Government is undecided on abolition of edited electoral register

By Sophie Hudson, Third Sector Online, 16 February 2012

Cabinet Office

Cabinet Office

The Cabinet Office is still considering the arguments; the Institute of Fundraising opposes abolition

Ministers have not yet decided whether the edited electoral register should be abolished, according to the Cabinet Office.

The department was responding to a report by MPs on the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, which recommended last November that the edited register should be abolished.

The edited register does not contain details of people who have opted out of receiving marketing materials and is available for general purchase. The Institute of Fundraising has been campaigning against the abolition of the register, saying it is used by many charities in their fundraising.

The government’s response to the committee’s report says it is aware of and is considering the "finely balanced arguments" on the future of this version of the register.

"The government takes the handling of personal information seriously, and is committed to working to maximise registration rates," it says. "This needs to be balanced against the potential economic impact of abolishing the edited register. The government’s approach to this issue is currently under consideration in the context of the wider access regime for the electoral registers."

Louise Richards, director of policy and campaigns at the IoF, said the government’s response was disappointing because it did not say if it was for or against the register, but there were positive aspects to it because it appeared to be taking people’s concerns on board.

"We will continue to make our views known to government and to monitor the situation," she said.

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