Member to answer given by my rt. hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General on 26 March 2014, Official Report, Column 300W.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what recent assessment the Electoral Commission has made of electoral registration rates of attainers in (a) Scotland, (b) Northern Ireland, (c) Wales and (d) England.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not hold separate estimates of registration rates of attainers for England, Scotland and Wales. However, its 2011 report on the completeness and accuracy of the electoral registers in Great Britain found that 55% of 17 – 18 year olds were registered to vote. The sample size of the survey does not allow for country breakdowns.

The Commission further informs me that their 2012 report on the Northern Ireland register found that 66% of 16 – 17 year olds were registered to vote.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2014, Official Report, column 20W on the electoral register, whether measurements of the effectiveness of electoral registration officers' implementation of Electoral Commission advice on increasing the number of attainers registered includes changes in the number of attainers registered.

The Electoral Commission informs me that its monitoring of EROs does not include measuring changes in the number of attainers registered.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 24 January 2013, Official Report, column 392W on electoral register, when he will decide on the level of fine for not returning an electoral registration form; and when such fines will be able to be levied.

The Government announced in 2013 that Electoral Registration Officers will be able to impose a civil penalty on individuals who fail to make an application to register to vote when required to do so, in line with the provisions of the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013, and the subordinate legislation made under that Act.

In particular, Electoral Registration Officers will be required to take specific steps to encourage a registration before they can issue a notice of requirement to register; they will then have discretion to impose the penalty for failing to comply with the requirement.

The level of the civil penalty has been set by the regulations at £80.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, when he will publish the full report on the data matching pilots for individual electoral registration.

A full report evaluating pilots testing data matching for the purposes of identifying new electors was published in July 2013. The report can be accessed at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/223850/Data_Mining_Evaluation_FULL_Report_FINAL.pdf

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what assessment he has made of the effect of comments by (a) Government Ministers, (b) hon. Members and (c) the media on public perception of electoral fraud.

The Electoral Commission has recently completed a review of electoral fraud in the UK, for which it commissioned research on public perceptions of electoral fraud. The report can be found here

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/164609/Electoral-fraud-review-final-report.pdf

The Government will respond in due course.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what steps he is taking to advertise the availability of his Department's fund to increase voter registration.

On 5February the Government announced that up to £4.2 million funding will be shared by five national organisations and all 363 local authorities and valuation joint boards in Great Britain.

Each authority was informed directly of the financial allocation and help and support to EROs to make best use of the funding has been made available by the Association of Electoral Administrators.

The Government encourages organisations who wish to support efforts to maximise registration in their community to contact their local Electoral Registration Officer.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, if he will introduce the Northern Ireland school registration programme to increase voter registration on the UK mainland.

The Government is implementing a schools registration approach informed by the Northern Ireland Schools initiative.

£4.2m funding has been made available to all 363 local authorities and valuation joint boards in Great Britain. Electoral registration officers have been encouraged to use this funding to support the delivery of Rock Enrol! in their area, a learning resource which not only provides an opportunity for young people to register to vote, but enables them to discuss the importance of doing so.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what organisations have applied to his Department for funding to improve voter registration.

A range of voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations have applied for funding to deliver activities to improve voter registration.

On 5th February 2014, the government announced that 5 national organisations and all 363 local authorities and Valuation Joint Boards in Great Britain will be sharing £4.2 million funding aimed at ensuring everyone in the country is signed up to the electoral register and has their chance to vote.

Further details of the successful organisations can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/funding-for-new-ways-to-encourage-voter-registration

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 11 June 2012, Official Report, columns 54-5W, on electoral register, what assessment he has made of the reason for the disparity between (a) levels of proven instances of electoral fraud and (b) public perception of electoral fraud.

The Electoral Commission has recently completed a review of electoral fraud in the UK, for which it commissioned research on public perceptions of electoral fraud. The report can be found here

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/164609/Electoral-fraud-review-final-report.pdf

The Government will respond in due course.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 5 March 2013, Official Report, column 971W, on Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013, when he intends to lay an Order before Parliament under paragraph 28 of schedule 5 to the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013.

It is for the next Government to decide whether to complete the transition to individual electoral registration in December 2015 or December 2016. To conclude the transition in December 2015, the Order must be laid before Parliament between 1 June and 31 August 2015.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 5 March 2013, Official Report, column 971W, on Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013, if he will give the ranking according to data matching rates of the authorities that took part in the data matching pilots for individual electoral registration.

The results and evaluation of the 2012 data matching pilots were published in April 2013, and are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/simplifying-the-transition-to-individual-electoral-registration

Further to the 2012 pilots, a full scale dry run of Confirmation data matching – involving all 380 local authorities – took place in the summer of 2013. The results and evaluation were published in October 2013 and are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/evaluation-confirming-electors-through-data-matching

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what steps he has taken to make hon. Members aware of the £4.2 million fund for increasing voter registration.

Apart from the funding allocation to 5 national organisations, the fund is directed at Electoral Registration Officers who have the statutory responsibility to ensure a complete and accurate electoral register.

The allocation of funding was described to Hon. Members during Deputy Prime Minister’s Questions on 11 Feb 2014 (Official Report) Column Ref: 701W.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, if he will make it his policy to collect data on (a) the proportion of attainers in each region of Great Britain registered to vote, (b) the proportion of people aged 18 to 25 years old and pensioners registered to vote and (c) the proportion of people in receipt of benefits registered to vote.

The Government has no plans to collect this data.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the number and proportion of visually impaired voters who receive election communication in a format they can understand.

The Electoral Commission informs me that Returning Officers (ROs) are responsible for issuing election-related communications such as poll cards and postal voting statements which must, by law, contain information telling the recipient what to do if they need the information provided in a different format. It is for ROs, in discharging their duties, to identify how best to meet the needs of individuals in their area who are visually impaired. The Commission has made no assessment of the numbers of voters who receive information from ROs in their preferred format.

The Commission also informs me that it ensures that its public information campaigns are accessible to those with visual impairments, and that the voter registration and information materials it produces are available in a variety of formats including Braille and Easy Read. The Commission has written to the RNIB, following the evidence they gave to the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee on 1 May, to offer to meet to discuss what else could be done to help ensure that those with visual impairments can register and vote.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what steps the Electoral Commission is taking to cross-reference data on visual impairment with the electoral register for the purpose of improving election communications with the visually impaired.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it ensures that its public information campaigns are accessible to those with visual impairments, and that the voter registration and information materials it produces are available in a variety of formats including Braille and Easy Read. The Commission has written to the RNIB, following the evidence they gave to the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee on 1 May, to offer to meet to discuss what else could be done to help ensure that those with visual impairments can register and vote.

The Commission also informs me that Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) are responsible for compiling and managing electoral registers and Returning Officers (ROs) are responsible for issuing election-related communications to those on the register. This includes poll cards and postal voting statements which must, by law, contain information telling the recipient what to do if they need the information provided in a different format. It is for EROs and ROs, in discharging their duties, to identify how best to meet the needs of individuals in their area who are visually impaired.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what the percentage annual canvass return rate was for each local government area in (a) 2011 and (b) 2012.

A copy of the information requested by the hon. Gentleman has been placed in the Library.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what estimate he has made of the number of electoral registration officers who have not fulfilled their statutory responsibilities in each of the last 10 years.

The Government has made no such estimate.

Since 2008, Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) have been subject to performance standards set and monitored by the Electoral Commission. The Electoral Commission publishes its annual reports on ERO performance on its website.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, when electoral registration officers will be able to impose fixed penalty notices for non-registration.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Hon Member in the time available before Prorogation.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2014, Official Report, column 387W, on the electoral register, what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of holding information on the proportion of attainers who are registered to vote; and what assessment he has made of the usefulness of this information in improving the introduction of individual electoral registration.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Hon Member in the time available before Prorogation.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 24 January 2012, Official Report, column 203W, on the electoral register, what assessment he has made of his Department's performance in making the public aware of individual electoral registration; and how he measures that performance .

It has not proved possible to respond to the Hon Member in the time available before Prorogation.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 28 January 2014, Official Report, columns 509-10W, on electoral registration, whether his Department provides funding to Bite the Ballot to increase voter registration.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Hon Member in the time available before Prorogation.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what assessment he has made of the (a) fairness, (b) accuracy and (c) completeness of using the (i) census and midterm census and (ii) electoral register to determine the size of constituencies when drawing boundaries.

The electoral register has been the basis for parliamentary boundary reviews since the creation of the independent Boundary Commissions. The Government does not believe that using population figures derived from Census data would provide a better basis for a boundary review than using the electoral register. Importantly, the electoral register is updated annually, and census figures will include persons who are not eligible to register to vote, for example on grounds of citizenship or age.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what lessons he has learned from the Northern Irish experience of introducing individual electoral registration.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Hon Member in the time available before Prorogation.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what assessment he has made of the potential benefits of bringing forward legislative proposals to make voting compulsory as a means of increasing voter turnout and engagement.

