One of the common things you hear from people on the doorstep as to why they won’t vote is that they don’t want people tracking them down through the electoral roll.
However people can register anonymously. If for example you fear domestic violence or are in an occupation where your name and address needs to be kept private. Evidence of this such as a court order or from a senior police officer or senior Social Services officer is required.
Out of the 10,000 electors in Bidston & St. James one has chosen this route, but it is not very well publicised as it has only been available to people for the last few years. At the end of each polling district is a “Other Electors” section that for electors not connected with a specific address eg overseas voters. Anonymous registrations are put here but instead of a name there is just a letter (N) followed by a poll number where the name would be.
Those who are anonymously registered are sent a polling card in a windowless envelope. They are the only voter who has to take this polling card to vote. When they do so, their name and address is not read out.
Their information is not shared with candidates or political parties but only a select number of people prescribed by law. Joanna Perry, Policy Manager, Victim Support said:
“Anonymous registration is a big step forward for people who are in fear of their safety, or even their life. We know of situations where a perpetrator has subsequently found the victim and caused considerable distress or further harm, and in some situations killed them.
“So it is vital that victims who live in fear are informed of the option to register anonymously and still participate in the right to vote that is available to us all.”
Cllr Holbrook said he welcome the announcement regarding the Enterprise Zone and referred to Wirral Waters. The amendment was agreed.
Item 4 – the Annual Governance Statement was agreed.
Item 5 was the Contracts Review. Ian Coleman said that Wirral Council were to engage PricewaterhouseCoopers to look at the fifty largest contracts. The credits would expire in June and it would lead to savings to the authority.
Cllr Green said he shuddered regarding engaging consultants. However in this case it was credits versus cash. Ian Coleman said that if the contract was extended he would have to come back to the Cabinet. Cllr Green said to tidy up, as set out in paragraphs 3.1 to 3.4 he wanted to make sure skills would be transferred. Item 5 was agreed.
The local government resource review was also introduced by Ian Coleman. He explained the outcome of negotiations with the government in this area and the Department of Communities and Local Government. Cllr Green said that Wirral Council needed to nail its position to the mast regarding what was in Wirral’s best interests. He said we need to be absolutely crystal clear where we stand.
Cllr Holbrook said the revised recommendation gets us on the front foot as well as widening the network of groups influenced. Cllr Green agreed.
The recommendation is below:-
“2.1 That Officers and Members, as appropriate, undertake detailed work and proactively make representations to influence Government, with the aim of securing a fair and rebalanced funding formula to tackle Wirral’s underlying problems and provide adequate resources for local services.
2.2 That input be made to collective lobbying through bodies such as SIGOMA, LGA, Liverpool City Region, other Councils and representative bodies, as appropriate, to promote the case for equalisation, seeking to ensure that those local authorities with a low income from business rates and a high level of Government Grant support are not adversely affected by the proposed repatriation of business rates.”
Cllr Green said the cherry on the cake had been improvement of half a million pounds to improve shopping services. Cllr Lewis said a package of measures was still in place. Ian Coleman (Director of Finance) replied. Bill Norman (Borough Solicitor) said it was still there. The Chief Executive Designate said it was still there.
Cllr Kelly said he thought when rubbish leaflets came through the door he felt like he was in an alternative universe. He was pleased senior officers had woken him up from a Labour alternative reality.
The recommendation was amended by Cllr Hodson, seconded by Cllr Elderton as follows:-