Electoral Register: Students:Written question - 282225

Q
Asked by Chris Ruane
(Vale of Clwyd)
[N]
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Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 25 July 2019
Cabinet Office
Electoral Register: Students
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) the University of Sheffield's initiative on voter registration for students and (b) mandating universities to promote students to register to vote.
A
Answered by: Kevin Foster
Answered on: 03 September 2019

The Government is encouraged by the University of Sheffield’s experience but has no plans to mandate a single approach across the country.

The Government is, however, committed to ensuring the electoral registration system is responsive to the needs of students. Ministerial Guidance was issued to the Office for Students (OfS) in February 2018 acting on a commitment made in Parliament during the
passage of the Higher Education and Research Act (2017), directing that they require Higher Education providers to comply with Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) requests for data and they be encouraged to work with Local Authorities to promote electoral registration amongst their student populations. The merits of working closely with EROs have been demonstrated by a number of Higher Education providers across the country.

Yet, the Government does not believe that one size fits all and instead favours an approach which allows innovation.

The Ministerial Guidance has since been used by the OfS to produce their own guidance to Higher Education providers, which advises them how they might best implement, and abide by, the requirements placed on them. The OfS guidance came into force in August. The Government is committed to ensuring everyone who is eligible to register to vote is able to do so and, in 2014, introduced online registration for the first time. Statistics show young people aged between 14 and 24 are more likely than average to use this as a means of registering to vote.

The Government believes these measures will drive up the number of applications to register from students – improving both the completeness and accuracy of the electoral register – as well as further improve the relationships between Higher Education provider and Local Authorities.

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