Since the General Election was announced, the Improvement Service’s Spatial Information Service (SIS) has been collating up-to-date data about each local authority’s polling districts and polling places.
The latest polling data is now available in the national datasets on the Spatial Hub so that it can be used by anyone for gaining electoral insight. 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 previous elections, there is an added importance in making this information more openly available.
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 important for our democratic process. Users of the data include The Democracy Club, which is keen to access this up-to-date data for its Where do I vote tool.
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.
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.