Privacy Notice - Electoral Services

South Hams District Council takes your privacy and personal data very seriously.

We will use your information in order to administer functions relating to Electoral Services. This notice sets out what we will do with your personal information and who we may share it with in respect of the above.

What information about you do we collect?

We collect the following information:

  • Basic details about you, for example, name, address, date of birth and nationality
  • Unique identifiers (such as your NI number)
  • Scanned application forms and dates of any letters of correspondence,
  • Notes about any relevant circumstances that you have told us
  • Details and records about the service you have received
  • Your previous or any redirected address
  • The other occupants in your home
  • Email address and telephone number
  • If you are over 76 or under 16/17
  • Whether you have chosen to opt out of the Open version of the Register
  • Which elections you are entitled to vote in
  • Whether you require a postal/proxy vote
  • Your signature
  • Your photograph

In addition, if you work for the Returning Officer (RO) on election duties, or the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) for registration duties, these may also include:

  • Tax status
  • Bank details
  • Details of previous employment
  • Other information e.g. whether you drive a car, where you would like to work

If you are a candidate at an election, an appointed agent at an election, or a campaigner, we may also hold these details:

  • Political party affiliation
  • Campaign group affiliation

How do we collect information about you?

Relevant personal data will be collected:

  • Directly from you as the data subject

How will your personal data be used?

Your personal data will be used in the following ways:

This information will be used for the functions of Electoral Services. These functions are undertaken on behalf of the ERO and RO in the public interest for the purposes of:

  • Registering your right to vote
  • Producing and maintaining a complete and accurate register
  • Processing any absent (postal or proxy) voting applications
  • Processing any Voter Authority Certificate (VAC) applications
  • Delivering elections and referendums

The ERO is required by law to publish two versions of the register:

1. The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote. It is used for electoral purposes such as making sure only eligible people vote. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law such as detecting crime (fraud), calling people for jury service and checking credit.

2. The open register is an extract of the electoral register but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any third party who may use it for any purpose. 

The law requires that we make the open register available for sale. Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed (opt out). You can opt out of this version at any time.

The electoral register is published once a year (usually each December) and is updated on the first working day of each month between January and September.

Voter Authority Certificates (VAC)

From 4 May 2023 onwards, you will need an accepted identification document, with your photo on it, to vote at polling stations. If you don't have one that is on the list of accepted photo ID documents such as a driving licence or passport, you will be able to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate which will allow you to vote on the day. You can find more information about this at the Voter Authority Certificate website.

The Elections Act 2022 and associated regulations require the ERO to process and issue Voter Authority Certificates (VACs), Temporary VACs and Anonymous Elector Documents (AEDs).

Applications are processed through an online portal developed and hosted by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). You can find more information about how they process your personal data at the Voter Authority Certificate website - Privacy.

The VACs are printed at a government procured central printer and dispatched via Royal Mail. The Temporary VACs and AEDs are printed and dispatched directly by the ERO.

The Legal basis for processing your data

Your personal data is processed under the following legal basis:

Article 6 1(b) processing is necessary for the compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject, under the following laws:

  • Local Government Act 1972
  • Representation of the People Act 1983
  • Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulation 2001
  • Representation of the People (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulation 2002
  • European Parliamentary Elections Regulations 2004
  • Electoral Administration Act 2006
  • Local Elections (Principal Areas) Rules 2006
  • Greater London Authority Election Rules 2007
  • European Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Regulations 2009
  • The Local Elections (Principal Areas) (England and Wales) Amendment Rules 2011
  • Greater London Authority Elections (Amendment) Rules 2012
  • Neighbourhood Planning (Referendums) Regulations 2012
  • The Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013
  • Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013
  • Electoral Registration (Disclosure of Electoral Registers) Regulations 2013
  • Representation of the People (Annual Canvass) (Amendment) Regulations 2019
  • Elections Act 2022
  • The Voter Identification Regulations 2022

The law makes it compulsory to provide information to the ERO when requested. This is for the compilation and maintenance of a complete and accurate electoral register.

The RO has a statutory duty to collect and retain information from candidates and their agents, staff employed at an election and voters.

This information may be kept in either digital format (i.e. data within a software system or scanned) or hard copy printed format or both.

Who will your personal data be shared with?

  • We are required by law to provide copies of the electoral register to certain organisations and individuals. Details of who can be provided with this information can be found at the Electoral Commission website and includes political parties, elected representatives, candidates and agents, credit reference agencies, the Electoral Commission, the Boundary Commission for England, the Local Government Boundary Commission for England, the British Library and the Office of National Statistics.
  • To verify your identity and your eligibility for the register, the information you provide on any application form to register to vote will be processed by the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service (IER-DS) managed by DLUHC. As part of this process, your information will be shared with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and the DLUHC suppliers that are data processors for the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service. You can find more information about this at the Register to Vote website.
  • To allow the mandatory national data matching step referred to as part of the annual canvass, the entries we hold on you on the register at the start of the annual canvass will be sent via the IER-DS and matched against data held by the DWP. We will also be data matching the entries against other data sets held by the council, such as council tax. These results will then enable the ERO to determine what canvass communication will be sent to you.
  • Anyone can inspect hard copies of the electoral register (containing information on all registered electors) at our offices under strict control. Inspection is under supervision. Handwritten notes may be made, but no copies or photographs of the register are allowed. Information taken must not be used for direct marketing purposes unless it has also been published in the open version of the register. Anyone who fails to observe these conditions may be charged a penalty of up to £5,000
  • The open register can be sold to any person, company or organisation for a wide range of purposes such as direct marketing 
  • We share your information with our software provider and contracted printers to compile and manage the register, to provide online response services, to print poll cards, postal vote packs and other electoral registration and election materials
  • Details of whether you have voted (but not how you have voted) to those entitled in law to receive it after an election
  • Staffing data may be shared with other Returning Officers and Electoral Registration Officers as appropriate. All staff details will also be shared with the payroll provider and HMRC in order to make payments
  • Details of candidates, election agents, subscribers to nomination papers and other political campaigners may be published where the law requires us to do so
  • We are required by law to provide certain information to appropriate authorities - for example:
    • where a formal court order has been issued
    • for the prevention and detection of a crime
    • to the Jury Central Summoning Bureau those persons who are aged 76 or over and are no longer eligible for jury service

Transferring of data outside the EU

Your data will not be transferred outside the EU. It will be securely stored electronically within the UK only, unless it was necessary for safeguarding or for the prevention and detection of crime.

Length of time we keep your information

The ERO and RO are obliged to process your personal data in relation to preparing for and conducting elections. Your details will be kept and updated in accordance with our legal obligations and in line with statutory retention periods.

Individual rights

You have a number of rights under the General Data Protection Regulations. These can be found on the ICO website.

If you would like to exercise any of these rights, please Email the data protection officer.

The Data Controller for your information

South Hams District Council

Follaton House,

Plymouth Road,




Data Protection Officer

The Councils have a duty to appoint a Data Protection Officer. The Council's Data Protection Officer is Drew Powell.

If you have any queries about our privacy notices or would like to exercise your data rights or make a complaint, please contact the Data Protection Officer by:

Data Protection Officer,

South Hams District Council,

Follaton House,

Plymouth Road,


Devon TQ9 5NE

If you are not happy with how we have handled your complaint, you have the right to contact the Information Commissioner's Office to raise your concerns about how we have processed your information or how we have responded to your request to exercise any of your rights in relation to your information:

  • Telephone them on 0303 123 1113
  • Visit their website at
  • Write to them at:

    Information Commissioner's Office

    Wycliffe House

    Water Lane



    SK9 5AF