Legal Requirement To Complete Annual Household Enquiry Form

Jeff Smith made this Freedom of Information request to Exeter City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Exeter City Council,

I note that the Annual Household Enquiry Form sent out by the council in respect of the electoral register contains the following statement in the Declaration section:
'I understand that it may be an offence to fail to provide the information asked for in this form..' Surely non-completion of the Annual Household Enquiry Form either is an offence under law, or it is not an offence ?
On what legal basis therefore, can Exeter City Council require the Annual Household Enquiry Form to be completed by a city resident ?
Furthermore, how many people were subjected to legal action by Exeter City Council in 2016 for failing to complete an Annual Household Enquiry Form ?

Yours faithfully,

Jeff Smith

Freedom Of Information, Exeter City Council

Thank you for your request for information.  I will arrange for a response
to be issued as soon as possible.  If you have any queries about the
progress of your request, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Please note that information relating to schools, education, trading
standards, social care (e.g. care homes) and highways is held by Devon
County Council and your request should be re-directed to them.  Their
contact details are as follows:

 

Information Compliance Manager

Strategic Intelligence

Room L10

County Hall

Topsham Road

Exeter

EX2 4QD

Telephone: 01392 384679

Email: [email address]

 

Kind regards

FOI Officer

for Corporate Manager, Policy, Communications and Community Engagement

Exeter City Council

Civic Centre

Exeter     EX1 1JN

Tel: 01392 277888

email: [Exeter City Council request email]

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 Disclaimer: [1]http://www.exeter.gov.uk/disclaimer

References

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Bainbridge, Carrie-Anne, Exeter City Council

Thank you for your request for information.

The Electoral Registration Officer and the Returning Officer do not carry out duties on behalf of the local authority but in their own personal capacity. A list of public bodies and local authorities that are subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act is available at Schedule 1 of the Act and does not list any person appointed under the Representation of the People Act 1983. It follows that the Electoral Registration Officer, Returning Officer or any other person appointed under that Act are not subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, therefore I am unable to disclose the information requested.

I am sorry I am unable to help on this occasion.

Exeter City Council is committed to openness and transparency. If you wish to request a review of either our decision, or the way your request has been handled, please write to the Council's Corporate Manager at the address below. Your request will be considered in line with our Review Procedure. Full details of this procedure, including your right of appeal to the Information Commissioner, are available in our access to information policy (http://exeter.gov.uk/council-and-democra...)

Kind regards

Policy Officer
Executive Support
Direct Line 01392 265875

Dear Exeter City Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Exeter City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Legal Requirement To Complete Annual Household Enquiry Form'.

It is not a satisfactory response to merely pretend that electoral services are operating independently, and not on behalf of Exeter City Council.

Equally, it is not acceptable for Annual Household Enquiry Forms to be sent to residents of Exeter based on an implied threat of legal action if not completed.

Particularly when there appears to be no genuine legal basis or authority for these actions.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/l...

Yours faithfully,

Jeff Smith

Freedom Of Information, Exeter City Council

Thank you for your request for information.  I will arrange for a response
to be issued as soon as possible.  If you have any queries about the
progress of your request, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Please note that information relating to schools, education, trading
standards, social care (e.g. care homes) and highways is held by Devon
County Council and your request should be re-directed to them.  Their
contact details are as follows:

 

Information Compliance Manager

Strategic Intelligence

Room L10

County Hall

Topsham Road

Exeter

EX2 4QD

Telephone: 01392 384679

Email: [email address]

 

Kind regards

FOI Officer

for Corporate Manager, Policy, Communications and Community Engagement

Exeter City Council

Civic Centre

Exeter     EX1 1JN

Tel: 01392 277888

email: [Exeter City Council request email]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Disclaimer: [1]http://www.exeter.gov.uk/disclaimer

References

Visible links
1. http://www.exeter.gov.uk/disclaimer

Luxton, Bruce, Exeter City Council

Dear Mr Smith,

 

Thank you for your request for an internal review of the Council’s
handling of your FOI request entitled 'Legal requirement to complete
annual household enquiry form' dated 2 October 2017.

 

I have reviewed the Council’s decision to not release the information you
have requested and I overrule the decision.

 

The information you have requested does not fall within the scope of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000, because the information is held by the
Electoral Registration Officer, who is not subject to the provisions of
the Freedom of Information Act.  However, in the interests of openness and
transparency, I can advise that, the Household Enquiry Form is approved by
the Minister for the Cabinet Office and made available by the Electoral
Commission. By law, (Representation of the People (England and Wales)
Regulations 2001), Reg. 32ZA(2) the form is prescribed and cannot be
amended.  There is no discretion to use a form to a like effect.
Regulation 32ZA(3) states at paragraph (g), that the form must ‘include a
statement that failure to provide information…may be an offence..’.

 

Regulation 23(1) grants the Electoral Registration Officer the power to
require information and Regulation 23(3) sets out the penalty for failure
to comply.  I can advise that no individuals were subject to legal action
by the Council in 2016 for failing to complete a Household Enquiry Form. 

 

Please contact me if I can be of further help.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Bruce Luxton

Corporate Manager

Executive Support

Direct Line 01392 265166