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									Electoral Services
Customer Service Standards

Publication date Oct 2008 Version 2.0 Created by Electoral services

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A.

What does electoral services do? Electoral services manages the local, national and European elections that take place within the council’s district. This also includes by-elections and referenda. It also conducts the annual and monthly rolling electoral registration for the district.

B.

What can our customers expect from electoral services?

These are our customer care values. We will: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Manage your request promptly Provide good quality services Be helpful, fair, honest, professional, courteous and consistent Provide the relevant information that you need Take ownership of your query Be realistic in what we say we can do, or can’t Treat your personal information as confidential and keep it secure Listen to your comments ~ and learn from them. Council’s web site (www.walsall.gov.uk/elections) is kept up to date with most of the information you need to know as an elector or potential elector and its “latest News” is updated as soon as something relevant is known. The Electoral Commission’s web sites (www.electoralcommission.gov.uk and www.aboutmyvote.co.uk) have lots of information for candidates, electors, young people and political parties. Many of the forms you may need for electoral registration, postal or proxy voting can be found on council’s or the Electoral Commission’s website (www.aboutmyvote.co.uk) although for security reasons we much prefer to post them to an address rather than just hand them over the counter.

Registration:
A copy of the full register can be inspected at the electoral registration office , Darwall St or the reference library in the main council library, Lichfield St. A new register is published on 1st December each year. Copies of the edited register (people can opt to be taken off the edited register – it is not used for any electoral purposes) can be purchased by anyone and used for any purpose. Because of electoral registration and data protection laws, we cannot give information over the phone on who is on the full electoral register.

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Every year council is required to update its electoral register. To do this it we deliver an electoral registration form to the house where you live (this is called the “annual canvass”) in August every year. The form will have on it the details of those who are currently on the register at that address. The information on the form needs to be updated, if any changes have happened ie, people have moved out / in, want a postal / proxy vote or someone wants to opt out of the edited register or there is an error in the information (spelling, wrong nationality etc). If there are no changes to the information contained in the form, ring the 0800 number or the internet address shown and record the fact there are no changes. The form will have the details. If you use either of these (phone or internet) to record no changes, you don’t need to return the form. You can still register or change your details at any time. To do so you need to complete a “claim” form (ER3) which we post out to you. For security reasons we much prefer to post the “claim” form to your home address rather than hand them out over the counter, so give us a ring and we will post them on the same day to your address. Remember, if you are not on the electoral register, you cannot vote in any election. You may also find it difficult to obtain credit from a financial institution (credit reference agencies use the register as part of their checking procedures).

Postal / Proxy vote
You can ask to have a postal vote at any time (up to 11 days before an election) and you don’t need a reason to have one. You need to complete an application form. You can nominate someone to exercise your vote on your behalf – called a proxy. Again, an application form has to be completed. Again for security and standard of data capture reasons we much prefer to post the “application” form to your home address rather than hand them out over the counter, so give us a ring and we will post them on the same day to your address.

Elections
Dates for local council and European Parliamentary elections are set by law and are well known in advance. The date for a general election is set by the Prime Minister of the day and is generally only known a short time in advance.

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By-elections are held if there is a vacancy created by a death or resignation within the term of an elected body. If you are a postal voter we will deliver a poll card to you prior to an election. This is only to confirm that you have a postal vote and is an anti fraud measure. We will post the ballot paper to you at the address you have given us approximately 8-10 days before an election. You need to return it quickly either by post, hand delivering to a polling station in your ward / constituency or to the Electoral Registration Office before close of voting. If you post it, it needs to be received by us before the close of polling so best to post it no later than 2 days before polling day. If you are not a postal voter, you can vote in a polling booth near you. Before an election, we will deliver a poll card to you. This tells you the date that an election will be held and most of what you need to know (you don’t need to take it to the polling station unless you are registered anonymously). Polling stations will be set up within a reasonable distance of you and disability access should be available at nearly all of them. However, you cannot vote there if you are registered as a postal voter but you can drop off your completed postal vote (in its envelope) if needed. If you lose or spoil your postal vote, you can ask for a replacement (call the Electoral Registration office – details above). However, if you have lost your postal vote after 5.0pm on polling day, you can go to your polling station and cast a tendered vote. The election result is usually carried by the local / national media and we will post it on council’s web site within a few hours of the result being known. C. What does the council expect from its customers? Advise your local Electoral Registration Office of any change of address or the names or any new residents to your household or those that reach 17 years of age. If you are 17 years of age, make sure you’re on the register (while you can’t vote until you are 18 you’re at least ready to exercise it when it comes along) If you have moved house or have not received an electoral registration form in August / September, don’t assume all is well. You can check your status on the register by inspecting it (never assume that because you’ve told council tax that you’ve moved into a house that the electoral register is updated – it isn’t because you need to sign a separate declaration). Data protection laws prevent us from giving that information out over the phone.

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Exercise your right to vote. A lot of effort goes into making sure you can vote and so has a lot of history. Keep yourself informed of issues affecting yourself and your community so that when you vote it is an informed vote. Read the information that comes your way as part of either registration or elections. Many a vote is invalid or things take longer to do because people don’t read what they should do. If you are unsure of anything give us a ring. We are, however, not a legal service. Any information or advice given should not be treated as legal advice or opinion. You should consult your own legal advisor for such advice and/or opinions on electoral law. D. How can I comment, compliment or complain on the service I have received?

Have we done a good job? Then “Tell Us”. You can complete a form on which you can make comments, suggest how we can improve our services or make a complaint or compliment. “Tell Us” forms are available from all council offices, or: Write to us at: Customer focus and intelligence Walsall Council Civic Centre Darwall Street Walsall WS1 1TP Telephone 01922 650000 Fax 01922 614210 Textphone 0845 111 2910 If you have internet access, you can complete the form online at www.walsall.gov.uk/complaints_compliments Information in other languages or formats is available on request, or see our website for the electronic translation service. E. How can you get in touch with Electoral Services

You can contact our service via: Write to us or visit us at: Electoral Services Office Darwall St Walsall

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WS1 1TH (we are opposite the main post office) Our opening hours are: 8.00am to 4.30pm Monday – Friday (we are open during lunch times) Telephone: 01922 65 2030 or 2069 or 2016 Fax: 01922 65 2040 Web site, www.walsall.gov.uk/elections e-mail; allsopp@walsall.gov.uk Large print formats of forms are available on request at the contacts above Service standards are published on the council’s Internet site www.walsall.gov.uk

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