The Returning Officer is responsible for the administration of elections and referendums.

In order to deliver this service and fulfil their statutory responsibilities in respect of these functions, the Returning Officer is required to employ individuals as election staff to work at polling stations, at the counting and postal vote processes and for other specified duties. Chelmsford City Council facilitates the recruitment process on behalf of the Returning Officer.

In order to fill elections and canvasser vacancies, Electoral Services advertises the positions and interested individuals consequently apply. When applying for a canvasser or election position, Electoral Services collect information about applicants in order to determine whether the individual would be suitable for a position.

The following personal information is required as part of the application process:

  • the applicant’s full name
  • contact telephone number
  • email address

Then, before an offer of employment can be made, we require:

  • history of experience working at elections
  • history of previous criminal convictions
  • history of election campaigning on behalf of a candidate or party
  • the individual’s address, date of birth and National Insurance Number
  • bank account details including, bank name and address, sort code, account number, name of account
  • proof of eligibility to work in the UK

The basis for processing

This information is gathered and processed to ensure that staff are suitable for the role and can be paid for their duties.

General Data Protection Regulation Article 6(1)(b) – processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is party or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract. 

Who we share your data with

The information that you provide to the Returning Officer will be shared with Chelmsford City Council, to allow them to manage your employment on behalf of the Returning Officer.

Upon accepting a role working on polling day, you consent to your name and contact details being shared with the team that you will be working with to allow for preparation for the day to be undertaken.

In some elections, the electoral boundaries in Chelmsford are different and a neighbouring Returning Officer may be responsible for the area that you normally work in. If this is the case, we will ask your consent for your data to be shared with them to allow you to undertake the role for them in the relevant election.

How long we hold your data

Election staff’s personal details are kept for as long as the individual consents to their details being retained for the recruitment to staffing positions for future elections.

In preparation for each election, we write out to staff to determine their availability and give them the opportunity to be removed from our databases.

Should you wish for your details to be removed, you can contact us.

How do we protect data?

The council takes the security of your data seriously. The council has internal policies and controls in place to try to ensure that your data is not lost, accidentally destroyed, misused or disclosed, and is not accessed except by its employees in the performance of their duties.

Systems have relevant testing and updates to ensure the most up to date security is enabled. All staff who use data in their role have training relevant to their role.

Where the council engages third parties to process personal data on its behalf, we do so on the basis of written instructions, are under a duty of confidentiality and are obliged to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure the security of data.

Your rights

As a data subject, you have a number of rights. You can:​​​​​​​

  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​access and obtain a copy of your data on request;
  • require the council to change incorrect or incomplete data;
  • require the council to delete or stop processing your data, for example where the data is no longer necessary for the purposes of processing;
  • object to the processing of your data where the council is relying on its legitimate interests as the legal ground for processing; and
  • ask the council to stop processing data for a period if data is inaccurate or there is a dispute about whether or not your interests override the council's legitimate grounds for processing data.

If you would like to exercise any of these rights, you can contact our Data Protection Officer at

If you believe that the council has not complied with your data protection rights, you can complain to the Information Commissioner.

You can also view the Privacy Notice for Electoral Registration.

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