Monday, 11 August 2014

Electoral Registration - Cabinet Office #fail

The Caebrwyn household and every other voter in the county, if not Wales, has received notice that voter registration is changing. Basically it means that every individual is now responsible for registering themselves, rather than the 'head of the household'.

After being contacted by a bemused resident who had noticed a glaring contradiction, I took a closer look and the information with regards to the 'Open Register' is indeed contradictory, as you can see underlined below. 

To be clear (as mud) it says; "Your details are not on the open register. To be added to the open register please contact us using the details at the top of this letter". 

Further down the page you are then told; "Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed". The 'open register' is the list which can be sold on to third parties.

The resident took the trouble of contacting the council and then the Electoral Commission and the latter told him that it was the Cabinet Office who were responsible for drafting the letter, and that councils had to send it out, presumably at considerable cost, despite the glaring error. Both the council and the Electoral Commission said it was 'contradictory' and 'confusing', the word 'wrong' is not included in public sector vocabulary of course.

Click to enlarge


Anonymous said...

I agree it seem quite confusing. Though its not made clear I'd say the top bit is specific to people who have already opted out (with different wording for people who haven't) and the bottom bit is generic info.

Redhead said...

No, the two statements directly contradict each other no matter which way you look at it. It is a very poor piece of draftsmanship.

But then, this is Mark James, who can hold contradictory views on just about everything, depending on which way the wind is blowing.

caebrwyn said...

@Redhead Yes, I've tried reading it all ways, still makes no sense.
According to the person who contacted me, the council blamed the Cabinet Office. Whoever is to blame it really should have gone back to the drawing board.

Ian Bewley said...

I must have a different version of the form. The one I have recieved offers no explanation or option to choose which register one's details appear on...
Time permitting, another letter of complaint perhaps?

Redhead said...

You should be offered the option to opt out of the electoral roll which they sell to anyone who wants it: direct marketing companies, charities, junk mail creat ors, etc. You should also be told that opting out will NOT affect your credit rating.

Any council that doesn't make this clear is basically trying to kerp as many voters as possible on the list they sell on.

Blodwen said...

I called in to the Electoral office place yesterday to check that our household is not on the open register and the person I spoke to said they had been inundated with enquiries.

It would appear that if you have already opted out in the past then that fact is already registered and a mark is placed against your name. So the first paragraph in the generic letter stands; the last instruction is for people who have not already opted out but wish to do so.

Still, very confusing - but typical beaurocracy perhaps?

Emlyn Uwch Cych said...

You think the English side is bad? Turn over to the Welsh: #hopefail!

Paragraph 3: "Mae eich nid yw eich manylion ar y gofrestr agored." [Your details are are not on the open register.]

It looks like this is a delete as appropriate paragraph (should have been mailmerged with the electoral database, perhaps), but they've left both options in.

Our Council Tax at work!