|>>|| No. 4512
Who uses the electoral register?
Election staff, political parties, candidates and holders of elected office use the register for electoral purposes.
Your local council and the British Library hold copies that anyone may look at under supervision. A copy is also held by the Electoral Commission, the Boundary Commissions (which set constituency boundaries for most elections) and the Office for National Statistics.
The council can use the register for duties relating to security, enforcing the law and preventing crime. The police and the security services can also use it for law enforcement.
The register is used when calling people for jury service.
Government departments may buy the register from local registration officers and use it to help prevent and detect crime. They can also use it to safeguard national security by checking the background of job applicants and employees.
Credit reference agencies can buy the register. They help other organisations to check the names and addresses of people applying for credit. They also use it to carry out identity checks when trying to prevent and detect money laundering.
It is a criminal offence for anyone to supply or use the register for anything else.
The only private entities with direct access to the unedited register are the credit reference agencies. They cannot resell that data in part or in whole, but can only use it for the purposes of credit referencing and anti money laundering checks. If I ask a CRA for the credit file of Joe Bloggs on Any Street, they can provide data from the unedited register. If I ask them for a list of everyone in Any Town, they can only provide me with data from the open register.
The current situation is actually an improvement in privacy; prior to 2001, the full unedited register was freely accessible, with no opt-out.