Under the Representation of the People Act 1983, each local authority is required, by law, to appoint a 'Returning & Counting Officer'. The Returning & Counting Officer position is a personal appointment separate from Glasgow City Council and the local authority's statutory duties.
The Returning & Counting Officer has statutory duties to process certain personal data for the purpose of administrating elections and referendums, and as such, is subject to the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018.
To comply with data protection legislation, the Returning & Counting Officer is registered as a Data Controller with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). The detail of this registration can be viewed by searching the public register on the ICO website for the following registration number: ZA237459.
This privacy notice explains what personal information is collected in order for the Returning & Counting Officer to comply with the statutory duties, what that information is used for, who it is provided to and the lawful basis on which the Returning & Counting Officer does this.
The Returning & Counting Officer is personally responsible for ensuring that they comply with the requirements of data protection law.
It should be noted that many of the Returning & Counting Officer's service or functions will not require the processing of personal data on behalf of the Council. The Returning & Counting Officer will, however, be processing personal data on behalf of one or more of the following statutory holders.
(a) The registration officer appointed by the Council under section 8 of the Representation of People Act 1983;
(b) The Acting Returning & Counting Officer for parliamentary elections for any parliamentary constituency for which the position is held under section 28 of the Representation of People Act 1983;
(c) The Counting Officer responsible for the administration, within the Council's local authority area, of any local, regional or national referendum;
(d) Any other statutory office holder whose duties relate to administering elections or referendums and whose office is held by virtue of holding one or more of the offices described in (a) to (d) above or is otherwise required by law to be held by an officer of the Council.
The Returning & Counting Officer will use / process information in relation to voters in order to deliver the statutory duty and, where required, any provision for absent or postal voters.
The Returning & Counting Officer will use / process information relating to candidates, candidates' agents and individuals subscribing candidate nomination papers.
Personal data will also be processed relating to staff employed by the Returning & Counting Officer. Such staff data will include an employee's name, address, other contact details, date of birth, national insurance number and bank details.
Personal information relating to individuals making enquiries, complaints, information requests to the Returning & Counting Officer or making submissions to election related statutory consultations will also be processed.
By providing this personal information the individual / candidate allows the Returning & Counting Officer to fulfil the statutory duties or any other associated requirements for the purpose of that role and function.
If you apply to be an absent voter, the compilation and maintenance of records of absent voters.
Fulfilling obligations relating to the supply of absent voter lists.
For the administration of local and national elections and referendums, including:
- Determining which electors are entitled to be issued with ballot papers at polling stations.
- Determining which electors are entitled to vote by way of an absent vote
- Issuing poll cards to electors and to proxies
- Issuing postal vote packs and receiving completed packs and statements
- Processing candidates' nomination papers, publishing statutory notices containing candidates' information, producing ballot papers and maintaining election process
- Publishing statutory notices containing election agents' details and managing election process in which the election agent is involved.
- For counting agents, polling agents, postal vote agent, count supervisor, nominating officer or similar official, managing the election process the officers are involved in.
- In the capacity as custodian of the Council's copy of the electoral register, deciding on how the copy may be used or made public.
- Managing enquiries, complaints or information requests (for example, request under Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, General Data Protection Regulation etc.).
(The Returning & Counting Officer is legally obliged to publish certain personal information, such as that relating to election candidates and election agents, in the form of public notices).
The lawful basis for processing personal data are set out in Data Protection legislation. In this case the lawful basis for processing individuals' data are:
(1) Legal obligation - the processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject,
(2) Public task - the processing is necessary to perform a task in the public interest or for official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law.
The information is required by the Returning & Counting Officer in order to carry out duties under the following legislation:
Data Protection legislation defines Special Category Data as data relating to the processing of personal data regarding racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership and the processing of genetic data, biometric data, data concerning health or data concerning a person's sex life or sexual orientation.
