Electoral Register

Electoral Commission Committee written question – answered on 17th March 2014.

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Photo of Chris Ruane Chris Ruane Labour, Vale of Clwyd

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, pursuant to the answer of 22 January 2014, Official Report, columns 209-10W, on electoral register, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of (a) which were the most cost-effective campaigns and (b) what the reasons were for that cost-effectiveness.

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Conservative, South West Devon

The Electoral Commission informs me that it carries out evaluations at the conclusion of each of its campaigns to encourage voter registration, including consideration of cost-effectiveness. Consideration is given to the most cost-effective media channels, the impact of the campaign creative and costs of production, and the timing and amount of media purchased. Improvements made as a result of these evaluations are likely to have contributed to an increase in the cost-effectiveness of our campaigns.

The cost of each campaign divided by the number of voter registration forms downloaded during the campaign period (cost-per-download) provides a useful indicator of overall cost-effectiveness. These costs are presented in the following table.

A significant factor beyond the Commission's control that affects the cost-effectiveness of different campaigns is the level of public interest in the elections they relate to. Within the table the elections are therefore grouped together on a ‘most similar' basis to provide an indicative point of comparison. However, no two sets of elections are entirely comparable, in part due to the different combinations of elections taking place on the same day. None the less, there has been a general trend of increasing cost-effectiveness over the past nine years.

Campaign Total registration forms downloaded during the campaign period pre-registration deadline Cost of airtime/advertising space (£) Cost per registration form downloaded during the campaign period pre-registration deadline (£) Total campaign spend including producing material, research and running a call centre (£)
General election 2005 49,000 3,600,000 73.47 14,100,000
General election 2010 466,000 2,300,000 4.94 2,700,000
England and Wales local elections 2006 34,000 1,300,000 38.24 1,500,000
England and Wales local elections 2007 51,000 1,800,000 35.29 2,400,000
England, Wales and London elections 2008 128,000 3,200,000 25.00 3,900,000
English local elections 2013 87,000 900,000 10.34 1,200,000
English, Scottish and Welsh elections 2012 146,000 2,900,000 19.86 24,100,000
European Parliament 2009 137,000 3,200,000 23.36 4,000,000
European Parliament 2014 Target: 150,000 Budgeted: 2,264,000 Expected: 15.09 Budgeted 2,800,000
1 2005-06 financial year only. 2 Included £1.4 million from the Scottish Government to fund a booklet drop to all households in Scotland.

In this table, costs per download are based purely on the costs of running campaign media advertisements because some campaigns draw on existing resources while others require the production of new materials.

The total campaign expenditure (including producing material and other costs such as research and call centre provision) is shown in the final column.

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