The Government has made no such assessment.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 20 May 2013, Official Report, column 443W, on the electoral register, what the results were of his Department's cooperation with private sector credit reference agencies on datasets that can be used to ensure completeness and accuracy of the electoral register.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Hon Member in the time available before Prorogation.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 5 March 2014, Official Report, column 971W, on the Electoral Administration Act 2013, whether non-individual electoral registration entries will be included on the register by the time of the freeze date for the next boundary review on 1 December 2015.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Hon Member in the time available before Prorogation.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 23 April 2012, Official Report, column 623W, on the electoral register, what steps he has taken to improve student registration in the run up to individual electoral registration.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Hon Member in the time available before Prorogation.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to provide that the freeze dates for population size for boundary reviews and the census be in the same year.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Hon Member in the time available before Prorogation.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, how much the 10 most highly-paid returning officers in the UK are paid.

The amounts recoverable by Returning Officers in respect of services rendered at different national polls vary and have been set out in successive Orders. It is the size of the electorate which determines the maximum amounts that Returning Officers can claim.

Any Returning Officers acting in an additional capacity, such as Regional Returning Officers at European Parliamentary Elections or Police Area Returning Officers at Police and Crime Commissioner Elections, are entitled to recover an additional flat rate amount for their services in co-ordinating the election over a number of local authorities.

Returning Officers are not required to claim the full amount. They can choose not to claim or to claim only part of the amount available. They can also choose to re-distribute some or all of the amount amongst any deputies and other staff to whom they delegate their duties.

The table below sets out the 10 highest maximum recoverable amounts for services rendered available to Returning Officers at the 2014 European parliamentary elections. Regional Returning Officers will be entitled to claim an additional £12,000.

Local Authority

Region

RO fee

1

Birmingham

West Midlands

£39,564

2

Leeds

Yorkshire & Humberside

£29,406

3

Glasgow City

Scotland

£22,300

4

Sheffield

Yorkshire & Humberside

£20,900

5

Cornwall

South West

£20,190

6

Manchester

North West

£19,711

7

County of Durham

North East

£19,455

8

Bradford

Yorkshire & Humberside

£18,270

9

Liverpool

North West

£16,918

10

City of Bristol

South West

£16,914

It is up Local Authorities to determine whether or not Returning Officers are entitled to recover an amount in respect of services rendered at local polls.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what training has been given to electoral registration officers in the implementation of fixed penalty notices for non-registration.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Hon Member in the time available before Prorogation.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 8 November 2011, Official Report, column 283W, on the electoral register, if he will make it his policy to collect information on the number of fixed penalty notices issued for non-registration in the run up to the introduction of individual electoral registration.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Hon Member in the time available before Prorogation.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what steps he is taking to disseminate the lessons learned from the data mining pilots for the introduction of individual electoral registrations; and if he will make a statement.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Hon Member in the time available before Prorogation.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the use in Northern Ireland of prize draws to increase voter registration.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Hon Member in the time available before Prorogation.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what recent discussions he has had with (a) church and community leaders from black and minority ethnic communities and (b) Operation Black Vote on increasing registration levels for voters in those communities.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Hon Member in the time available before Prorogation.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, whether monies collected from fixed penalty notices issued for failure to register on the electoral register will be retained by the local authority which issues that notice.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Hon Member in the time available before Prorogation.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what estimate he has made of the number and proportion of people eligible to be on the (a) most recent census and (b) most recent electoral register who were not recorded.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, how the performance of returning officers is monitored.

The Electoral Commission publishes performance standards for Returning Officers as provided for in the Electoral Administration Act 2006. The Commission monitors and reports on the performance of Returning Officers. It also provides support and guidance to enable improvements in electoral practice.

In addition, the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 provides for a Returning Officer’s fee to be reduced by the Secretary of State following a recommendation by the Commission, in the event of inadequate performance at a UK Parliamentary election.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, how much was paid to returning officers in each of the last 10 years.

The amount recoverable by Returning Officers in respect of services rendered at national polls in the last 10 years has been set out in successive Orders. Fees paid to Returning Officers in local polls are the responsibility of their local authorities.

2004/05: No overall total is available. In 2004 and 2005, the calculations for Returning Officers’ fees were not listed by individual counting areas in the Orders.

2006/07/08: No national elections were held

2009: Total paid: £2,386,069

2010: Total paid: £2,160,811

2011: Total paid: £2,468,766

2012: Total paid: £2,068,931

2013: No national elections were held

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, (a) how and (b) by whom pay levels for returning officers are set.

The amounts recoverable by Returning Officers in respect of services rendered at different national polls vary and have been set out in successive Orders. It is the size of the electorate which determines the maximum amounts that Returning Officers can claim.

Returning Officers are generally entitled to a sum of £475 for every 10,000 electors in their area on a pro rata basis with a minimum of £2,500. This rate has remained unchanged since 2009.

Any Returning Officers acting in an additional capacity, such as Regional Returning Officers at European Parliamentary Elections or Police Area Returning Officers at Police and Crime Commissioner Elections, are entitled to recover an additional flat rate amount for their services in co-ordinating the election over a number of local authorities.

Returning Officers are not required to claim the full amount. They can choose not to claim or to claim only part of the amount available. They can also choose to re-distribute some or all of the amount amongst any deputies and other staff to whom they delegate their duties.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which local authorities have failed performance standard 3 on house-to-house enquiries; how many times they have failed; and how many times a Cabinet Office regional delivery manager has intervened.

The Electoral Commission informs me that in 2013 five Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) reported that they did not meet performance standard 3: Mid Devon; Taunton Deane; Torridge; West Devon; and West Somerset. The table below shows the number of times these EROs have not met this standard.

Table: Number of times those EROS not meeting standard 3 in 2013 have not met this standard.

ERO

Number of times not met

Years in which not met

Mid Devon

4

2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

Taunton Deane

3

2011, 2012, 2013

Torridge

2

2012, 2013

West Devon

4

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

West Somerset

4

2009, 2011, 2012, 2013

The Commission is in the process of conducting a detailed analysis of EROs' electoral registration data from the 2013 canvass, following which it will publish its final assessment of EROs' performance in 2013.

The Cabinet Office has established a network of Regional Delivery Managers to monitor EROs' readiness for the transition to individual electoral registration in 2014. However, the Commission does not have specific details of the activities undertaken by these all of these officials.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many and what proportion of households which had a door step contact under performance standard 3 were called on (a) once, (b) twice and (c) three times in each local authority in the UK which passed that performance standard in the most recent period for which figures are available.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not collect information about the number of visits that Electoral Registration Officers' staff make to individual households as part of their activities to maintain the electoral registers.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which local authorities (a) did and (b) did not complete local data matching after the confirmation dry run with the Department for Work and Pensions' database and electoral register.

The Electoral Commission informs me that this information was provided to the Hon. Member in the answer to his Question 191356.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what percentage of postal votes were cast in the 100 constituencies with the largest amount of postal votes in the most recent general election.

The Electoral Commission has provided the table below, which shows the 100 constituencies where the largest number of postal votes were issued at 2010 general election, in descending order. It also shows the total number of postal votes at the count as a percentage of all votes at the count.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many (a) items of correspondence and (b) meetings with Ministers in the Electoral Commission has had on (i) postal ballot restrictions and (ii) use of photo ID for voting, in each of the last four years.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has met and corresponded with Ministers regularly over the last four years on matters pertaining to the full range of its responsibilities, including proposed changes to the handling of completed postal ballot applications and the potential use of photo ID for voting.

The Commission will continue to update Ministers on the progress of its work in this area.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 28 January 2014, Official Report, columns 509-10W, on electoral registration, if his Department will sponsor a national registration week.

The Government welcomes initiatives that promote democratic engagement, such as the British Youth Council’s Make Your Mark campaign and the recent Parliament Week programme. In February it announced that all 363 local authorities and valuation joint boards in Great Britain, and five national organisations, will share £4.2 million funding to promote voter registration.

The Government continues to consider further ways to promote voter registration and welcomes discussions with national organisations about such initiatives.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, in which local authorities in England the Commission believes electoral fraud is a significant problem.

The Electoral Commission informs me that in its January 2014 Electoral Fraud review http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/164609/Electoral-fraud-review-final-report.pdf, it identified 16 local authority areas in England where there appears to be a greater risk of cases of electoral fraud being reported. This greater risk is specific to individual wards within those 16 local authority areas.

The areas that the Commission has identified are:

  • Birmingham
  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Bradford
  • Burnley
  • Calderdale
  • Coventry
  • Derby
  • Hyndburn
  • Kirklees
  • Oldham
  • Pendle
  • Peterborough
  • Slough
  • Tower Hamlets
  • Walsall
  • Woking

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, for what reasons the Commission's estimate of unregistered voters was four million in 2010 and six million in December 2011.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it provided estimates for the completeness of the December 2010 and April 2011 registers in Great Britain in its ‘Great Britain's electoral registers 2011' report. The report indicated that at least 6 million people were not registered at their current address in December 2010 and this figure had risen to 8.5 million by April 2011.

This change to the accuracy and completeness of the electoral register within such a time period is not unexpected. In any given year there will be a variety of reasons why such a change would occur, the most significant of which will usually be the impact of home movement after the annual canvass, which was the case in this instance.

The Commission's report explaining the background to its research can be found here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/145366/Great-Britains-electoral-registers-2011.pdf

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 20 May 2013, Official Report, column 443W, on electoral register, what progress he has made with private sector credit reference agencies on ensuring the completeness and accuracy of the electoral register.

