Senator Minihan makes a good deal of sense in his speech to the Seanad (Irish Senate, second house of our executive).
His is the closest I have seen in the debates and coverage thus far to an apolitical statement of purpose. Also, he has touched on a number of potential root causes for the current state of the register.
He is espousing a long term strategy (good) and a short term scrap and rework (not so good, but necessary at this stage). He questions why there is so much variation in ‘quality’ between local authority areas and what the motivation might be for local authorities to manage the register in the current modus operandi.
Significantly he states that the long term planning shouldn’t be put off until after the election but should start now. This is in keeping with good Information Quality Management practice where scrap and rework is commenced in parallel with process reviewÂ and improvement (ideally process improvement should start first).
My recommendation is that the root cause analysis that is currently at anecdotal level should be formalised into a format similar to that outlined in my Draft Paper on Electoral Register Information Quality Approaches. The root causes should then be prioritised in terms of their frequency of occurence and their ease of remediation.
Senator Minihan correctly points out that you need to provide more information when setting up an ESB account or a phone account than you do when registering to vote. Is that not a telling root cause?
However, the challenge now is to ensure that the constancy of purpose that Senator Minihan calls for is achieved as if the governemnt believes that some scrap and rework is all there is to solving this problem they are sorely mistaken.
I’ll have to read this speech a bit closer to find exactly what it is I can disagree with.