Cabinet Office pilots in full swing powered by Halarose electoral registration software

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With the Ministerial announcement due shortly about the successful pilot bids for 2017, it is an opportune time to look at the current electoral registration pilots that are running around Great Britain at present.

Halarose's William Quinton commented: "We’re the only supplier involved with this year’s canvass pilot activity, and by working in close partnership with our customers, we’re helping to shape the future of electoral registration."

Halarose, the electoral software solutions provider, is the exclusive supplier of digital electoral registration tools for the 2016 Cabinet Office canvass pilot activity.

The three electoral canvass pilots, being run by local authorities in Birmingham, Ryedale and South Lakeland, will target electors that need to re-register because of changed circumstances. As a result of the solutions that Halarose have put in place for the project, households whose circumstances have not changed will no longer be targeted by electoral register officers, meaning that both time and money will be saved as part of the new process.

Using Halarose's software, information which is locally held will be compared to data on the electoral register by the council. That will leave electoral officers to target their resources more efficiently, singling out households that display mismatching information. This is intended to lead to a streamlined work flow, which has the potential to revolutionise electoral canvassing in local and general elections.

Council tax records are an example of a data source that can be used for the comparison, and when mismatching details are found, an email, letter or visit in person would usually comprise one or all of the next steps.

Halarose's extensive in-built automation will assist electoral offices in continuing to deliver high quality services, even in the face of the increased pressures on resources and funding currently being experienced.

The projects are expected to run until February next year, and if successful, a nationwide rollout could have the positive effect of saving the tax payer money. Birmingham City Council has already saved over an estimated £100,000, and it is predicted that as much as double that could be saved over the course this year’s pilot by Birmingham City Council alone.

Baroness Chisholm, the Cabinet Office spokesperson in the House of Lords, had earlier confirmed that there will be a second round of pilots next year, after which the government will decide whether permanent changes will be made to the electoral register system on a national scale. According to a parliamentary paper published from the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, the pilots will be tested for their ability to make a higher volume of checks at no compromise to the quality of the work, and to save money in the process. The evidence gathered will be reviewed before the final decision on wider take up.

The news comes after meetings were held between Halarose's managing director, William Quinton, Rob Connolly, Head of Electoral Services at Birmingham City Council, and Chris Skidmore, Cabinet Office minister for constitution. Talks centred around not only the current pilot projects taking place, but also on future plans for the electoral register.

In Birmingham, the pilot is the direct result of Electoral Registration Officers reporting to the Cabinet Office that they were frustrated by the old procedures of checking the details of citizens whose circumstances had changed.

The three local authorities chosen - Birmingham, Ryedale and South Lakeland - provide the pilot scheme with a wide cross section with varying characteristics to look at. Birmingham is a large urban centre with over one million people residing within its boundaries, also displaying a high degree of ethnic diversity - some 42% of residents are from an ethnic group other than white. On the other hand, Ryedale and South Lakeland are far smaller and more rural communities, with a high ratio of elderly people - 25% aged 65 or over in 2014 in the case of Ryedale - and less ethnically diverse.

Communication will vary between the three areas. Ryedale are trialling a system whereby all households involved will receive the same form of communication, regardless of data matching, while Birmingham and South Lakeland will use the data matching system to determine the form of communication each household receives. Electoral Registration Officers decided on what would be the best methodology for their particular area, based on their own expertise and knowledge.

Halarose's William Quinton commented: "We’re the only supplier involved with this year’s canvass pilot activity, and by working in close partnership with our customers, we’re helping to shape the future of electoral registration. But our commitment to innovation goes far beyond this. Our unique digital engagement tools have already helped our customers both boost response rates whilst also saving tens of thousands of pounds in the first few weeks of this canvass alone."

Chris Skidmore, Cabinet minister for the constitution, said: "I am focused on building a stronger democracy which works for everyone. We have made great strides in improving the voter registration experience, meaning it is easier than ever for people to have their say in electoral decisions, but there are still some groups that feel for whatever reason they cannot or should not register."

About Halarose
Halarose Limited is an established, forward-thinking supplier of electoral software solutions to local authorities across the UK. Their mission is to empower electoral administrators with reliable, user-friendly and contemporary electoral software and to support them with an exceptional customer service. Furthermore, Halarose lead their industry in making their software efficient and easy-to-use, bringing innovations to the market that are helping local authorities deliver more responsive services at a lower cost. For more information, please visit: http://www.halarose.co.uk

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Mark Nicholls

Diana Kamkina
@HalaroseLtd
since: 06/2011
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