The Government is using public data to confirm the vast majority of electors on the register when the transition to individual electoral registration takes place this year.

There are no plans to use private sector credit reference agency data.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what account the Electoral Commission took of the contribution of the requirement to provide photo identification to vote in the US in developing policy on the introduction of photo identification for voting in the UK.

The Electoral Commission informs me that following its January 2014 recommendation that voters in Great Britain should be required to produce identification at polling stations for elections from 2019 at the latest onwards, it is now undertaking further detailed work to develop a proportionate and accessible scheme for verifying the identity of electors. This will take into account evidence from other comparable democracies which have introduced similar requirements, including the United States of America.

The Commission will publish detailed proposals for a proof of identity scheme by the end of 2014.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 28 January 2014, Official Report, columns 509-10W, on the Electoral Register, with which national organisations his Department is working to encourage people to register to vote.

Five national organisations have received funding as part of the Government's measures to maximise voter registration.

The Government is working with a number of other groups such as the British Youth Council and Operation Black Vote.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what the registration rates were in the review of the national estimate of the completeness of the electoral register in England and Wales in 2000 and the Electoral Commission's research on Great Britain's electoral register in 2011.

The Electoral Commission informs me that its research on the December 2000 registers in England and Wales found that 8-9% of eligible people were not registered at their current address.

Their subsequent research across Great Britain found that, in December 2010 and April 2011, 13-15% and 18% respectively of eligible people were not registered at their current address.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, whether his Department's funding of £3.6 million to improve electoral registration will be given to local authorities which have not used local government databases to improve electoral registration in the individual electoral registration dry run.

All Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) have received funding, based on their levels of under-registration, to support local activities to maximise registration, as part of the transition to Individual Electoral Registration. EROs are best placed to decide how to improve the completeness and accuracy of their registers.

Performance Standard one of the Electoral Commission's framework encourages EROs to use local data sources to build understanding of local challenges and to identify potential new electors. The Electoral Commission monitors and reports on the performance of EROs against the performance standards. All EROs met performance standard one in 2012 and the Commission will report on the 2013 performance shortly.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 28 January 2014, Official Report, column 510W, on the electoral register: young people, how the £4.2 million funding to maximise the rate of voter registration ahead of the transition to individual electoral registration has been spent; and what measures are in place to monitor the effectiveness of this spending.

Funding has been provided to all 363 local authorities and valuation joint boards in Great Britain, and five national organisations, to support the costs of activities for maximising registration as part of the transition to individual electoral registration.

Guidance has been made available to support them in evaluating the success of activity delivered through this funding. Government officials will continue to work closely with funding recipients to monitor and measure the outcomes.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what the data matching rates were for university students living in university towns.

The Electoral Commission refers the honourable member to the answer to its previous question (177062) which outlined the background on match rates for students in university towns.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2014, Official Report, column 386W, on the Electoral Register, what is the (a) earliest and (b) latest age a person is allocated their National Insurance number; and what the earliest date is that an attainer can be registered to vote.

National Insurance numbers are sent automatically when individuals reach the age of 15 years and 9 months. There is no upper age limit to apply for a National Insurance number.

The law provides that an attainer will be included on the register if they will reach the age of 18 before the end of a 12-month period starting from the next 1 December after the application is made.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what current campaign the Electoral Commission has to increase registration of (a) UK citizens living abroad and (b) UK citizens living in the UK.

The Electoral Commission refers the hon. gentleman to its earlier reply (189414) of 6 March 2014 in which it outlined details of current and forthcoming Electoral Commission campaigns to increase registration in the UK and for UK citizens living abroad, and the relevant targets for those campaigns.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 22 January 2014, Official Report, column 189W, on the electoral register: Northern Ireland, if he will discuss the lessons from the registration for schools programme in Northern Ireland with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

I have discussed the Northern Ireland schools initiative with the Minister of State for Northern Ireland.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the use of positive role models and celebrities to increase electoral registration and voter turnout.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has not made an assessment of the use of positive role models and celebrities in its public awareness work.

This is due to the risk that they might have political affiliations which would lead to the neutrality of the Commission's work being called into question.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what measures are in place to monitor the effectiveness of the funding to improve electoral registration engagement; and when he plans to report to Parliament on the effectiveness of this initiative.

Funding has been provided to all 363 local authorities and valuation joint boards in Great Britain and five national organisations to support the costs of activities to maximise registration.

They have been provided with guidance to support them in evaluating the success of activity delivered through this funding. Cabinet Office officials will continue to work closely with funding recipients to monitor and measure the outcomes.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 3 September 2012, Official Report, columns 93-4W, on electoral register: fraud, what assessment he has made of the reasons there have been no successful prosecutions for postal vote fraud since 2011.

The Government has made no such assessment.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 24 January 2013, Official Report, column 392W, on the Electoral Register if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidelines for the issuing of fixed penalty notices for non-registration.

Guidance from the Electoral Commission on the use of civil penalties for failure to respond to a notice of requirement to register was published in September 2013.

I have placed a copy in the Library of the House.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, if his Department's funding to improve registration will be given to local authorities that are spending (a) more than and (b) less than the average on voter registration.

All Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) have received funding, based on their levels of under-registration, to help with the costs of local activities to maximise registration, as part of the transition to Individual Electoral Registration.

Funding allocations were based on the number of non-registered people, comparing the size of the register to the 16+ population. An element was based on the number of 16-18 year olds to encourage activity in schools to register attainers.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 12 June 2012, Official Report, column 444W, on constituencies, what comparative assessment he has made of the accuracy of the (a) electoral register and (b) census.

Using population figures derived from census data would not provide a better basis for a review of constituency boundaries than using the electoral register. The electoral register is updated annually, whereas the census takes place every ten years; in addition, census figures will include persons who are not eligible to register to vote, for example on grounds of citizenship or age.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what his Office's policy is on allowing officials to appear before all-party parliamentary groups.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister for the Cabinet Office on 26 Mar 2014, Column 300W.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 6 March 2014, Official Report, column 892W, on electoral register, if the Electoral Commission will set more rigorous targets for expected registration downloads in future registration campaigns.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it always seeks to set stretching targets for its registration campaigns based on exceeding targets set for the nearest equivalent previous campaign.

The Commission will be undertaking a thorough review of how best to increase voter registration ahead of the 2015 UK General Election. This will look at lessons from previous campaigns as well as exploring new and potentially more cost efficient ways of generating public awareness about voter registration, including how best to support the work of other organisations. Rigorous targets will be set to reflect the objectives of the campaign and the fact that it will be possible to register online for the first time in Great Britain.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 26 February 2014, Official Report, columns 338-9W, on Parliamentary Advisory Group, on what date each member of the Parliamentary Advisory Group was appointed; and what the attendance record of each member has been at meetings of that Group since their appointment.

The Electoral Commission informs me that its Parliamentary Advisory Group is made up of politicians whose expertise it uses to help it consider a range of different issues. The group has no formal status so there is no specific date of appointment for members. The minutes of each Advisory Group meeting, which includes a record of the attendance at each meeting, are published on the Commission's website here:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/our-work/who-we-are/governance-and-decision-making/parliamentary-advisory-group.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answers of 3 February 2014, Official Report, columns 59-62W and 6 March 2014, Official Report, column 892W, on the electoral register, what the average planned cost for each download target for each voter registration campaign was for each of the last five elections.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it did not set specific targets for the cost per download of each registration campaign during the last five elections but that these campaigns were carefully planned to be as cost effective as possible.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what the differential turnout was between the highest and lowest income group in each general election for which such data is available.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not hold this data. Some information on how turnout varies by socio-demographic factors is available from an analysis of public opinion polls carried out by Ipsos MORI around general elections. The data for 2010 can be found here: http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/2613/How-Britain-Voted-in

To ask the Honourable Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, how many and what proportion of the Church Commissioners' Answers to Written Parliamentary Questions in the 2017-18 Session to date have referred to the information requested not being (a) collected or (b) collated centrally.

In the 2017-18 Session, to date, no answer given by the Church Commissioners has referred to the information requested not being (a) collected or (b) collated centrally.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if he will list the registration rates for students in higher education institutions in the UK in ranked order for the most recent period available.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not hold data on the registration rates of students by higher education institution.

The Commission has conducted an analysis of the results of the dry run of the confirmation process to be used during the transition to IER. This indicated that students were one of the groups less likely to be matched against the Department of Works and Pensions database.

This analysis and all the associated data is available to EROs across the country. This has allowed them to identify areas, such as those with large student populations, where they may need to target more of their resources in order to maintain or improve levels of registration.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 19 June 2012, Official Report, columns 923-4W, on electoral register: fraud, how many successful prosecutions for electoral registration fraud there were in (a) 2012, (b) 2013 and (c) 2014 to date.

The Government does not collect this data.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if he will list the local authority databases used by electoral registration officers in the dry run for individual electoral registration for the 10 authorities with the (a) best and (b) worst registration rates.

The Electoral Commission informs me that electoral registration officers (EROs) had their own discretion to use any local databases to which they had access to support their work on local data matching. After the dry run was complete the Commission conducted a voluntary survey of EROs on their use of local data following the dry run of confirmation.

