Wolverhampton Council red-faced after 39,000 voters told anyone could view details

Blundering council chiefs ‘unreservedly apologised’ after a letter was sent out to 39,000 voters not on the open electoral register telling them anyone could view their personal details.

Wolverhampton City Council sent the letter out to 162,000 households.

It explained the latest changes to electoral registration, stating: “Your details are on the open register” – a shock to the 39,000 people who had opted out of it.

The public register features voters’ names and addresses, which can be passed on to anyone, including companies and organisations that send out junk mail.

Today, red-faced council bosses apologised for the mistake and said it was an administrative error. The council said it had received hundreds of complaints from furious residents since the letters were dispatched on Monday.

Alan Lloyd, from Limer Road, Oxley, was among those in receipt of a letter who had previously opted out of having his information made public.

“It has caused me a lot of distress and left my wife in tears,” said the 69-year-old.

“For them to make an error like this is just unacceptable. After this debacle I have no confidence left in the system.”

Tim Clark, spokesman for Wolverhampton City Council, said: “We unreservedly apologise for an administrative error resulting in letters going out to people who have previously opted out of being on the open electoral register, wrongly saying they have now been included on it. We want to reassure anyone who has previously opted out that nothing has changed and their details have stayed where they were.”

People not sure whether they have opted out can call 0800 197 2327.

Comments for: "Wolverhampton Council red-faced after 39,000 voters told anyone could view details"

Danimal

I received this letter and immediately called the number to be told I am on the private register.

I had to call the 0800 number on my mobile which is chargeable.

I will be sending an invoice and suggest everybody else does the same.

Who proof read this?

This sort of thing must go through some sort of compliance?

This is just another example of pure incompetence in the Kremlin.

JDG

Yes, I remember many years ago that the Council offices in *St Peter's Square was called the Kremlin by some Green Party members (*Perhaps we should start calling it Saint Petersburg Square?).

I also got one of those ambiguous letters about the electoral register.

Perhaps I should have been equally outraged as I also opted out of the public electoral register. But to be honest, there is so much rubbish being inflicted upon us by those in power (either at a local or Parliamentary level) that I've given up on the idiots.

JDG

... and before anyone says anything about my knowledge of geography, yes, I know the Kremlin is in Moscow.

Eddie S

Maybe a ' Green' candidate used the name ' The Kremlin' in yore, but they certainly weren't the first; my mate & I used it just before it opened in the late 70's, being naive students & socialist wannabees? It's sooo obvious, as Kremlin means ' fortress inside a city' and has that red colour brick & politic in it's inner sanctum!

I doubt the 'Greens' would have had, (or do)have the intellect to know that!

I like the use of St PetersBurg Sq, after all, that's the city in which the 1917 revolution focused on, Peter the Great n all that!

Stanna

Had a private company disclosed private information like this they would have been dragged before a court and prosecuted with the appropriate punishment handed out with compensation payable to those affected.

It is about time councils and government bodies were all made accountable for their mistakes, Just like the rest of us, it may concentrate their minds to do the job properly with disciplinary measures and dismissal for those directly responsible.

Spidey

But they didn't disclose any information. It was a mistake in the letter that a simple phone call cleared up if it was a concern.

Danimal

ALL Council staff have just been on Data Protection Training course.

Seriously - you couldn't write it could you?

Spidey

Hardly worth crying over like the person featured in the story. I also got the letter and phoned the number to make sure I was opted out. Some peoples blood pressure rockets over the slightest thing.

charlie.bear.5836

Looking forward to Margaret Hamilton's post where she explains how this incompetence is all due to the "evil Tory government's savage cuts"!

Danimal

Exactly.

Also how much has this cost?

39,000 envelopes

39,000 double sided printed A4 sheets

39,000 postage costs 32.4p each if sending Royal Mail second class business post (source Royal Mail pricing guide March 2014 onwards) They may have a cheaper deal but it's ball park.

How can they hark on at cuts when they just throw money away.

No doubt blame the lack of proofing on the cuts.

It won't be long until something else of equal or more incredulous gaffery happens mark my words.

I too

Why worry? It was a simple admin error where all names were pulled off the register instead of missing out those who had opted out.

Yes a little inconvenience, yes perhaps some minimal cost but at least you know that the changes have left you who have opted out are still opted out. As I found out to my relief.

Admin errors are commonplace everywhere, two letters from Student loans, 2 or more from NHS cancelling apointments etc etc.

Get on with life and stop moaning about admin errors.

To err is human, after all :)

markie

Some poor junior member of staff pressed the wrong button and cost the council a few hundred pounds. No real harm was done. Mistakes happen and forgiveness is on the cards, its not like a doctor amputating a leg by mistake.

Danimal

A few hundred pounds? The postage alone would be over £10,000

I too

Calculation error mate! Yet another admin error!

Unless you make the assumption that one person per household votes? 39000 voters do not live at 39000 different addresses.

Make it half that amount and assume that there are two people in each household. Better model of reality

They may have children or living with inlaws but will ignore such complexities coz some have more than others.......

So maybe 5000 pounds or less

markie

I didn't bother to work it out. The principle is the same. Some poor person made a mistake - we all do. Even if the information had been published it is no great deal.

Spidey

My wife had a separate letter to me. Two letters - one household. Most of the cost would have been sending letters to the majority who are on the open register.

charlie.bear.5836

The voters don't all live at different addresses but each one receives an individual letter about it.

Three letters about the electoral register delivered to my house in the same post.

oldrocker

Markie,

You think so?

Suppose you are working in Social Services and part of your job is to remove children from parents.

Would you want your details to be available to the parents?

markie

Not being on the open register, is very little protection against determined people trying to find you.

If you witness a serious crime you give your name and address in front of the criminals in court. I know I've done it

Putza Shiftin

Alan Lloyd aged 69 from Limer Road Oxley who was so distressed he immediately gave his personal information to a journalist to publish on the word wide web.

You're having a laugh!

I got this letter too, was a bit peeved at having to phone up to ascertain it was an admin error. But other than that and a few grand wasted in postage, it's hardly a war crime!