A little while ago LW published a Freedom of Information (FOI) request asking the Council some basic questions relating to the people it employs to check that the Register of Electors is accurate. We decided to publish this request to fully involve both our readers with our investigations. We are now publishing the response.
The reason we made the FOI request was because we had reasonable grounds to believe that some of the people doing the checking were possibly, just possibly, members of the Council’s Youth Services team who had allegedly been up to all sorts of naughty things.
Which would not be good.
In case you missed it over the last year there have been a number of revelations concerning Youth Services under Lutfur Rahman such as How Lutfur Rahman used Youth Services to steal an election, and this story, and this story and this and this and this.
The full FOI response text is below and you can also find it online but here is our take on it.
A small number less than five.
It seems that the Council’s information on how many members of their Youth Services team were also checking the Register of Electors is a little vague.
So vague in fact that they do not know.
“A small number less than 5” is the number of Youth Services staff who also worked checking the Register of Electors from 2010 to 2015.
Which could be 4 people.
Or 3 people.
Or 2 people.
Or just one person.
But probably more than no people at all. And less than five people. How’s that for accurate record keeping?
We also asked how many members of Youth Services who also worked checking the Register of Electors were being investigated for wrongdoing?
A reply to this was refused as “it is information about someone else” (see below). Well yes of course it’s about someone else. As far as we are aware the Wapping Mole has never been a member of Youth Services or ever had the responsibility of checking the Register of Electors, let alone both.
Thinking about it we only asked how many members of Youth Services who also checked the Register of Electors were under investigation, not what their names were.
It would be funny if the number was to be revealed it was “A small number less than five”. Our money says it is.
Dual purpose Council employees
Another question was how these dual purpose Council employees were checked to see if they were suitable to do the job? Seems the Council relied on this small number of people (less than 5) telling the truth when they were asked to declare if they are eligible to work in the UK and if they had any convictions or police cautions either spent or otherwise.
LW wonders if anyone thought at anytime ever that this reliance on the integrity of applicants might be less than ideal? Probably not. Good job there is no history of public officials lying through their teeth in Tower Ham… oops! There is!
Our second favourite answer, after ‘less than 5’ is the reply to our last question ‘How many people added to the Register of Electors were later found, after checks, to have been inadvertently added?’
“None as far as we are aware.”
That’s a relief. None at all. As far as the Council is aware. School children and even many cats and dogs across the length and breadth of the country know that what this actually means is “we have not the slightest idea whatsoever”.
Using the same logic as the ‘less than five’ reply residents can assume that this number may be less than or equal to the total population of Tower Hamlets and probably more than none at all.
In conclusion we can only express our thanks to the people who directed us towards this particular line of enquiry. You will never be named but it’s people like you who are changing the Borough for the better. We are the mere conduits.
While this FOI response is not conclusive evidence it is yet another prompt for someone to have a little dig around this particular aspect of the Rahman administration.
If only things were that simple. But hey, that has never stopped us before. We might even submit another FOI.
FOI: 6192193 Register of Electors canvassing checks
- How many Youth Services staff worked as canvassers for the council making sure the Register of Electors was accurate between 2010 and 2015?A small number less than 5
- How many members of Youth Services, currently or previously employed, undertook this role?See above
- How many members of Youth Services, currently or previously under investigation, undertook this role?The information is exempt from disclosure under Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA). The information is personal data as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). As it is information about someone else I’m unable to givethis to you; release of this information would constitute a breach of Principle 1 of the DPA. Principle 1 states that personal data shall be processed (used) fairly and lawfullyand, in particular, shall not be used unless at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2 of the DPA is met; in this case none of those conditions have been met. This response therefore acts as a refusal notice under section 17 of the FoIA.
- What vetting measures, including the use of DBS checks, did the Returning Officer and the Council use with regards to all canvassing staff?All staff completing an application form to canvass for the borough are asked to declare if they are eligible to work in the UK and if they have any convictions or police cautions either spent or otherwise.
- What measures does the Returning Officer and the Council take now or during the time stated to ensure that people added to the Register of Electors by canvassers in this manner actually existed?With the introduction of Individual Electoral Registration (IER) in June 2014, all new residents are required to provide personal identifiers which are verified with Government databases before the resident is added to the register. If the identifiers do not match, the resident is required to provide further evidence to support their application. The Electoral Registration Officer is responsible for the compilation of the register of electors and conducts regular data matching exercises with other council records to ensure the register is as up-to-date and accurate as possible. Where entries are added to an address, previous electors are checked to confirm they still reside at the address. If there is any doubt, a review letter is sent out, giving the elector 14 days to respond.
- How many people added to the Register of Electors were later found, after checks, to have been inadvertently added?None as far as we are aware