Not all EROs responded to that survey so it is not possible to provide a full answer regarding all EROs with the best and worst registration rates. However, amongst the replies received, the following databases were most frequently cited:

· Council tax database

· Council tax benefits

· Housing benefits

· Registrar of births and deaths

· Housing list/Tenancy records

· Residential homes records

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the future propensity to vote of those electors who (a) use and (b) do not use their vote in the first general election after reaching the age of 18 years old.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has not made its own assessment of this issue, but is aware of the studies that have examined it.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, whether the Student Loans Company database has been used for purposes of maximising student registration.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the Student Loans Company (SLC) database was used during two data matching pilot projects which were organised by the Cabinet Office and evaluated by the Commission.

These pilots aimed to test the usefulness of giving Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) access to information held on national, public databases in order to improve the accuracy and completeness of their electoral register by identifying unregistered people.

In their evaluation of both pilots the Commission concluded that the Student Loans Company data was of limited use in identifying unregistered people.

The Commission's two evaluation reports can be found here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/146836/Data-matching-pilot-evaluation.pdf

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/156189/Data-mining-pilot-evaluation-report.pdf

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 3 December 2013, Official Report, columns 611-2W, on electoral registration officers, when the Electoral Commission will make available its final assessment of performance for 2013; and if he will make a statement.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it published its report, titled ‘Readiness for the transition to Individual Electoral Registration', which included its assessment of ERO performance in 2013, on 31 March, and tabled a written statement informing the House of this. It also wrote to the honourable member with a copy of the report and placed a copy in the House of Commons library. A copy of the Commission's statement can be found on the Parliament website: www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-vote-office/March_2014/31st-March-2014/14.Speakers-Performance-Standards.pdf

The Commission informs me that it is in the process of carrying out a detailed analysis of EROs' electoral registration data from the 2013 canvass, following which it will publish its final assessment of EROs' performance in 2013.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what discussions the Electoral Commission has had with the Office for National Statistics and other Government departments on the size of the UK population eligible to vote but not registered (a) before and (b) after the publication of its report, Great Britain's Electoral Registers 2011.

The Electoral Commission informs me that its 2011 report on Great Britain's electoral registers provided an assessment of the accuracy and completeness of the electoral registers in force in December 2010 and April 2011 using a house-to-house survey methodology.

The Commission always intended to also carry out an assessment of the same registers by matching them against census data. It has therefore been having discussions with the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the National Records of Scotland (NRS) and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) since 2010.

The Commission expects to publish reports on England, Wales and Scotland in summer 2014. The timing of the work in Northern Ireland is still the subject of discussions with NISRA.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 3 December 2013, Official Report, columns 611-2W, on electoral registration officers, which local authorities failed to meet performance standard 1 on using local government databases, in each year for which information is available.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) who did not meet performance standard 1 in each year from 2008 to 2010 are shown in the table below. No EROs have been assessed as not meeting this standard in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Table: EROs not meeting Performance Standard 1

2008

2009

2010

Barnsley

Bradford

Barnsley

Berwick-upon-Tweed

Nottingham

Nottingham

Blaby

Sefton

Blackburn with Darwen

Brentwood

Chester-le-street*

Durham*

Harborough

Ipswich

North East Derbyshire

North Lanarkshire**

Nottingham

Sutton

South Lanarkshire**

Three Rivers

Windsor and Maidenhead

Weymouth and Portland

Walsall

*Chester-le Street and Durham are now part of County Durham unitary authority.

**North and South Lanarkshire are covered by one ERO

The Electoral Commission also informs me that it published its report, titled ‘Readiness for the transition to Individual Electoral Registration', which included its assessment of ERO performance in 2013, on 31 March, and wrote to the honourable member with a copy of the report. The report explains that all EROs reported that they were meeting or exceeding standard 1 in 2013, and that the Commission is in the process of conducting a detailed analysis of EROs' electoral registration data from the 2013 canvass, following which it will publish its final assessment of EROs' performance.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which local authorities in Great Britain failed the Standard Three performance standard for the completeness and accuracy of electoral registration records in 2013.

The Electoral Commission informs me that this information was published and tabled in a written statement to the House on 31 March. The Commission has written to the hon. Member with a copy of the report.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if he will list each local authority database used by electoral registration offices in the dry run for individual electoral registration (IER) for the 10 local authorities with the (a) best and (b) worst registration rates during the IER dry run.

The Electoral Commission informs me that this information was provided to the Hon. Member in the answer to Question 191356.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 29 January 2014, Official Report, column 620W, on the electoral register, what progress the Electoral Commission has made in improving registration rates of attainers; and what measures the Electoral Commission uses to judge its performance of increasing registration rates of attainers.

The Electoral Commission informs me that Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) are responsible for maintaining the electoral register in their local areas. The Electoral Commission supports them in this work in a number of ways, including by targeting its performance standards to help ensure that they understand the particular challenges in their registration area and develop plans to address these and improve registration rates.

The Commission refers the hon. gentleman to its earlier reply of 29 January 2014 in which it outlined the steps it was taking to register attainers.

It is not possible to isolate registration form downloads from the Commission's www.aboutmyvote.co.uk website by demographic, however it does regularly review what media channels are most used by attainers, for example Video On Demand (VOD). This ensures that its campaigns are targeted as effectively as possible.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what recent assessment the Electoral Commission has made of reasons for differential turnout between socio-economic groups.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has not made its own assessment of the reasons for differential turnout between socio-economic groups. However, the Commission is aware of the fact of differential turnout between not only social but demographic and other groups and targets its campaigns accordingly.

For instance, the Commission ensures that its campaigns reach young people by advertising on channels used by that demographic, including Facebook and video-on-demand services, and that its television adverts are frequently placed during programmes with a high viewership amongst young people.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, with which (a) mobile telephone companies, (b) voluntary groups and (c) travel card providers the Electoral Commission is working to improve registration rates of young people.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it continues to work to identify partners for its work on IER. As agreements are put in place, it will make these available on its website and will inform the honourable member when the first batch is published.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 29 January 2014, Official Report, columns 622-3W, on the Electoral Register: fraud, if the Electoral Commission will make an assessment of (a) the effect of the views of politicians and (b) statements by the Electoral Commission on public perception of electoral registration.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not have any current plans to carry out research to make such an assessment.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 29 November 2013, Official Report, columns 455-6W, on the Electoral Register, for what reasons the electoral commission has no plans to undertake a direct assessment of registration rates in specific university towns and cities.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it will undertake analysis of the impact of the transition to IER for all local authorities, which will include all university towns and cities, throughout the transition period. This will include publishing data by local authority, and in some cases by electoral ward, at several points during the transition period.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 29 January 2014, Official Report, columns 622-3W, on the Electoral Register: fraud, what comparative assessment he has made of the level of concern about electoral fraud in the UK and other EU countries.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it regularly monitors comparative international research on electoral matters. Comparing the UK with other countries around the world, Gallup polls place the UK in the top third of countries in terms of confidence in the honesty of the electoral process.

The most recently available Gallup data from 2007-08, showed that 40% of UK respondents said they did not have confidence in the honesty of elections in the UK. This was slightly lower than the findings from Germany (44%) and Italy (43%), but significantly higher than those from Denmark (5%), Finland (8%) and Sweden (8%).

Full findings are at the following link:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/111691/Worldwide-Views-Diverge-About-Honesty-Elections.aspx

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 29 November 2013, Official Report, columns 455-6W, on the Electoral Register, if he will place in the Library a copy of the Electoral Commission's review of public engagement strategies.

The Electoral Commission informs me that its Report, titled ‘Readiness for the transition to Individual Electoral Registration' was published on 31 March with a copy placed in the House Library. The Commission's report includes the conclusions of its assessment of all Electoral Registration Officers' (EROs') public engagement strategies, which found that all EROs have the right plans in place to identify the challenges for their particular local area and what mechanisms they will use to engage with residents to maximise registration. The Commission has also written to the honourable member with a copy of its report.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what assessment he has made of how many and what proportion of electoral registration officers (EROs) conducted data matching activities for the purpose of improving individual electoral registration; and what steps he can take against EROs who did not conduct such data matching activities.

As Individual Electoral Registration (IER) will be introduced from 10 June 2014 an assessment has not yet been made.

In line with current practice, once IER is in place the performance of Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) will be monitored through the performance standards of the Electoral Commission.


To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, which local authorities who have failed one or more Electoral Commission performance indicators for electoral registration did not apply for the additional funding his Office has put in place.

In 2013 five Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) reported that they did not meet performance standard 3, relating to house-to-house enquiries: Mid Devon; Taunton Deane; Torridge; West Devon; and West Somerset. One ERO, Basildon, reported that they did not meet standard 1, relating to information sources.

The Electoral Commission is in the process of carrying out a detailed analysis of EROs' electoral registration data from the 2013 canvass, following which it will publish its final assessment of EROs' performance in 2013.

No authorities who failed one or more Electoral Commission performance indicators in Financial Year 13-14 have applied for the additional funding.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what the ranked order of spending per person on electoral registration by local authorities was for the last year for which figures are available.

A copy of the information requested by the hon. Gentleman has been placed in the Library.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what information he holds on how much (a) central and (b) local government spent on advertising to promote voter registration in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available.

This information is not held centrally.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what recent assessment he has made of the merits of using vehicle registration databases held by the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Authority to increase levels of voter registration as part of his plans for individual electoral registration.

