Scotland Democracy, devolution and governance, Technology

The importance of data for the December election

Photo credit: AlanOrganLRPS

Ever since the December General Election was announced, the Spatial Information Service (SIS) have been busy collating up-to-date data about each local authority’s Polling Districts and Polling Places. Given that this is the first December General Election since the 1930s, and many Polling Places will need to be different than those used for the European Elections earlier in the year, there is an added importance in making this information more openly available. The Democracy Club are particularly keen to access this up-to-date data for their Where do I vote tool.

Much has been written (like this GeoPlace blog) about the importance of good address data for collecting the electoral register. Less focus has been put on having accurate and up-to-date digital information about where people are expected to vote, despite it being reliant on the same address data and very important for our democratic process.

SIS is playing an important role across the local government community in encouraging improved management of location-based data like this. The One Scotland Gazetteer is ensuring that standard address (and street) data is being collected for every single local authority and that this data is being used across more and more local authority functions – like electoral systems. The Spatial Hub is also collecting much of this data and information to make it more accessible and usable for the rest of the data community – for gaining insight, conducting analysis and innovation purposes.

By encouraging local authority data experts to work closely with function and policy leads to improve the data they have, we have managed to get the very latest polling data into national datasets on the Spatial Hub so that it can be used by anyone for gaining electoral insight.

We encourage anyone across local government that is responsible for data and information to consider how it can be made more useful and more available to the wider community. The Improvement Service’s Change Programme are more than happy to set up workshops with local government to explore how this can be done. If you have any queries regarding the support we offer or how we could support your council please do not hesitate to get in touch at changemanagement@improvementservice.org.uk

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