Agenda item

Promoting Electoral Engagement - Scrutiny Task Group report

The report of the Scrutiny Task Group on promoting Electoral Engagement is attached for the committee’s consideration.

Minutes:

Councillor Nerva (Task Group Chair) presented the final report of the Task Group ‘Promoting Electoral Registration’. The Task Group had been established to examine the transition to Individual Electoral Registration (IER), which had been described as the most significant change to the electoral system in the last 100 years. IER went live in June 2014 and was expected to fully supplant the current Household Electoral Registration system on 1st December 2015, with the aim of making the process of registration more convenient and secure. IER differed from the previous system by requiring each person to register individually by providing personal identifiers (National Insurance number and date of birth). Online registration had also been enabled under the new system and had been available since June 2014. It was recognised that IER presented significant challenges for the council, as well as opportunities to improve voter registration across Brent.

 

Councillor Nerva thanked the members of the task group and the supporting officers for their work. He then highlighted the key findings of the task group. It was emphasised that Brent was an incredibly diverse borough and the task group had identified that even within neighbourhoods and polling districts, there was significant variance in voter registration. It was considered therefore that a bespoke plan to target those most at-risk of not registering was required and efforts needed to be concentrated in the areas most in need to make the best use of communications tactics that target those hardest to reach. Consequently, to achieve a successful transition to IER, a joint effort was needed across council services, local stakeholders, partner agencies and community organisations. In concluding his presentation, Councillor Nerva drew the committee’s attention to the task group’s recommendations detailed in the report, which had been grouped into three broad themes: the need for a comprehensive IER roll-out programme and communications strategy; the need for more effective working of partners including the voluntary and community sector, housing and other statutory and non-statutory partners; and, the need for enhanced civic engagement with the community.

 

With the permission of the Chair, a member of the public suggested that sixth form pupils at secondary school be engaged directly and that parents of children of all ages be targeted via groups run by schools such as parents’ forums.

 

Councillor Pavey (Deputy Leader) commended the task group for their work and expressed his commitment to ensuring the recommendations set out in the report were implemented. The committee similarly welcomed the report of the task group and added their thanks to the members and officers responsible.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the recommendations of the ‘Promoting Electoral Registration’ task group as detailed in the report be endorsed.

 

 

 

Supporting documents: