Electoral Register: Cost Effectiveness

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 16th October 2018.

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Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the evidential basis is for the Government's annual canvass reform pilot scheme evaluation conclusion that the piloted approach generated costs savings; and that two of the four approaches were as effective as the normal canvass process.

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, Assistant Whip

The evidence for this conclusion is fully set out in the published evaluation, which is available here:


The canvass pilot projects were run as randomised control trials and were evaluated in depth. The overall evaluation covered both the effectiveness and the potential cost savings of each of the piloted approaches compared to the current legislated canvass. The published evaluation also sets out a qualitative assessment of the pilot approaches, with participating authorities clearly favouring reform to the canvass.

The Electoral Commission has also published an assessment of the pilots. The Commission’s conclusion that “evidence from these pilots shows that this approach could help EROs use their resources more efficiently” is fully shared by the Government. We are therefore working with the Electoral Commission and others to develop reforms to the annual canvass process. We intend to consult on these reforms in the near future.

The Commission’s evaluation is available here:


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