Canvass Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a Household Enquiry Form (HEF)?

You will have received a Household Enquiry Form (HEF) as part of the 'annual canvass'. This audit of the district is carried out every year in order to make sure that the register of electors is kept up to date.

The Electoral Registration Officer has to legally carry out this annual update and you must respond.

The household enquiry form collects the details of everyone who lives at your address so that we know who is eligible to register to vote.

The form will be addressed to "the present occupier" and will contain the details of all those in the household who are registered to vote.

Each household is required by law to make sure that the details on the form are correct.

How can I respond?

If there are changes to the details on the form, the easiest and quickest way to return the form is by completing it online via Household Update Service website. This link is also on the front of the form.

Alternatively, if there are no changes, you can return the form by using the phone number or text service using the pre-printed codes on the form.

You will need to do the following:

  • Check the details pre-printed on the form are correct
  • Add the name and nationality of any resident whose name is not already on the form (they must be aged 16 or over and eligible to register to vote)
  • If there are no eligible residents, you should state why this is the case

What happens after I return the form?

If you made no changes to the form then you don't need to do anything further.

If you have added people to the form then we will get in touch with them to invite them to register individually. The quickest and easiest way for them to do this is to register to vote online via the GOV.UK website.

Otherwise we will send a paper form in the post.

Opting out of the open register?

We hold 2 versions of the electoral register - the full version and the 'open register'

Everyone's name and address goes on the full version of the electoral register. The full version of the register is only used for:

  • elections
  • preventing and detecting crime
  • checking applications for loans or credit
  • jury summoning

You can opt out of the open register - you will still be able to vote.

This is the version of the register that's available to anyone who wants to buy a copy. When you complete an Invitation to Register form we send you, or you go online to register, make sure that you tick the box to say you want to be omitted.

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