Political and civic participation, including political representation – Government action
UK Government actions
- In December 2019, the UK Government committed to introduce voter ID requirements at polling stations in UK parliamentary elections in Great Britain and local elections in England.
- In June 2019, the UK Government published a refreshed Public Appointments Diversity Action Plan alongside its response to the 2018 Lord Holmes Review into opening up public appointments for disabled people. The plan commits to improving the quality of data on public appointments and to increasing the levels of diversity among appointees by 2022.
- In December 2018, the EnAble Fund for Elected Office was launched to help political parties better support disabled candidates by providing grants that cover disability-related expenses. The Fund closed on 31 March 2020.
- In 2018, the UK Government held a consultation on proposed actions to address the issue of intimidation and undue influence in the democratic process. In its May 2019 response, the UK Government confirmed its intention to develop a new electoral offence of intimidation of candidates and campaigners.
- In March 2018, the UK Government introduced changes to anonymous voter registration to make it easier for domestic abuse survivors across Britain to register to vote anonymously.
- The UK Government ran voter ID pilots in five local authorities in England during the 2018 local government elections, requiring voters to present personal identification before casting their ballot. Similar pilots were held in May 2019.
- In 2018, the UK Government amended guidance to allow prisoners on temporary licence in England and Wales to vote, in response to the European Court of Human Rights judgment in Hirst v United Kingdom.
- In December 2017, the UK Government published a Democratic Engagement Plan outlining how it will increase participation among under-registered groups.
Read our assessment of the UK Government’s progress on political and civic participation, including political representation.
Welsh Government actions
Some aspects of participation are the responsibility of the Welsh Government, but a number of areas related to elections and political parties are reserved to the UK Government.
- In February 2021, the Welsh Government funded a pilot Access to Elected Office Fund to support disabled candidates with the additional costs associated with seeking elected office.
- In January 2021, the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act received Royal Assent. It includes provisions for reforming participation in local democracy and electoral arrangements for local government, and extends the franchise to 16- and 17-year-olds and qualifying foreign citizens for local elections.
- In September 2020, the Welsh Government launched phase two of its Diversity in Democracy programme, aiming to increase the number of local government candidates from diverse backgrounds.
- In June 2020, the Elections Planning Group was established to consider the impact of the pandemic on the administration of the 2021 Senedd elections. It introduced the Welsh Elections (Coronavirus) Act 2021.
- In February 2020, the Welsh Government launched its diversity and inclusion strategy for public appointments, which set out the actions to be taken in 2020‒21 to improve the diversity of public leaders in Wales.
- The Welsh Government supported, but did not introduce, the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020, extending the right to vote in Senedd elections to 16- and 17-year-olds and qualifying foreign citizens. The Welsh Government has since implemented the changes required in the new legislation.
- In June 2019, the Welsh Government agreed to introduce legislation to give prisoners serving custodial sentences of less than four years the ability to vote in local government elections. However, this has not been acted upon.
Read our assessment of the Welsh Government’s progress on political and civic participation, including political representation.