Electoral roll - CCJ decisions

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I've recently found several articles dating from September 1999 relating to an impending decision by Jack Straw as to whether to allow voters to opt out of the electoral roll information supplied to direct mail firms, credit agencies etc.

Does anyone know what the outcome of this decision was?

I also found this statement at the end of the Guardian report:

"Earlier this year the credit industry was again at loggerheads with a government minister, on that occasion over county court judgments."

What does this refer to?

-- Paul Harris (thickhead@mailexcite.com), August 19, 2000


I don't the outcome but I would like to. The credit industry's relationship with county court judgements (CCJs) is interesting because the recording and distribution of CCJ information is carried out by private, unmonitorable companies.

The Guardian mention may have been a reference to the credit industry lobbying for stronger powers to enforce county court judgements.

If anyone else can answer this reader's questions, I'm sure many of us would appreciate it.


-- Lee (repossession@bigfoot.com), August 21, 2000.

I've done a little investigation on the government website and found the guidance notes which refer to the new Representation of the People bill. It is aparently before Parliament now, but I couldn't find any date when it is due to become law.

The link to the guidance notes is:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199900/cmbills/002/en/00002 x--.htm

but if you don't want to read it all, the bit we're interested in is clause 9 which says:


Clause 9: Supply of Information Contained in the Register

53. This clause allows regulations to be made regulating the supply of the electoral register.

54. New paragraph 10 of Schedule 2 to the Representation of the People Act 1983 allows regulations to be made requiring registration officers to produce two versions of the electoral register - a complete one and an edited version omitting the names of those who have asked to have their names excluded from it.

55. The regulations can also specify how the registration officer should go about ascertaining who wishes to be excluded from the edited version and the words to be used to explain what the edited version might be used for.

56. New paragraph 10A of Schedule 2 allows regulations to be made to require the full register to be available for public inspection.

57. New paragraph 10B of Schedule 2 allows regulations to be made which require registration officers to supply copies of the full register to prescribed people, either free of charge or on payment of a fee, or to supply copies of the edited register to anyone on payment of a fee.

58. New paragraph 11 of Schedule 2 allows for regulations to be made to prohibit those inspecting the full register from making copies of it and those to whom the full register has been supplied from passing it on or using it for unauthorised purposes.

59. Subsection (3) allows regulations to be made creating an offence (punishable by a fine up to level 5 on the standard scale of fines) of contravening regulations made under new paragraph 11 of Schedule 2 to the Representation of the People Act 1983.


The articles in the Guardian archives refered to in the original message and a couple of other interesting ones are:

"Talk builds of Experian demerger" http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,3908894,00.h tml

"Now they know where you live" http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,3908360,00.h tml

"Voter's offered a vanishing trick" http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,3931721,00.h tml

I couldn't find any information about the Government Minister at loggerheads with the credit industry over CCJs, so I've written an email to the Home Office to find out. I'll post any response I get.

-- pendle (pendle@amun-ra.demon.co.uk), August 21, 2000.

Further to my earlier posting, I have pasted below the response I have received from the Home Office. As you will see, the Credit Reference agencies will have access to the full electoral register.

The Home Office couldn't help with the other query about the CCJ's and suggested that I write to the Dept of Trade, which I will do and let you know what happens. ______________________________

The representation of the People Act 2000 (the Bill received Royal Assent on 9 March) provides for two versions of the electoral registers to be produced: the full version which will be available for electoral purposes and a few other specified purposes, mainly connected with crime prevention; and an edited version which will be available for sale to commercial companies but which will not contain the names of any electors who have ticked the opt-out box to be included on the registration forms which will be sent out this time next year. There was some discussion that if credit reference agencies were not allowed to access the full registers, then those who had opted-out of the edited registers could be refused credit and thus be socially disadvantaged. Ministers have therefore agreed that the 2 credit reference agencies will be permitted access to the full registers.

-- pendle (pendle@amun-ra.demon.co.uk), August 24, 2000.

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