Britain’s Direct Marketing Association has responded with disappointment to draft legislation from the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions governing access to the electoral roll.

Currently, direct marketers are not given access to the electoral register by local authorities. Under the proposed regulations, two rolls would be set up: a full version and an edited one from which the public can opt out. Marketers would gain access solely to the latter.

However, the DMA is pushing for access to the full list, arguing that this is the best way for marketers to keep information accurate and up-to-date – as they are obliged to under the 1998 Data Protection Act.

“The inability to access [the electoral roll’s] data and remove inaccurate records from mailing lists, including deceased persons, minors or home movers, will lead to deterioration of standards and an increasing amount of poorly targeted marketing information,” warned the DMA.

The body, which vowed to scrutinise the regulations carefully before responding to the proposals, called for careful implementation. “It is important that voters should be given adequate information about the implications of the introduction and purpose of the two versions of the electoral register,” it said.

“It should be explained clearly to the public that opting out of the full register does not – and cannot – guarantee that they will receive no unsolicited commercial mail.”

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); Direct Marketing Association; additional content by WARC staff