During the passage of the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013, the government published a series of documents setting out the proposed draft legislation under that Act that would usher in Individual Electoral Registration (IER). Two pieces of legislation have already been made under the Act . These will postpone the 2013 Annual Canvass, so that the register following it is published on 17 February 2014 in England and 10 March 2014 in Scotland and Wales, and allow the government and EROs to carry out a ‘dry run’ in 2013 of the confirmation data-matching process.
The statutory instruments published here in draft set out the changes necessary to implement IER, superseding the document published in September 2012. This updated version is published for information to help administrators and suppliers plan effectively for the transition to IER. We are continuing to discuss this secondary legislation with key stakeholders including the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators, and the Scottish Assessors Association, and we expect to lay the final versions of these regulations (and the Scottish equivalent of the draft regulations) this summer.
We are currently working to establish the best timing for the ‘go-live’ point for IER applications, with the 10 June 2014 currently the preferred option, which is the day after new additions to go into the July 2014 monthly update (and therefore the register used for confirmation) may be received.
However in Scotland, following the Scottish Government’s announcement on 21 March that the referendum on Scottish independence will be held on 18 September 2014, there will be some changes to the starting dates for transition to IER. The start of IER applications and the confirmation data-match will now be after the referendum has taken place. This means that the transition to IER will begin on or around 1 October 2014. The UK and Scottish Governments have worked together on this issue, alongside the Electoral Commission, Scottish EROs, and Scottish Electoral Management Board, and will continue to do so in order that IER is successfully implemented in Scotland, in a way that is compatible with the holding of a fair and decisive referendum.
The publication comprises drafts of:
- Representation of the People (England and Wales)(Amendment) Regulations 2013, which would amend the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001.
- Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 (Transitional Provisions) Order 2013, which provides for transition-specific activities for the period 2014-15.
This new publication includes changes resulting from policy development in the Cabinet Office and constructive engagement with key stakeholders, particularly the electoral administrators who will be implementing the change to IER across Great Britain, and with the Electoral Commission. The main changes and the key functions of the regulations and articles in the two proposed draft statutory instruments are set out in the introductory material so that readers can follow the purpose and development of the policy. The September 2012 publication is available here to provide a point of comparison for the changes outlined in the introductory material in the new publication.