Article by Paul Anderson-Riley - 7th January 2021

The Current Status Of This Year's Annual Canvass

If you registered or submitted changes to your Electoral Roll listing towards the end of 2020, you may find that your local council has yet to publish your information from the last Annual Canvass.

This’ll be affecting people across the country, but thankfully, it shouldn’t be a major cause for concern. It’s the direct result of a change in law intended to protect the people and resources of local councils from the demands of the pandemic.

Credit Reference Agencies, local councils, and lenders alike are well aware of the new law and the delayed Electoral Roll information. At time of writing, local councils across the UK are still updating their records.

This is because electoral registration officers (EROs) have been given a little more time to finish publishing last year’s Annual Canvass. Lord True states that the purpose of this change in law is ‘to run a Covid-secure canvass, while safeguarding the completeness and accuracy of electoral registers’.

The result for you is that your 2021 Electoral Roll information may take a little longer to be published. Here we’ll discuss what that means for your Credit Report, whether you can do anything to speed it up, and how to check the status of your Electoral Roll information.

What is the Annual Canvass?

The Annual Canvass is the yearly audit of voters in UK households and the collation of this data. This process is carried out between July and the end of the year, with the new version of the Electoral Roll historically being published by most local authorities on the first Monday of December.

This time, however, is different. For the 2021 Annual Canvass, the publication deadline date has been moved from 1 December 2020 to 1 February 2021.

Why did the Annual Canvass change?

The publication’s change of date came into effect after the passing of the new law ‘The Representation of the People (Electoral Registers Publication Date) Regulations 2020’. The purpose of this law is to provide EROs with an additional two months to complete the Annual Canvass safely and thoroughly.

Before this law was enacted, EROs would have been liable for prosecution if they failed to publish their revised registers by 1 December – now seen as unrealistic and dangerous time constraint under the coronavirus.

When can I expect my Credit Report to show my 2021 Electoral Roll listing?

The responsibility for publishing your information collected as part of the Annual Canvass lies solely with your local authority, and it will share your information with the Credit Reference Agencies at any time from 1 December 2020 to 1 February 2021.

As there are three Credit Reference Agencies and hundreds of local authorities, completing the Annual Canvass and sharing the information nationwide is a monumental effort. Because of this, we often see that it takes an additional month before all local councils’ information is updated with all Credit Reference Agencies.

How can I speed this up?

At the time of writing, the Annual Canvass has yet to be completed, which means you can’t influence the process yet.

Once all local authorities have completed their canvass and the Credit Reference Agencies have had sufficient time to update their records (usually about a month), if you find that your Electoral Roll information is still absent, you can raise a dispute with the relevant CRA to request that they amend your recorded Electoral Roll information.

This usually involves providing the CRA with a copy of your Electoral Confirmation letter from your council, which must detail your name, address, and date that your listing commenced. The CRA can then use it as evidence to manually amend your records.

Note that this type of dispute will only be available once the Annual Canvass has been published and the CRAs have had sufficient time to update their records accordingly.

Where necessary, our Disputes Team can contact each of the Credit Reference Agencies on behalf of customers, making the disputes process hassle-free. You can then use checkmyfile to monitor your Credit Report to make sure that your information is reported correctly.

How will this delay affect my Credit Report?

Until the latest Annual Canvass information is added to your Credit Report, you will likely find that your Electoral Roll listing is missing, or it might be present but with an end date in December 2020. This is because the Credit Reference Agencies correctly do not have any more recent information for you, as it’s still in the hands of the local authorities.

The CRAs must be certain that the information they hold is factually correct, so they won’t be able to add your Electoral Roll information until they receive the new data from your council.

If you have been registered on the Electoral Roll in the past, its absence shouldn’t be an issue as lenders will be able to see this historic information and use it as part of their assessment.

If lenders do not have any Electoral Roll confirmation for you at your current address, they may carry out additional verification checks.

It's also worth noting that lenders and Credit Reference Agencies are aware of this change in law and the exceptional circumstances that led to it.

How will I know when my Electoral Roll information is updated on my Credit Report?

As there are different Credit Reference Agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), your local authority will need to share the results of the Annual Canvass with all of them. It’s therefore best to check your information at all of the Agencies to ensure that your recent Electoral Roll information has been recorded correctly.

You can use checkmyfile to see the full impact of the Annual Canvass’ recent change. With access to your information from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion and you can see your Electoral Roll records, as well as your credit history, exactly as a prospective lender will see them.

checkmyfile makes the process of checking your information at all three agencies quick and easy. By collating your data from all three agencies onto a single, easy-to-use platform, you can get the most comprehensive view of your Credit Report, letting you easily spot any missing pieces.

If you haven’t already, you can check your Multi Agency Credit Report free for 30 days, then for just £14.99 per month, which you can cancel at any time.

Updated 07/01/2021 by Sam Griffin

The UK's First Provider Of Online Credit Reports

Launched 25 Years, 35 Million Credit Scores & 8 Million Credit Reports Ago

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