Officials are currently working with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to pilot the use of data from vehicle registration databases and driver licence data to improve levels of voter registration.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the profile of the electors who were not data matched on (a) national government data bases and (b) local government data bases for purposes of individual electoral registration.

The Electoral Commission informs me that its report on the dry run of the confirmation process, through which electors will be matched against the Department for Work and Pensions database, provides a full analysis of the socio-demographic factors associated with low match rates. The report can be found here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/163144/Confirmation-Dry-run-2013-Results-report.pdf

The Commission also informs me that it was not possible to conduct a similar analysis on the results of local data matching as not all local authorities reported on their activities.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what the main lessons were from the electoral registration dry run for registration levels under individual voter registration amongst (a) black and ethnic minority, (b) young and (c) low paid and unemployed people.
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what comparative assessment he has made of the estimates made by (a) Experian and (b) the Electoral Commission of the number of unregistered voters in the UK.

The Government funded the Electoral Commission's 2011 research into the completeness and accuracy of the electoral register. This informed the approach to the transition to Individual Electoral Registration, including the use of data matching to confirm the majority of current electors on the existing register without their having to make a new application, and the phasing of the transition over two years, which means no one who registered to vote at the last canvass will lose their right to vote at the General Election. Alongside this the Government is funding all local authorities in Great Britain and five national organisations to take steps to boost the completeness and accuracy of the register.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what comparative assessment he has made of the data matching levels of those electoral registration officers who (a) did and (b) did not use local government data matching in the Individual Electoral Registration dry run.

All 380 EROs in England, Wales and Scotland took part in the Confirmation Dry Run in 2013 which involved matching their electoral registers against data held by the Department for Work and Pensions. The average match rate was approximately 78%.

Following this, 138 local authorities conducted data matching against locally held data sources, such as council tax records. On average this increased these local authorities' match rates by approximately 7%.

The full evaluation of the Confirmation Dry Run, including local data matching activity, is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/evaluation-confirming-electors-through-data-matching

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many postal votes there were as a proportion of those issued in the top 100 constituencies in turnout ranked order at the 2010 General Election.

The Electoral Commission informs me that a table showing the a) number of postal votes issued as a proportion of the total electorate and b) number of postal votes returned as a proportion of the number issued, across the 100 constituencies with the highest turnout at the 2010 General Election, has been deposited in the Library.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, if he will extend the carryover of electors from household registration to individual registration from the General Election 2015 to the freeze date for the next boundary review in December 2015.

The Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 provides for those who have not registered under (Individual Electoral Registration) to be ‘carried forward' until December 2016, at which point they will be removed from the register if they have not made a successful application to register. The Act contains a provision that allows an Order to be made in Parliament in the summer of 2015 that will conclude ‘carry forward' in December 2015.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 19 March 2014, Official Report, columns 654-5, on electoral register, if the Electoral Commission will publish the results of all research it has conducted into the size of the electorate.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it publishes all of its completed research on electoral registration on its website, here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/our-work/our-research/electoral-registration-research

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the use of the telephone to confirm continued entitlement to electoral registration; and which local authorities use telephones for that purpose.

The Electoral Commission collates information on canvass responses (including responses by telephone) as part of its assessment of Electoral Registration Officers' performance. This data can be found on their website at –

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/performance-standards/performance-in-running-electoral-registration.

To ask the Prime Minister, how many and what proportion of her Office's Answers to Written Parliamentary Questions in the 2017-18 Session to date have referred to the information requested not being (a) collected or (b) collated centrally.

My answers to Written Parliamentary Questions can be found in the Official Report.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what research the Electoral Commission has commissioned into online voting.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it carried out and published extensive public opinion research and technical analysis to support its statutory evaluation of online voting pilot schemes between 2002 and 2007.

The Commission has also included questions relating to online voting in its public opinion research. Most recently, the Commission's 2013 winter tracker public opinion survey found that among those not ‘very confident' that elections in Great Britain/Northern Ireland are well run, just over half (51%) think that making it possible to vote online would increase their confidence ‘a lot' or ‘a little'.

The full winter tracker survey results can be found here:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/our-work/our-research/public-opinion-surveys

The Commission will draw on this research and any other relevant evidence as it develops a strategy for modernising elections to further build on the advances that are already planned, such as the new online registration system that will be launched in the summer, and as set out in the Commission Chair's recent speech on this issue, which can be found on its website here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/our-work/our-views/letters-and-speeches

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, if he will consider the merits of ring-fencing funds allocated by his Office to local government for the purpose of voter registration.

Both the paper forms and the new online registration channel to be used under Individual Electoral Registration have been designed to meet a wide range of accessibility needs. The Government has no current plans to commission such research, but the Electoral Commission is currently aiming to publish its assessment of registration rates under individual electoral registration in July 2016.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the introduction of online voting in (a) Australia and (b) South Africa and its relevance to the UK.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it monitors developments in voting technology in other countries, including the limited online voting pilot schemes which have so far taken place at an individual state level in Australia. South African overseas voters can go online to register to vote, but cannot actually vote online.

The Commission will continue to take account of relevant experience from other comparable democracies as it develops a strategy for modernising voting at elections in the UK.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, if he will make it his policy to collate information on the (a) amount spent by local authorities on electoral registration, (b) number of staff employed by local authorities on electoral registration and (c) local authorities with the (i) highest and (ii) lowest levels of electoral registration.

Following the transition to the Individual Electoral Registration. The Electoral Commission aims to establish a model which can provide detailed information on financial spend by Electoral Registration Officers and Returning Officers, and the activities the expenditure relates to, including the impact on performance.

The Office of National Statistics already holds information on those local authorities with the highest and lowest levels of registration.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 19 March 2014, Official Report, column 655W, on electoral register, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the reasons for the increase between December 2000 and April 2011 in the proportion of eligible people not registered at their current address.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has set out its analysis of the key reasons for the decline in levels of registration in this period in two reports – ‘The completeness and accuracy of electoral registers in Great Britain' and ‘Great Britain's electoral registers'.

Both reports can be found here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/our-work/our-research/electoral-registration-research

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, which local authorities have achieved the highest increase in levels of voter registration in the last two years; and what steps his Department has taken to ensure that the practices leading to such increases are adopted in other local authorities.

In 2012/13 the areas with the five largest percentage increases in the numbers registered on the local government register of electors were:

Tower Hamlets

Wycombe

Cambridge

East Lindsey

City of Edinburgh

In 2011/12 the areas were:

Clackmannanshire

Thanet

West Lothian

City of Edinburgh

Shropshire UA

The Government encourages local authorities to share best practice through the Expert Panel of electoral administrators, and various other forums in place to deliver Individual Electoral Registration.

Guidance has also been available on the Association of Electoral Administrators' website with examples of good practice which electoral registration officers can use to shape their work.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 6 June 2011, Official Report, columns 625-6W, on the electoral register, what assessment he has made of the effect of the ending of the Participation Fund on voter registration levels before the introduction of individual electoral registration.

As part of the transition to Individual Electoral Registration, the Electoral Commission has been responsible for conducting research into the completeness and accuracy of the register. Their previous report, following the conclusion of the Participation Fund, can be found at:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/145366/Great-Britains-electoral-registers-2011.pdf.

The Electoral Commission will be publishing a further assessment of the completeness and accuracy of the register in Summer 2014.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 20 October 2011, Official Report, column 1099W, on electoral register, what proportion of pupils between the ages of 16 and 18 on the National Pupil Database were registered to vote in each year for which data is available.

The information requested is not held centrally.

The National Pupil Database does not include information on pupils' eligibility to be registered.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what the voter registration rate was for 18 year olds in each of the last 30 years.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not hold figures on the registration rates for 18 year olds in each of the last 30 years.

However, it does hold estimates of registration rates for age groups from several studies conducted on the accuracy and completeness of the electoral registers in Great Britain.

Register

Age band

Registration rate

Study conducted by

April 2011

(Great Britain)

17-18

55%

Electoral Commission (EC)

19-24

56%

February 2001

(England and Wales)

18-24

84%

EC and Office for National Statistics

February 1991

(Great Britain)

18-19

88%

Office of Population Census and Surveys – Social Survey Division

February 1981

(Great Britain)

18-19

87%

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what advice the Electoral Commission has given to electoral registration officers on the necessity of conducting local government data matching for the purposes of transition to individual electoral registration.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has published comprehensive guidance for Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) on their duties to maintain the electoral registers under Individual Electoral Registration (IER), including on using local data to identify and target potential electors and to verify and validate data held on the registers.

The Commission also informs me that the Lord President of the Council has issued Ministerial guidance on IER which EROs must, by law, have regard to. This includes guidance on using local data as part of the confirmation process of data-matching existing electors' details and the verification process for verifying applicants' identity.

The Commission's guidance, which incorporates the Ministerial guidance, is available on its website at:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/electoral-administrator/running-electoral-registration

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what proportion of armed services personnel were registered to vote in each of the last thirty years.

The information requested is not held centrally.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 10 April 2014, Official Report, columns 305-6W, on electoral register, if the Electoral Commission will start to collect the number of visits that ERO's staff make to individual non-responding households as part of their activities to maintain the electoral register.

