Annual Canvass for the Electoral Register
Each year during the annual canvass the Electoral Services team, on behalf of Arun’s Electoral Registration Officer, sends out a Household Enquiry Form (HEF) to every residential property in the District which details the individuals currently registered at that address. This information is used to compile the new register of electors published on 1 December each year.
We are required to do this by law, and how we do this is governed by regulations. We work to the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Act 1983, and associated regulations.
Once received, householders must respond to the HEF as soon as possible. This is quick and easy, and full instructions are given on the form.
If there are no changes to the details on the HEF, then the response can be made online, by text, by phone, by email, or by signing and returning the form. If there are any changes for the property then the response can be made online or email, or by completing and returning the form.
If we don’t receive a response to the form we send out, we are required by law to send reminders, and to send someone to visit a property to collect the information.
The HEFs were sent out in July 2018 and we are now in the process of sending out reminder forms to properties where we did not receive a response by 3 August. We have Electoral Registration Personal Canvassers going out in some areas to visit properties where we have not yet received a response.
If you have not yet responded to your HEF, please do so as soon as possible. You only need to respond once, and details on how to do this are on the form and are listed below. If you if you have a query about your HEF, or need any further information, please contact our helpline during normal office hours on 01903 737616 or email us at email@example.com.
How can I respond?
*No Changes*: If all the details on the form are correct and no changes are required you can do one of the following:
- Online: this is the quickest and easiest way to respond – go to www.householdresponse.com/Arun and use the security codes on your form.
- By phone on 0800 197 9871, using your security codes.
- Text NOCHANGE, followed by part 1 and part 2 of your security codes to 80212. Texts are charged at your standard SMS rate.
- Email ‘No Change’ with your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sign the form and return it to us in the pre-paid reply envelope provided
*Changes*: if you need to tell us about changes at your property you can do one of the following
- Online: this is the quickest and easiest way to respond – go to www.householdresponse.com/Arun and use the security codes on your form.
- Email ‘Changes’ with your name and address and details of the changes to be made to email@example.com
- Complete the form showing the necessary changes and sign and return it to us in the pre-paid reply envelope provided
Why should I respond?
The HEF is not a registration form but you do need to complete it. The law states that if you don’t, you could be fined £1,000.
The Annual Canvass is something that every Council in England must do under the law:
- We must send a household enquiry form to every household
- We must send a reminder household enquiry form if we do not get a response
- We must send a canvasser to help you with your household enquiry form if we still have not had a response
- We must use the wording on the form given to us by the Electoral Commission
- We must warn you that we have the power to fine you if you do not respond
General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
Following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations this year, we need to tell you how we use the information you give us.
We will only use the information you give us for electoral purposes. We will look after personal information securely and we will follow the data protection legislation. We will not give personal information about you or any personal information you may provide on other people to anyone else or another organisation unless we have to by law.
The lawful basis to collect the information in this form is that it is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest and exercise of official authority as vested in the Electoral Registration Officer as set out in Representation of the People Act 1983 and associated regulations.
Some of the information that is collected in this form is classified as special category personal data. This is processed for reason of substantial public interest as set out in Representation of the People Act 1983 and associated regulations. To process this type of information the Data Controller must have a relevant policy document that sets out how this information will be handled.
The Electoral Registration Officer is the Data Controller: Nigel Lynn, Arun District Council, Arun Civic Centre, Maltravers Road, Littlehampton BN17 5LF.
You should refer to the Privacy Notice at www.arun.gov.uk/registration for further information relating to the processing of personal data.
Q: Can I have the form in an alternative format?
Q: I have made a mistake, what should I do?
Q: I have already responded to the Household Enquiry Form, why have you written to me again?
Q: My details are wrong, what should I do?
Q: I am about to move house, what should I do with the Household enquiry Form?
Q: There are people named on the form who don't live here, what should I do?
Q: Why do you ask if I am over 76?
Q: Someone who lives here has learning difficulties or dementia, should I put their name on the form?
Q: My spouse is on the form but they are in a residential home, what should I do?
Q: Should under 18s be added to the Household Enquiry Form?
Q: I live in more than one place, what should I do?
Q: I am not a UK Citizen, should I fill in the Household Enquiry form?
Q: I am having trouble responding by SMS/Phone/Online
Q: How can I check that a personal canvasser works for the Council?
Q: What is the difference between the Electoral Register and the Open Register?
Q: How much does it cost to respond by phone or text?
Q: Why do you ask me for this information when I already pay Council Tax?
Q: I have safety concerns about responding
A: Yes you can.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 01903 737616 so we can meet your individual needs
A: There are several ways in which to do this.
If you have responded online, by phone or by text, use the paper form to write the correct information. Send the form back to us in the pre-paid envelope.
If you have sent us the paper form already, you can email us with the information at email@example.com or phone us on 01903 737616
A: The annual canvass is run to a strict timetable and we have over 75,600 households to contact
We have to process all the responses individually
We send data to our printers up to 14 days before the forms are sent out to you, so sometimes we will have sent a reminder that will "cross over" with your response.
If you are sure that we have had your response, please ignore the reminder
Some of the forms we send look similar, but are asking for different information. For example, we may send you an Invitation to Register based on the information you have given on the Household Enquiry Form. If you do not respond to an Invitation to Register you might be taken off the Electoral Register, or not be put on it.
If you have a question about the form we have sent you, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 01903 737616
Please complete the paper form. In the address box, write your address as you think it should be written.
We will look at the changes to the address when the form comes back.
We cannot always change your address, as we work to national addressing guidelines, but we will if we have made a mistake or your official address has changed from what we have on record.
If we have written your name incorrectly, please write your name as it should be and we will change it.