The Returning & Counting Officer will have a requirement to process some types of Special Category Data and in particular:
The lawful basis for processing Special Category Data is:
(1) The processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest, on the basis of Union or Member State law which shall be proportionate to the aim pursued, respect the essence of the right to data protection and provide for suitable and specific measures to safeguard the fundamental rights and the interests of the data subject,
To enable the Returning & Counting Officer to carry out the statutory functions there may be a requirement to share information, under legal obligations, including:
For certain elections, information will be shared with other Local Authorities' Counting/Returning & Counting Officers. For spending returns in certain elections, information will be shared with the Cabinet Office or Scottish Government.
Where there is staff appointed to support the delivery of Returning & Counting Officer's function and statutory duties, the personal information of the appointed staff will be shared with the appropriate departments within the Council, HMRC and, if necessary, with Police Scotland.
The Returning & Counting Officer will also make any disclosures required by law and may also share information with other bodies responsible for detecting/preventing fraud or auditing/administering public funds.
The Returning & Counting Officer may need to appoint other organisations to carry out some activities on its behalf. These may include, for example, the Council for payment processing, printers, delivery organisations, mailing houses and contractors or consultants providing services to the Returning & Counting Officer, where they need to be provided with personal information to allow them to provide these services. We select these organisations carefully and put measures in place to make sure that they are not allowed to do anything with your personal information which the Returning & Counting Officer could not do itself.
Where information is shared with other organisations or processed on our behalf, we will ensure adequate protection by ensuring contracts and sharing agreements are in place that define security controls around the sharing of the information.
The Returning & Counting Officer will keep your personal information for the minimum period amount of time necessary. Sometimes this time period is set out in the law, but in most cases it is based on the business need. The Returning & Counting Officer maintain a records retention and disposal schedule which sets out how long we hold different types of information for. You can view this on the Council's website at www.glasgow.gov.uk/rrds or you can request a hard copy from the contact address stated above.
After the retention period, personal data no longer required is securely destroyed.
If you are a postal voter, the Returning & Counting Officer uses your information to make decisions through automated means when it checks personal identifiers that you provide against those contained in your original postal vote application.
In any case where the automated process reports that the personal identifiers you have provided do not match those on your original postal vote application, there will be an intervention by a human being who will make a final decision (i.e. there will always be the involvement of a human decision-maker where the result of the automated process indicates the possibility of a decision to your detriment).
Under data protection legislation, individuals have the right to request access to information about them that the Returning & Counting Officer holds. This includes:
I. you think that we no longer need to hold the information for the purposes for which it was originally obtained
II. you have a genuine objection to our use of your personal information - see Objecting to how we may use your information below
III. the use of your personal information is contrary to law or our other legal obligations.
Objecting to how we may use your information - You have the right at any time to tell the Returning & Counting Officer to stop using your personal information. The decision on whether the objection is accepted would be subject to the lawful basis for which the information was obtained and purpose for which it used.
Restricting how we may use your information- in some cases, you may ask the Returning & Counting Officer to restrict how we use your personal information. This right might apply, for example, where the Returning & Counting Officer is checking the accuracy of personal information that is held about you or when assessing the objection you have made to our use of your information.
This right might also apply if the Returning & Counting Officer no longer has a basis for using your personal information but you don't want us to delete the data. Where this right is realistically applied will mean that we may only use the relevant personal information with your consent, for legal claims or where there are other public interest grounds to do so.
The Returning & Counting Officer aims to resolve all complaints about how your personal data has been handled as soon as possible. Individuals can contact the Returning & Counting Officer regarding their data protection rights, the processing of their data, or to request access to information held by the Returning & Counting Officer by contacting the Data Protection Officer at:
Data Protection Officer
Glasgow City Council, Chief Executive's Department,
City Chambers, Glasgow, G2 1DU
You also have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner's Office, who can be contacted by post at: Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. By phone on 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745. Visit their website for more information at- https://ico.org.uk/concerns