Annual Canvass

Each year the Electoral Services team, on behalf of Arun’s Electoral Registration Officer (ERO), is required by law to carry out an annual canvass of every residential property in the district. We do this in order to check that the details we hold are correct, and to ensure that anyone who is eligible completes the relevant forms in order to be included in the new register of electors which we publish on 1 December each year.  Previously, you will have received what is called a Household Enquiry Form (HEF), a four page A4 form which is delivered around July/August each year, which you were required to respond to either via returning the completed form, by text, by phone, by email or by completing the form online.

However this year the Government have introduced a new and reformed process, designed to make the annual canvass more efficient. Rather than asking for a response from every property, even if you do not have any changes to your details, a  lot of the process is carried out before we even contact you –  which means that you may not even need to respond this year.

The Process

Step 1 – Beginning of July 2020

At the start of this year’s canvass, EROs in Great Britain must complete a new ‘data-matching step’ which will help us to identify properties where the details of the electors have changed. The result of this step will determine the route that your property will take, and which forms you receive.

What is the ‘data-matching step’?
The ‘data-matching step’ is a two-part process. Firstly, we are required by legislation to do national data matching, where the data we hold for each registered elector is matched with the data held by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). We then carry out local data matching using local datasets, for example Council Tax records. We are entitled to do this under Regulations 23, 35 and 35a of the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001. 

Please note that although we can use Council records for data matching purposes we cannot add you to the electoral register without you first completing an application, even though you may have registered for other council services.

What sort of data do you send for the data-matching?

We only use the data belonging to you which is required by legislation; your full name, your full address, the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) of your address; and if we have it, your Date of Birth. We may also send your current Elector Number which is the unique number we assign you on the register each year, and which you may remember seeing on your poll cards each election. We do this because the data-matching is linked to an individual not their property. The exception to this is if a property has no long-term occupants, in which case for the purposes of the annual canvass it would be classed as an empty property.

Step 2 – End of July/Beginning of August 2020

What happens after the data-match?

Following the data-match step your property will be allocated what is called a route number. This will be either 1,2, or 3. You do not need to do anything with your route number as this is just the process we use to determine which form you will receive. 

Although every ERO must carry out the data-match step, the way Arun carries out the next part of the canvass process may differ to Worthing and Adur, or Chichester District Councils. If you have any questions once you have read the information below, then please feel free to contact us.

Route 1: All the individuals currently registered at your property have matched during the data-match process.

Route 2: One or more of the individuals currently registered at your property has not matched during the data-match process.

Route 3: These are properties such as HMOs, or nursing or residential care homes who we will contact separately in order to verify their details.

Which form will I receive?

As each property is allocated its own route number, you may find that you receive a different form or letter to your neighbours. Examples of the forms that will be sending can be found on this page.

Please note that any electors added to the electoral register from 12 July 2020 will not appear on the forms, therefore if you have recently applied this may be why you do not appear.

Route 1: Properties categorised as Route 1 will receive a Canvass Communication A (CCA) Letter. The wording on this letter is prescribed by the Electoral Commission which means we are restricted by which parts we can change. It will contain the details of everyone currently registered at the property, like the HEF you received last year. However, you do not need to respond to the CCA unless you need to notify us of a change. If all the information is correct, then you only need to contact us if your details change in the next 12 months. 

If you do need to make a change then the letter will provide you with the details to make this change online. Alternatively, you can use the contact details on the letter to notify us by telephone or email. Or if you are unable to notify us using one of these methods, you can write to us at the address below. Please only do this if you need to make a change to your details.

Route 2: Properties categorised as Route 2 will receive a Canvass Communication B (CCB) Form. If you receive one of these forms, you are required to respond to it, even if all the details are correct. The form will provide you with the details to do this either online, via telephone or via email. Alternatively, you can post the completed form back to us at the address below. Whichever method you chose, please only use one. Please note that if your details have not changed and you use the SMS service, your provider will charge you your standard network fee.

If you do not respond to us before the deadline on the form, then we are required by legislation to try and contact you again. This may be that you receive another form, or an email, a telephone call, or you may receive a visit from one of our personal canvassers.

My property received a CCB which must mean we are in Route 2. Why haven’t my details matched?

Unfortunately, we do not get told which individual members of each household have not matched or why this is, following the data-match process. However, an example of this is that it maybe that we have your name as John Smith, however the DWP and Council Tax records only have ‘J Smith’. As ‘J Smith’ could also refer to Jane or Jeremy Smith, the data-match will record this as a non-match and your property will be placed in Route 2.

You only need to respond once, so choose one response method and follow the instructions on the form.

If you have a query about your canvass form, or need any further information, please contact our helpline during normal office hours on 01903 737616 or email us at

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 for further information relating to the processing of personal data.