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Jisc develops app for student electoral registration



Higher education digital service provider to manage data as part of subscription deal with universities and colleges

The higher education sector digital service provider Jisc has created an app for students to register on their local electoral rolls.

It has developed the app in consultation with the Academic Registrars Council and the Association of Heads of University Administration as part of a service to manage the relevant data, and plans to begin using it in a pilot scheme in September with a view to making it fully available in September of next year.

The move comes in response to changes in electoral registration rules that came into force in 2014 that prevent universities and colleges from enrolling students en bloc. Under the individual voter registration rules they now have to sign up individually.

This was followed by the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 which requires education providers to cooperate with electoral registration officers in England to get students on the rolls.

The app will ask for the student to provide their national insurance number and give the university consent to supply other information, such as date of birth and full name, so it can then be transferred to the relevant electoral registrars in local authorities.

Secure transfer

Jisc will take care of the contracting and the data will be transferred securely using the UK Access Management Federation, a method of accessing resources and services that is already used by every higher education provider in the country.

The service will be offered on a subscription basis to recover its costs. Jisc said it estimates that, assuming 100% take-up by 109 institutions in England, the app will save the sector approximately £3 million between 2019-22 compared to the costs of using individual systems.

Paul Greatrix, registrar at the University of Nottingham, said the service “will provide a straightforward and secure method of not only achieving what the Office for Students is seeking but, more importantly, enabling every eligible student to get their name on the electoral register and ensuring they are able to participate fully in the democratic process”.

Image from iStock

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