To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the implications are for the Government's policies of recommendation 20 of the report of the Association of Electoral Administrators entitled It’s time for urgent and positive Government action: The AEA’s review of the 2017 local government elections and the UK Parliamentary general election, published in September 2017, on the Government evaluating the effectiveness and future use of the International Business Response Licence for postal votes being sent overseas ahead of the next set of national polls.
The Government is committed to ensuring that electors can cast their vote and will continue to look for ways to assist electors to do so. The International Business Response Service is a means of assisting the return of postal votes from abroad and helped to ensure that over 80,000 postal votes were recorded back from overseas by Royal Mail leading up to polling day on 8 June 2017. Almost 100,000 items were recorded back from overseas at the EU Referendum in 2016.
The Electoral Commission evaluated its use after the 2016 Referendum and decided it was value for money in terms of the number of votes returned by the process and recommended we use it for the General Election.