The Electoral Commission informs me that as part of its monitoring of the transition to Individual Electoral Registration (IER) it will collect data from all EROs at key stages during the transition which will demonstrate the progress EROs are making in implementing IER in their local area. This will not, however, include detailed operational information that EROs will record and monitor locally about the specific interactions they have with individual electors, including the numbers of household visits made by their staff.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, how much was spent by the Government on encouraging people to register to vote in each year since 2010.

The Government spent £54,708 in 2010/11 on promoting electoral registration, voting and awareness of election processes through the Participation Fund. The Fund was subsequently abolished because of lack of demand from local authorities.

The Government announced a new approach on 5 February 2014, making £4.2 million available to all 363 local authorities and valuation joint boards in Great Britain and five national organisations to support the costs of activities for maximising registration as part of the transition to Individual Electoral Registration.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 8 April 2014, Official Report, column 193W, on electoral register, if the Electoral Commission will introduce public awards for electoral registration officers who have set best practice in the UK.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it will consider the idea of awards as part of work it is already undertaking with the UK Electoral Advisory Board and the wider electoral community ahead of the 2015 UK Parliamentary general election to explore options for identifying, recognising and sharing what works well in electoral administration.

The Electoral Commission also informs me that it already provides comprehensive guidance, tools and templates for Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) which have been developed in consultation with the electoral community and which contain examples of tactics and activities that can be employed by EROs locally. Additionally, in monitoring preparations for the transition to Individual Electoral Registration, the Commission has already worked to facilitate sharing of knowledge and experiences between EROs facing similar challenges, and intends to build on this throughout the transition, supporting timely identification and sharing of what works and what doesn't.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 3 April 2014, Official Report, column 766W, on electoral register, in which cases numbers of electors registered to vote in the transition from individual electoral registration will be monitored at an electoral ward level.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it will collect and publish the results of the confirmation data matching process for all electoral wards in Great Britain. These will be available in late-summer 2014.

The Commission also informs me that subsequently data will be collected and published at a local authority level. This will take place after the publication of the December 2014 register and at the time of the 2015 UK parliamentary general election. However, the Commission may choose to ask for more detailed ward statistics from individual EROs if it has concerns around the implementation of individual electoral registration in a particular area.

The Commission also expects electoral registration officers to be monitoring their own data on registrations at ward level, or below, throughout the transition to individual electoral registration, and to communicate them locally to elected representatives and others.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 14 June 2010, Official Report, column 324W, on the electoral register, who is responsible for assessing the performance of the Electoral Commission in (a) monitoring and (b) increasing the electoral registration rates of individual local authorities.

The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (2000) established the Electoral Commission as independent of Government. It is accountable to Parliament through the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 11 October 2011, Official Report, column 344W, on electoral register: standards, if he will make it his policy to collect information on the proportion of post-primary schools and further education colleges visited by electoral administrators in all parts of the UK.

The Government has no such plans. It recognises that electoral registration officers are best placed to determine what type of registration activity is likely to prove most effective at a local level.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 11 October 2011, Official Report, column 343W, on electoral register, what steps he has taken to ensure that aspects of good practice in Northern Ireland are adopted elsewhere in the UK.

This Government has taken on board the lessons of the 2002 introduction of Individual Electoral Registration in Northern Ireland. A number of safeguards are in place for the transition that were not used in 2002. For example data matching will allow the vast majority of electors to automatically re-register and the transition is being phased over two years to allow those not yet individually registered to vote in the 2015 General Election.

Funding has been made available to all 363 local authorities and valuation joint boards in Great Britain. Electoral registration officers have been encouraged to use this funding to support the delivery of the Rock Enrol! learning resource.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what (a) central government and (b) local government databases electoral registration officers may use in undertaking their registration functions.

The introduction of Individual Electoral Registration (IER) will require Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) to confirm existing electors and verify all new applicants to register to vote against data held by the Department of Work and Pensions and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. In addition, the Government is currently exploring using data held by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to further enhance the IER data matching processes as well as providing EROs with information which may help them identify unregistered eligible people.

Under existing legislation EROs are entitled to inspect any data held by the local authority which appointed them, including data held by private companies acting on behalf of the authority, in order to check the validity of applications to register and to identify potential new electors. The data sources which are available to EROs will vary with some EROs appointed by unitary authorities having access to a greater range of data than those appointed by district councils; the Government has introduced secondary legislation to address this issue by allowing district councils to request data from their county council.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 20 October 2011, Official Report, column 1099W, on electoral register, what the results were of the pilot scheme data matching electoral registers against other data services such as the National Pupil Database.
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 28 January 2014, Official Report, column 510W, on Electoral Register: young people, what steps his Department has taken to circulate the Rock Enrol! resources to (a) hon. Members, (b) members of the European Parliament, (c) members of the Scottish Parliament, members of the Legislative Assembly and Assembly members, (d) local councillors, (e) schools, colleges and universities and (f) local education authorities.

The government has made available £4.2 million funding to all 363 local authorities (LAs) and valuation joint boards (VJBs) in Great Britain. The Government has written to Electoral Registration Officers and encouraged them to use this funding to support the delivery of Rock Enrol! in their area. Officials will continue to work closely with LA/VJBs in order to monitor and measure the outcomes.

The Government is supportive of organisations that promote democratic engagement such as Bite the Ballot and welcomes lessons from their experiences.The Rock Enrol! learning resource is freely available on the gov.uk and Times Education Supplement websites amongst others. The Government is also working with a range of organisations, including the Association of Citizenship Teachers, to promote the use of Rock Enrol!

For details of the Electoral Commission's registration activities I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given by the Hon. Member for South West Devon on 22 January 2014, Official Report, column 209W [183573].

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of levels of expenditure of electoral registration measures on levels of registration.

The Government has made no recent assessment of the effect of levels of expenditure of electoral registration measures on levels of registration.

The Government announced on 5th February 2014 that five national organisations and every local authority in Great Britain would be sharing £4.2 million funding aimed at maximising the rate of voter registration as part of the transition to Individual Electoral Registration in 2014.

They have been provided with guidance to support them in evaluating the success of activity delivered through this funding. Government will continue to work closely with all funding recipients in order to monitor the outcomes.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what recent assessment he has made of the compatability of software used by local authorities for electoral registration and that used by (a) the Electoral Commission and (b) his own Department.

In developing the digital service which supports the implementation of Individual Electoral Registration (IER), the Government has ensured the compatibility of Election Management System (EMS) software used by local authorities and valuation joint boards with the mechanisms which will manage the transfer and matching of data. This has been achieved by developing an interface which standardises the communication of data between EMS software and the IER Digital Service. This has been fully and successfully tested.

The Electoral Commission has no direct responsibility for the processing or determination of registration applications and therefore has no requirement to interact with the digital service.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the merits of auto enrolment of young people at the time they are given their national insurance number.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it will carefully consider with the Cabinet Office any proposals such as this for improving the efficiency of electoral registration processes as it monitors the implementation of individual electoral registration during 2014 and 2015. If such proposals appear to be viable, the Commission will recommend that the Government brings forward any necessary measures to allow them to take place once the transition to individual electoral registration is complete.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 20 July 2010, Official Report, column 298W, on electoral register, how many electoral registration officers have been convicted of an offence related to failure to take sufficient steps to register electors under section 9A of the Electoral Registration Act 2006.

The Government is not aware of any Electoral Registration Officer being convicted of an offence related to their statutory duty to take all reasonable steps to maintain the completeness and accuracy of the register.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 28 Janaury 2014, Official Report, column 510W, on the electoral register, what estimate his Department has made of the number of young people registered through Bite the Ballot; what the average cost to the public purse was of each registration through Bite the Ballot; and what the average cost to the public purse has been of each registration arising from the registration campaigns of (a) the Electoral Commission and (b) his Department.

The government has made available £4.2 million funding to all 363 local authorities (LAs) and valuation joint boards (VJBs) in Great Britain. The Government has written to Electoral Registration Officers and encouraged them to use this funding to support the delivery of Rock Enrol! in their area. Officials will continue to work closely with LA/VJBs in order to monitor and measure the outcomes.

The Government is supportive of organisations that promote democratic engagement such as Bite the Ballot and welcomes lessons from their experiences.The Rock Enrol! learning resource is freely available on the gov.uk and Times Education Supplement websites amongst others. The Government is also working with a range of organisations, including the Association of Citizenship Teachers, to promote the use of Rock Enrol!

For details of the Electoral Commission's registration activities I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given by the Hon. Member for South West Devon on 22 January 2014, Official Report, column 209W [183573].

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 6 September 2010, Official Report, column 304W, on electoral register, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to provide for penalties against local authorities which fail to provide sufficient funding and resources to enable electoral registration officers to fulfil their statutory responsibilities.

Section 54 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 sets out that any expenses properly incurred by an ERO in the performance of their functions must be paid by the local authority that appointed them.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 6 September 2010, Official Report, column 302W, on electoral register, what additional research has been conducted into the reasons for the apparent decline in registration levels and the growth of local and regional variations in electoral registration.

The Electoral Commission is currently conducting research into the completeness and accuracy of Electoral registers which will be published in Summer 2014.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, how many and what proportion of adults in (a) the UK and (b) the smallest geographical areas in the UK for which information is held are functionally illiterate.

