Electoral Register: Internet

House of Lords written question – answered on 21st July 2009.

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Photo of Lord Greaves Lord Greaves Spokesperson for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Spokesperson for Communities and Local Government

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made on the establishment of the Co-ordinated Online Record of Electors; and what is the timetable for its creation.

Photo of Lord Bach Lord Bach Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The CORE project is currently moving forward with two parallel strands of work: implementation of electoral registration data standards and the development of the detailed specification of the system.

The data standards were introduced following a direction from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Bridget Prentice MP, issued under Section 52(1) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (c.2)(as amended), which electoral registration officers in Great Britain are required to comply with by 1 December 2009. The direction requires that any electoral registration data held on electronic systems is formatted in compliance with the standards.

As part of the development work, officials held meetings and workshops throughout 2008 with major stakeholders and potential users of the system to gather user requirements, identify issues and test assumptions around how the CORE service and its IT and business systems will operate. This informed development of a high level statement of requirements, which was completed in June 2009.

The Electoral Commission (EC) was the original choice to fulfil the role of the CORE keeper, but following recommendations from the Committee on Standards in Public Life, which said that the EC needed to continue to refocus its role as regulator of party finance and electoral administration, the EC declined the invitation.

The Government reviewed the options available and decided to make amendments to the Political Parties and Elections (PPE) Bill to amend the provisions of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 to enable the Secretary of State to designate a new public body to be CORE keeper.

In the light of the provisions for individual registration in the PPE Bill, we will need to reconsider the timetable for the commencement of CORE, when we have had an opportunity to develop the policy on individual registration further.

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