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Electoral services privacy notice

We ask that you read this privacy notice carefully as it contains important information on who we are, how and why we collect, store, use and share personal information, your rights in relation to your personal information and on how to contact us and supervisory authorities in the event you have a complaint.

Who we are

The Electoral services team collects, uses and is responsible for certain personal information about you for the purposes of creating and maintaining the Electoral Register. When we do so we are regulated under the General Data Protection Regulation which applies across the European Union (including in the United Kingdom) and we are responsible as ‘controller’ of that personal information for the purposes of those laws.

The personal information we collect

Information collected by us

As a local authority we are required by law to maintain the Electoral Register, in order to fulfil this task it is necessary that we collect the following personal information from you:

  • name
  • address – both current and previous addresses
  • date of birth
  • national insurance number

We are also required to obtain the following special categories (otherwise known as sensitive) personal data:

  • nationality
  • whether or not you vote – although if you vote we never record your selection

Information collected from other sources

We also obtain personal information from other sources as follows:

  • Cabinet Office IERDS. To verify your identity, the data you provide will be processed by the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service managed by the Cabinet Office.
  • as part of this process your data will be shared with the Department of Work and Pensions and the Cabinet Office suppliers that are data processors for the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service.

You can find more information about this at Register To Vote

How we use your personal information

We use your personal information, in the manners specified below, in order to ensure that we are able to deliver the highest quality service to you:

  • to maintain the electoral register; and
  • to properly and effectively administer elections

The Electoral Register is a public document and can be physically inspected by appointment.

The Open Electoral Register is publicly accessible and may be accessed and used by third parties for any purposes they determine, the only information available to third parties is your name and address. You may opt-out of the open version at any time.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, NHS Test and Trace may pass your details to Dorset Council if they think you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 and they have been unable to contact you within 24 hours.  In such cases, Dorset Council may use personal data held for maintaining the Electoral Register for the purpose of facilitating effective contact tracing.

Who we share your personal information with

In order to exercise the above activities we may share your personal data with:

  • third-party suppliers who assist us with delivering the above public tasks e.g. stationary printers
  • registered political parties, elected representatives, candidates, agents and other permitted participants who are able to use it for electoral purposes only
  • credit reference agencies
  • The British Library, the UK Statistics Authority, the Electoral Commission and other government agencies and bodies, as well as other statutory recipients of the electoral register
  • Jury Central Summoning Bureau
  • third parties are entitled to access the Open Electoral Register
  • other third parties for the purpose of archiving in the public interest, for historical research or for statistical purposes.

This data sharing enables us to ensure the best service is delivered. We do not transfer your data outside of the European Economic Area (EEA).

On occasion we may be required to share personal information with law enforcement or other authorities if required by applicable law. Where this occurs we will attempt to ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place.

We will not share your personal information with any other third party.

Whether information has to be provided by you, and if so why

The provision of the personal data (as set out above) is required from you to enable us to properly perform the Tasks.  We will inform you at the point of collecting information from you, whether you are required to provide the information to us.

If you fail to provide the information required this may lead to you being unable to participate in elections, or may lead to incorrect information being recorded.

How long your personal information will be kept

  • we will hold the personal data provided by you for as long as you remain entitled to appear on the electoral register.

  • once your entitlement to appear on the electoral register ceases, we will retain your records for such a time as we are required by statute.

Reasons for collecting and using your personal information

We rely on the performance of a public task and compliance with a legal obligation as the lawful bases on which we collect and use your personal data.

Your rights

Under the General Data Protection Regulation you have a number of important rights that may be exercised free of charge. In summary, those include rights to:

  • fair processing of information and transparency over how we use your use personal information
  • access to your personal information and to certain other supplementary information that this Privacy Notice is already designed to address
  • require us to correct any mistakes in your information which we hold
  • require the erasure of personal information concerning you in certain situations
  • receive the personal information concerning you which you have provided to us, in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format and have the right to transmit those data to a third party in certain situations
  • object at any time to processing of personal information concerning you for direct marketing
  • object in certain other situations to our continued processing of your personal information
  • otherwise restrict our processing of your personal information in certain circumstances

For further information on each of those rights you can visit the Information Commissioner's Office

If you would like to exercise any of those rights, please contact our Data Protection Officer.

In order that we can comply with such a request as soon as possible, it would be useful if you could provide the following information within your initial request:

  • enough information to identify you (eg reference, account number, user name, registration details),
  • proof of your identity and address (a copy of your driving licence or passport and a recent utility or credit card bill), and
  • let us know the information to which your request relates

Keeping your personal information secure

We have appropriate security measures in place to prevent personal information from being accidentally lost, or used or accessed in an unauthorised way. We limit access to your personal information to those who have a genuine business need to know it. Those processing your information will do so only in an authorised manner and are subject to a duty of confidentiality.

We also have procedures in place to deal with any suspected data security breach. We will notify you and any applicable regulator of a suspected data security breach where we are legally required to do so.

If you would to find out more about protecting your personal information, please visit which is supported by HM Government and leading businesses.

Changes to this privacy notice

This privacy notice was published on 1 April 2019.

An amendment was made on 16 December 2020 regarding use of personal data for Covid-19 contact tracing.

There have been no amendments since 16 December 2020. When amendments are made to this page we will update this section. We recommend that you review this section from time to time so that you are aware of the latest version of this notice.

How to contact us

Please contact our Data Protection Officer if you have any questions about this privacy notice or the information we hold about you.

Do you need extra help?

If you would like this notice in another format (for example: audio, large print, braille) please contact the Data Protection Officer.

How to complain

We hope that our Data Protection Officer can resolve any query or concern you raise about our use of your information. 

The General Data Protection Regulation also gives you right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority. The supervisory authority in the UK is the Information Commissioner who may be contacted at Information Commissioner's Office complaintsor telephone: 0303 123 1113.

Your feedback

This form is to report content that is wrong, or any issues or feedback you have about the web page.

Contact us if you want to get in touch about a council service instead.

All fields are required.

Leave your email address so that we can provide a response.

This helps us direct your feedback to the appropriate council.

General data protection regulation (GDPR)

We will only use the personal information supplied by you in accordance with GDPR. By giving us this information you are consenting to such use as set out in our privacy notice.