The 2011 Skills for Life survey provides an estimate of adult literacy levels for people aged between 16 and 65 years-old in England, based on fieldwork conducted between May 2010 and February 2011. The headline findings of the survey were published in December 2011.[1] The survey results show that 14.9 per cent (5.1 million) of people had a literacy level below Level 1. Level 1 is viewed as the Level required to be ‘functionally literate', the level needed to get by in life and at work,[2] and so people below this level could be defined as having a low level of literacy. Level 1 is equivalent to GCSE grades D-G. Adults with skills below Level 1 can read or write, but their skills may be limited, for example, they may not be able to read bus or train timetables.

The 2011 Skills for Life survey also provided Small Area modelled estimates[3] for sub-regional geographies. This analysis provides estimates of the proportions and numbers of people above and below the ‘functional literacy' threshold (i.e. National Qualification Framework Level 1) for sub-regional geographies in England. The smallest geographical area reported in this analysis are middle-layer super output areas – these are small areas of consistent size (of about 7,200 people) used for the collection and reporting of small area statistics by the Office of National Statistics.

The recent OECD Survey of Adult Skills, published in 2013, based on fieldwork August 2011 and March 2012, included estimates of UK literacy levels, based on England and Northern Ireland (Scotland and Wales did not participate in the survey). National reports for England and Northern Ireland[4] based on the OECD survey note that 17 per cent of adults in England had low proficiency in literacy (i.e. at or below the OECD Level 1 in literacy, roughly equivalent to below NQF Level 1 literacy), compared to 18 per cent in Northern Ireland.


[1] TNS-BMRB and AlphaPlus Consultancy Ltd. (2011) 2011 Skills for Life survey: headline findings, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, BIS research paper 57. Available online at: http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/further-education-skills/docs/0-9/11-1367-2011-skills-for-life-survey-findings.pdf, accessed on 07/05/2014.

[2] As defined in the Leitch review of skills. See Leitch, S. (2006) Prosperity for All in the Global Economy – world class skills, available online at: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/6/4/leitch_finalreport051206.pdf, accessed on 07/05/2014: page 61-62.

[3] Available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/2011-skills-for-life-survey-small-area-estimation-data, accessed on 6/2/14.

[4] NFER (2013) The International Survey of Adult Skills: adult literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills in England, BIS research report 139. Available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/246534/bis-13-1221-international-survey-of-adult-skills-2012.pdf, accessed on 07/05/14.; NFER (2013) The International Survey of Adult Skills: adult literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills in Northern Ireland, Department for Employment and Learning. Available online at: http://www.delni.gov.uk/international-survey-adult-skills-2012.pdf, accessed on 07/05/14.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the potential benefits of using (a) student unions and (b) other university and college venues as polling stations.

The Electoral Commission informs me that between 2002 and 2007 a number of English local authorities piloted the use of alternative locations as polling stations, although these did not include student unions or other university and college premises. The locations included railway stations, supermarkets, libraries and other local authority venues.

The Commission's statutory evaluation of the pilot schemes concluded that the convenience of voting at alternative locations was appreciated by some voters, although the impact on turnout was minimal.

At present, the legislation provides that Returning Officers may use certain publicly-funded schools or “rooms funded out of any rate” free of charge as premises for polling stations. The Electoral Commission has recommended that Returning Officers should be permitted to use a wider range of publicly-funded buildings as polling stations.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what percentage of those registered to vote by post did so in (a) police commissioner elections and (b) the local European elections in each electoral area; and what the percentage turnout was at polling stations in each election and in each area.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the turnout figures at the Police and Crime Commissioner elections were as follows:

2012 Police and Crime Commissioner elections

In-person turnout %

Postal voter turnout %

England and Wales

9.2

48.2

Avon and Somerset

13.8

52.1

Bedfordshire

13.2

52.3

Cambridgeshire

10.5

49.7

Cheshire

8.4

48.6

Cleveland

9.0

48.9

Cumbria

10.1

50.1

Derbyshire

8.2

49.5

Devon and Cornwall

10.1

43.8

Dorset

11.3

53.5

Durham

6.7

45.2

Essex

8.3

48.3

Gloucestershire

11.4

48.1

Greater Manchester

7.3

44.5

Hampshire

9.5

50.0

Hertfordshire

8.2

48.9

Humberside

14.5

60.0

Kent

10.5

52.5

Lancashire

7.9

49.7

Leicestershire

11.2

52.0

Lincolnshire

10.6

49.1

Merseyside

6.3

48.5

Norfolk

9.5

49.0

North Yorkshire

9.0

46.3

Northamptonshire

12.9

50.8

Northumbria

6.3

44.1

Nottinghamshire

9.8

53.2

South Yorkshire

6.1

46.7

Staffordshire

6.9

48.8

Suffolk

10.3

50.4

Surrey

9.9

48.9

Sussex

10.1

49.6

Thames Valley

8.7

45.4

Warwickshire

10.3

54.1

West Mercia

8.4

47.5

West Midlands

8.6

47.4

West Yorkshire

7.3

47.1

Wiltshire

10.3

44.7

Dyfed-Powys

11.3

46.4

Gwent

8.3

44.2

North Wales

9.8

47.2

South Wales

8.6

44.7

The turnout figures at the 2009 European Parliament elections were:

2009 English European elections

In-person turnout %

Postal voter turnout %

United Kingdom

30.3

64.4

Great Britain

29.9

64.4

England

30.8

64.7

Northern Ireland

42.6

68.9

Scotland

24.4

63.3

Wales

25.4

61.7

London

30.0

61.2

South West

34.8

67.7

South East

33.5

67.8

Eastern

34.0

66.7

West Midlands

31.3

66.1

East Midlands

32.8

66.9

Yorkshire & the Humber

26.8

63.4

North East

21.4

59.4

North West

26.3

63.0

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Electoral Commission will make a copy of its recommended registration form for individual electoral registration available to the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee; and if he will place a copy of that form in the Library.

The Electoral Commission informs me that a copy of the relevant information will be sent to the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee. Copies will also be placed in the Library. The Commission has provided EROs with English and Welsh language versions of its form designs, in both colour and mono.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which local authority (a) augmented and (b) did not augment Department for Work and Pensions data matching with the electoral register with local authority data matching.

The Electoral Commission informs me that 137 local authorities provided data to them on their local data matching activities following the trial of matching with the DWP in 2013. The table below lists these local authorities. Those that did not provide data may still have carried out local data matching work.

Reported on local data matching activities

Amber Valley

Argyll & Bute

Ashfield

Aylesbury Vale

Barking & Dagenham

Bassetlaw

Bath & North East Somerset

Bexley

Blaby

Bolsover

Bournemouth

Bracknell Forest

Brighton & Hove

Bromley

Bromsgrove

Broxbourne

Broxtowe

Burnley

Calderdale

Canterbury

Carlisle

Central Bedfordshire

Ceredigion

Cheltenham

Christchurch

Conwy

Coventry

Dartford

Daventry

Denbighshire

Derbyshire Dales

Dudley

Dumfries & Galloway

Durham

East Dorset

East Dunbartonshire

East Lindsey

East Lothian

East Northamptonshire

East Renfrewshire

Eastleigh

Eden

Edinburgh, City of

Elmbridge

Flintshire

Forest of Dean

Gosport

Gravesham

Guildford

Gwynedd

Halton

Hambleton

Hammersmith & Fulham

Harborough

Harrogate

Hastings

Havant

Herefordshire

High Peak

Hillingdon

Hyndburn

Inverclyde

Ipswich

Kensington and Chelsea

Kettering

Kingston upon Thames

Lewisham

Lincoln

Luton

Mansfield

Medway

Melton

Midlothian

Milton Keynes

Mole Valley

Neath Port Talbot

New Forest

Newport

North Dorset

North Kesteven

North Lincolnshire

North Somerset

North Tyneside

North Warwickshire

North West Leicestershire

Nottingham

Orkney Islands

Oxford

Pendle

Poole

Purbeck

Redcar & Cleveland

Redditch

Renfrewshire

Richmond upon Thames

Richmondshire

Rossendale

Rotherham

Rushcliffe

Rushmoor

Sandwell

Sedgemoor

Sefton

Sheffield

Shepway

Shropshire

South Derbyshire

South Gloucestershire

South Kesteven

South Ribble

Southend-on-Sea

St Edmundsbury

St. Helens

Staffordshire Moorlands

Stockport

Surrey Heath

Swale

Swindon

Tamworth

Tandridge

Thanet

Thurrock

Tonbridge & Malling

Walsall

Warrington

Watford

Waverley

West Berkshire

West Dunbartonshire

West Lindsey

West Lothian

Wigan

Wiltshire

Wolverhampton

Wychavon

Wyre

York

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many and what proportion of electoral registration officers conducted data matching of local government databases for the purposes of the dry run for individual electoral registration; and if he will make a statement.

The Electoral Commission informs me that 137 electoral registration officers (EROs) reported results of the local data matching activities they had undertaken following the confirmation dry run in 2013. However, there may have been other EROs that undertook the work but did not report on their findings.

