Birmingham council plans to use data to increase electoral roll accuracy

Written by Rebecca Hill on 5 October 2016 in News
News

Birmingham City Council is piloting a scheme that will help it target voters who need to re-register using data it already holds.

Birmingham has received funding from the Cabinet Office for the pilot - Photo credit: PA

The move, announced by the Cabinet Office – which is funding the work – this week, will compare locally held data to information on the electoral register.

Officers will then target their resources to the households where the information doesn’t match – something the council said would save time and money.

“By targeting only households where there have been changes, we are making the best use of the limited resources that we have,” said Robert Connelly, head of electoral services at Birmingham City Council. “It is exciting to be part of a process which, if successful, could be adopted throughout the country.”


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The project, which started in the summer and will run until the end of the year, is part of a number of pilots the council is using to improve its registers.

Connelly said the council was working closely with the Cabinet Office to look at ways of “streamlining the registration system in order to provide efficiencies and value for money while ensuring that citizens can easily register and vote”.

Meanwhile, Birmingham has relaunched its website, as part of wider plans to improve its digital offering, a process that also drew on existing data held by the council.

The work, carried out by Spacecraft Digital for a sum of £225,000, used data on demographics, browser usage and languages spoken in the city to determine the ‘top tasks’ for the site.

For instance, because there were more than 149 languages detected, with English not always the first language, the team chose to use icons and also focused on tiles to separate out tasks for easier navigation.

The council chose the Jadu Continuum web content management system to power the new site, and said that the site was fully responsive and mobile first.

It also emphasised the importance of consultation with end users, saying they had been involved throughout the process, offering feedback on typography, brand colours and calls to action. The council also blogged about the process.

Sheraz Yaqub, the project lead at the council, said: “We think this project has shown that true partnership can be achieved through dialogue and one vision in getting the right outcomes for citizens. We worked as a single team and focused on the needs of our customers - putting our users needs firmly at the centre of every decision.”

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