Changes of Name
If you have changed your name, please write your new name on the form and we will write to you with a special form you will have to fill in.
A: Please cross your details off the paper form and leave it somewhere obvious for the people who are moving in.
If there is a Household Enquiry Form at your new address, please respond to it.
If there is not a household enquiry form at your new address then go online and register to vote.
A: Let us know about the changes
You can tell us about the changes if you respond online. If you are responding by sending back the paper form, put a line though the person’s name.
- If they have moved out please write "moved away".
- If you do not know who the person is please write "not known".
- If they have passed away please let us know so we can update our records.
Then send the form back to us in the pre paid envelope.
We will use the information that you give us to update the electoral register.
A: The Jury Service use the information from the electoral register to choose people to do Jury Service.
They are allowed to have this information because of the Juries Act of 1974.
People who are more than 76 years old do not have do to Jury Service. By asking this question, people who do not have to do Jury Service will not be asked to do it.
If you are over 76 and the form says "no", please cross out "no" and write "yes".
If you are under 76 and the form says "yes", please cross out "yes" and write "no".
You can also change your age on the online form by following the instructions once you have logged in.
A: The Mental Capacity Act 2005 tells us we have to assume that everyone has capacity (understanding), unless it is clear they do not.
We interpret this rule to mean that every adult in the house should have their name added to the form and that they should have the chance to register to vote.
We cannot tell you if someone has the capacity to vote as we do not know them, so you have to decide for yourself.
- Age UK have information about Mental Capacity on their website
- There is help for people with learning difficulties to understand voting and registration here: Mencap All About VotingOpens new window
If you are not sure what to do please contact us at email@example.com or phone us on 01903 737616
A: If your spouse will be in the residential home long term they should be included on the Household Enquiry Form at the residential home address.
If your spouse is only away from home temporarily you should include him or her on your Household Enquiry Form
If your spouse will not be able to get to the polling station on voting day they might want to consider asking for a postal or proxy vote
A: People who are 16 and over should be added to the Household Enquiry Form.
We will invite 16/17 year olds to individually register to vote in preparation for when they reach their 18th birthday.
A: Some people are allowed to register to vote at more than one address.
Common situations are:
Holiday Home owners:
If one address is just a holiday home, where you spend very little time, you should not register to vote there. You can tick the "second home or holiday home" box on the form. We may write to you for more information.
If you spend a large proportion of your time at your second home, then you may wish to register to vote here.
Do not add your name to the Household Enquiry Form if you do not wish to register to vote
Students who have a home address and a term time address can register in both places. The addresses must be in different local authority areas.
Living away for work:
If you work away for long periods you can but have one place as your permanent home, you can register in more than one place. The addresses must be in different local authority areas.
If you are registered to vote in more than one place you can still only vote once in each election.
If both of your addresses are in Arun, you should only register to vote in one of them.
If you have any questions about what to put on the household enquiry form please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone our elections helpline on 01903 737616.
A: British, Irish, EU and qualifying Commonwealth citizens (that is those Commonwealth citizens with leave to remain in the UK or who do not require leave to remain) are entitled to register to vote in the UK
You can check if you are eligible to vote by looking at the list of countries here:
If your country is not on the list respond to the Household Enquiry Form by filling in the "Nobody eligible to Vote" section of the form and send it back to us in the prepaid envelope
A: We are sorry if one of the automated options is not working for you.
The security codes on the HEF are time-limited, so if you are responding after the deadline shown on your HEF then the codes may have changed.
As an alternative you can provide the information by email to us at email@example.com, by phoning our elections helpline on 01903 737616 or you can fill in the paper form and return it in the pre-paid envelope.
A: Personal Canvassers work for the Council and are fully trained to help you complete the Household Enquiry form.
They have an ID badge and a letter from us to confirm that they are authorised to work for us. You can ask to see them at any time.
During office hours, you can phone us on 01903 737616 and we will confirm who they are.
Registering to vote
The information provided on the HEF enables us to send a separate invitation to register to all the people in your household who are eligible and not already registered to vote there.
By completing the registration process, you will ensure that you can vote in a future election or referendum.
If you do not register, it will not only affect your right to vote, it may also affect your ability to open a bank account, get credit, a loan or a mortgage as the full register is checked by authorised credit agencies.
Do not register only when you need a mortgage or finance – Due to processes and timings that we must observe by law it can take several weeks before your entry is visible to credit agencies.
Don’t delay - You can save time and expense to the taxpayer and avoid receiving reminders and personal visits by responding to the Household Enquiry Form and registration invitations promptly after you have received them.
There are two versions of the Register produced; the electoral register and the open register.
The electoral register is for use by political parties, candidates and their agents for election purposes; for law enforcement for the prevention and detection of crime, and for credit referencing purposes.
The open register is available for any purpose such as direct mailings and marketing. If you wish your name to be excluded from the open versions of the Register you can do so by marking the "opt out - open register" option on the registration form.
For more information, please visit www.yourvotematters.co.uk.
If you use the free-phone 0800 number shown on your form the service is free. There is no additional cost to respond by text other than the standard SMS rate charged by your service provider. The text service costs the same as sending an ordinary text. Therefore if you have a service plan allowing you to send free texts you will not incur any additional cost at all.
A: Electoral Services are separate from all other council departments, such as Council Tax. We are governed by different legislation and regulations, and require different information. This means that even if you pay Council Tax or receive any other council services you are still required to respond to us.
A: Voting is a human right and the elections team want to support your right to vote so we are happy to answer any questions you have about voter registration.
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone our elections helpline on 01903 737616. For more information on anonymous registration please see https://www.yourvotematters.co.uk/register-to-vote/register-to-vote-anonymously
If you respond as soon as we send the first form we can try to resolve any problems quickly and with minimal stress.