A survey of EROs, issued by the Commission at the time of the dry run, found that 91% of the 316 respondents said that local data matching would be important in their area during the live run of confirmation. The Commission will report on the full results of the live run of confirmation later in 2014 and this will include the results of local data matching, where available.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what assessment he has made of the outcome of his Department's matching of the electoral register with Department for Work and Pensions data in communities with (a) seaside towns and (b) towns with high student populations; and what effect this work will have on the size of electorates in these constituencies.

As part of the transition to Individual Electoral Registration (IER), entries on the electoral register will be matched against data held by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for the purposes of confirming existing electors, a process which will simplify the transition for the majority of existing electors. Last year the Cabinet Office undertook pilots to test this process and we published our evaluation of these pilots earlier this year which is available to download from:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/simplifying-the-transition-to-individual-electoral-registration

The evaluation report includes an analysis of match rates by population groups and while no specific analysis was undertaken of seaside towns, the results did suggest that match rates were lower in areas with high student populations. However, anyone who cannot be confirmed will still be invited to register individually and will retain their ability to vote in the 2015 general election. By using confirmation to simplify the process for the majority of electors it means resources can be focused on maximising registration among those people who cannot be confirmed, including individuals who are not currently registered. We are also currently running a separate set of pilots exploring whether data matching against DWP and other trusted national data sets can be used to find potential electors who are not currently registered but may be eligible to do so, in order to invite them to register. The results of the pilots, which are specifically targeted at boosting registrations among students, attainers and home-movers, will be published in the summer.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which local authority databases may be consulted by local authority electoral registration officers for the purpose of data matching for the electoral register.

The Electoral Commission informs me that Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) are entitled to access any records kept in any form by the local authority which appointed them, for the purpose of meeting their registration duties. These records may include, for example, council tax, social services and education records. Access to these records serves a dual purpose: to identify potential new electors and to check that registered electors continue to be eligible to be registered.

As direct access to records is limited to records held by the appointing authority, in those parts of England where there are two tiers of local government, EROs are currently unable to directly access county council records (such as education records). The Commission understands that the Government is planning to legislate to enable records held by county councils to be shared with EROs for the purposes of maintaining and improving the accuracy and completeness of electoral registers.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which electoral registration officers identified themselves as below standard at using information services to verify entries in the register of electors and identify potential new electors in the latest period for which figures are available.

The Electoral Commission informs me that in 2013 no Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) reported performing below the standard for performance standard 1, which aims to ensure that EROs use appropriate sources of information to verify records on the register of electors and to identify and contact potential new electors throughout the year.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Electoral Commission will place in the Library a copy of the newly-designed Household Registration Form and the Invitation to Register forms.

The Electoral Commission informs me that these forms have been formally approved by the Minister of State, and as such the Cabinet Office will be placing them in the Library shortly.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which local authorities have initiated proceedings for failure to complete and return an annual electoral registration return in the latest period for which figures are available.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the following Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) reported that they had initiated prosecutions as a result of a failure to respond to the 2012 annual canvass: East Staffordshire; Gravesham; Nottingham; London Borough of Tower Hamlets; Warrington.

The Commission also informs me that it is in the process of analysing the detailed registration data relating to the 2013 canvass, and that once this work has been completed, it will publish the full data set, which will include information on which local authorities initiated proceedings for failure to complete and return an annual canvass form in 2013.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which local authority had the biggest percentage (a) increase and (b) decrease in electoral registration in each year since 2010.

The Electoral Commission informs me that there are no reliable yearly estimates of levels of registration at a local authority level.

The Office for National Statistics publishes total electorates for each local authority on an annual basis. This data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/pop-estimate/electoral-statistics-for-uk/2013/index.html

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what the main reasons given by electoral registration officers were for not conducting data matching activities for the purpose of individual electoral registration.

The Commission informs me that the use of local data-matching to support confirmation and verification under Individual Electoral Registration (IER) is at the discretion of Electoral Registration Officers (EROs). Ministerial guidance sets out the considerations EROs should take into account in determining whether to conduct local data matching for these purposes, which includes an assessment of the costs and benefits of doing so in their local area.

Following the dry-run of the confirmation exercise in summer 2013, 137 EROs reported to the Commission on the trials that they had carried out of local data-matching to support the confirmation process. The reasons given by EROs for not carrying out local data-matching at that time included a lack of staff resources and an already high match rate. However, in a survey of EROs after the dry-run, 91% of respondents said that local data-matching would be important in their area during the confirmation live run in 2014.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made on the viability of permitting people to vote in any polling station in their constituency or local authority area.

The Electoral Commission informs me that permitting people to vote electronically at any polling station within a specific ward or local authority area was piloted by a number of English local authorities between 2002 and 2007 as part of the previous UK Government's electoral pilot scheme programme.

The Commission's statutory evaluation of the pilot schemes concluded that while some people welcomed the convenience of “vote anywhere” polling stations, the impact on turnout was minimal and there were significant technical problems associated with the facility in some areas.

The Commission has recommended that there should be no further piloting of electronic voting – including “vote anywhere” polling stations – without the development of a wider electoral modernisation strategy, which should take account of the specific risks related to electronic voting, as well as its cost-effectiveness and likely impact on public trust.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Electoral Commission will write to all hon. Members to inform them whether or not their electoral registration officer (ERO) conducted data matching for the purposes of individual electoral registration (IER) in the recent dry run; and what steps the Electoral Commission can take against EROs who do not undertake data matching activities for the purpose of IER.

The Electoral Commission informs me that the use of local data-matching to support confirmation and verification under Individual Electoral Registration (IER) is at the discretion of Electoral Registration Officers (EROs). Ministerial guidance sets out the considerations EROs should take into account in determining whether to conduct local data matching for these purposes, which includes an assessment of the costs and benefits of doing so in their local area.

Following the dry-run of the confirmation exercise in summer 2013, 137 EROs reported to the Commission on the trials that they had carried out of local data-matching to support the confirmation process. However, in a survey of EROs after the dry-run, 91% of respondents said that local data-matching would be important in their area during the confirmation live run in 2014.

The Commission published the confirmation dry-run data and an analysis of this and the survey responses received from EROs on its website and emailed hon. Members on publication.

The Commission informs me that it will continue to work with the Cabinet Office and its Regional Delivery Managers to provide support to EROs throughout the transition to IER to ensure that they are carrying out all necessary activities to meet the challenges of IER in their local areas.

The Commission will also collect and publish data from EROs at key stages in order to monitor the progress of the transition, as follows:

· on conclusion of confirmation – August 2014 (England and Wales) and October 2014 (Scotland)

· on conclusion of the write-out and following publication of the revised register – December 2014 (England and Wales) and March 2015 (Scotland)

· after the registration deadline for the May 2015 elections – April 2015

The Commission will make this information available to all hon. Members on publication, along with information on what questions they can ask their local ERO to establish progress with delivering the transition in their area.

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, with reference to the Answer of 13 June 2011, Official Report, columns 584-5W, on electoral register, how many letters the Electoral Commission have written to hon. Members as a result of their electoral registration officers having failed at least one standard performance indicator in each year for which data is available.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it notifies all MPs of the outcomes of Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) performance measurement assessments through a Written Statement and it writes individual letters to MPs who have an ERO that has failed at least one performance indicator within their constituency. EROs that have failed the standards are identified in the Commission's reports each year, which are available on its website:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/performance-standards

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, with reference to the Answer of 13 June 2011, Official Report, column 586W, on electoral register, how many (a) written and (b) oral representations the Electoral Commission has received on electoral registration matters from hon. Members from the (i) Labour, (ii) Conservative and (iii) Liberal Democrat parties in each year since 2010.

The Electoral Commission informs me that it no longer holds information in the format requested. However, the Commission answers parliamentary questions about all aspects of its work and meets regularly with a range of honourable members to discuss issues relevant to its work, including on registration matters. This includes meetings with Parliamentary parties, a range of meetings with individual MPs and meetings with its Parliamentary Advisory Group, minutes of whose meetings can be found on its website here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/our-work/who-we-are/governance-and-decision-making/parliamentary-advisory-group.

Details of the Chair of the Commission's external meetings are also published on an annual basis and can be found on its website here:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/our-work/who-we-are/executive-and-management-team

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, with reference to the Answer of 5 July 2011, Official Report, column 1103W, on electoral register, which electoral registration officers rated themselves too highly in their self-assessment and had their ratings reduced in each year for which data is available.

The Electoral Commission informs me that information about those Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) whose assessments it revised to ‘below the standard' in each of 2008, 2009 and 2010 is available in the answer provided on 5 July 2011 [63427].

Those EROs whose assessments the Commission has revised to ‘below the standard' in 2011 and 2012 are shown in the tables below:

2011

2012

Performance Standard 3

Performance Standard 3

Angus

Arun

Arun

Braintree

Braintree

Broxbourne

Broxbourne

Castle Point

Castle Point

East Hampshire

Chichester

East Hertfordshire

Clackmannanshire

Eastbourne

East Ayrshire

Great Yarmouth

East Devon

Gwynedd

East Dorset

Lancaster

East Hertfordshire

Merthyr Tydfil

East Lothian

Mid Sussex

Edinburgh, City of

North Hertfordshire

Falkirk

North Warwickshire

Fife

Powys

Gravesham

Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

Great Yarmouth

South Oxfordshire

Hart

Uttlesford