Carl O’Brien in the Irish Times today has the shock(?) news that the use of enumerators could to compile a new electoral register might run into some legal and Industrial Relations kerfuffles. Summary is that Local Authorities are, by law, the agencies responsible for maintaining the Electoral register. To use CSO staff would require legislative changes and, if the driving tester fiasco is anything to go by, would be scuppered by the Unions.
Of course, no body seems to have grasped the biggest, most fundamental issue… currently there are a large number of enumerators in the field being paid by the CSO. On the 22nd of May these people will cease to be employed as their contracts run only to the 21st of May.
So, unless the Government can draft and pass legislation, get Union agreement for the changes in work practices and get the temporary part-time enumerators to sign new contracts and all by the 21st of May (less than 4 weeks) then this wonderful idea is going no where fast. Snowball…. hell… in… chance are words that you can rearrange to your heart’s content.
And even if it was – it is just a tactic for institutionalised scrap and rework. Where are the proposals for root-cause analysis? Where is the action plan to improve the Electoral Register maintenance processes to prevent this issue from occuring again?
This is a fundamental Information Quality problem. ‘Re-engineering’ the data through audit or scrap and rework will not prevent this from happening again. Re-engineering the process (including investing in new technologies if appropriate), investing in training (for Local Authority staff and for the public) and introducing a process to monitor, measure and control the quality of the electoral register is a crucial step that must be taken.
The checks and balances that may have existed previously have collapsed (as discussed in Saturday’s Irish Times) and need to be replaced – the process is broken and needs to be fixed to ensure a sustained improvement in the quality of the electoral register.
Check out www.iaidq.org for details on Information Quality Management practices to learn more.