Decision details


Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


Councillor Pringle asked the following question in writing to the Leader of the Council:


Protection of EU citizens’ rights in Dacorum 


In view of recent advice to the government, as outlined in House of Commons Library briefing paper No: 8772 (Annex 1 below) and the deadline for EU citizens to apply for settled status being just 18 months away (Annex 2 below), does the Leader agree that it is incumbent on all levels of government to take responsibility for assisting EU citizens who have built their lives in the UK?


Does the leader agree that DBC should be doing all we can to ensure those EU citizens resident in Dacorum can optimise their opportunities of successfully apply for settled status rights.


In particular:


1.    Will the Leader ensure that Dacorum Borough Council will take all reasonable and necessary steps to assist EU citizens resident here, particularly the vulnerable, with applications for settled status?


2.    In particular, will he pledge to introduce the following measures:

1.    Immediately provide easily accessible information and support to EU citizens on the DBC website. This would include a letter from the Leader to EU citizens outlining in plain language that EU citizens are welcome in Dacorum and the support that they can access in applying for settled status (such as the example set by the leader of Vale of White Horse District Council Annex 3) and links to government information.


3.            Set up an urgent review of services to consider how DBC can further offer support to EU citizens in Dacorum in terms of:

1.    Helping with process

2.    Providing additional resources necessary, such as computer terminals in libraries for those who do not have the app

3.    Fast tracking requests for evidence of residence in Dacorum to support Settled Status applications and training staff to proactively assist such applicants

4.    Training staff to generally support and advise residents making such applications

5.    Commit to providing the funding necessary to reach out to vulnerable groups, such as

1.    providing grants to outreach groups and

2.    ensuring all DBC staff who work with the elderly, the homeless and residents with other vulnerabilities are trained in proactively offering appropriate support and identifying and supporting those at risk of failing to apply for settled status




Extract 1 from Briefing Paper No:8772 House of Commons Library

Commons Library Briefing, 3 January 2020


“The Home Office is undertaking a range of outreach and communications activities targeted towards EUSS applicants. But it has been estimated that about 30% of EU citizens may struggle with the EUSS application process, whether due to a lack of awareness of the scheme or difficulties making an application or proving their eligibility. They are therefore particularly vulnerable to losing their status and entitlements in the UK. Groups identified include the elderly, people with limited English, children and young people in the care system, homeless people, people who arrive soon before the deadline and people in casual employment.8


Another major concern the 3 million have is that the government has rejected calls to issue physical proof of status documents to people who successfully apply to the EUSS. Instead, they receive a digital status”




Extract 2 from Briefing Paper No:8772 House of Commons Library

Commons Library Briefing, 3 January 2020


2.3 Deadline for applying to the EUSS

Clause 7 allows Ministers to make regulations specifying a deadline for applications to the EUSS. The WA states that the deadline cannot be less than six months after the end of the transition period (therefore, 30 June 2021, unless extended). The government has been criticised for not setting out in any detail its intended approach towards people who miss that deadline.




Sample letter from Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council




The Leader of the Council answered each point in turn:


DBC has a permanent webpage and this provides a single source of guidance and the most up to date information to leaving the EU. He said he appreciated that you could only find this information if you type ‘Brexit’ into the search bar so they are looking at ways to make this information more accessible.


He said they were in the process of writing a leaflet to go in with all the new council tax bills for every household in Dacorum. He proposed that we include a section in the leaflet on this subject.


He explained that CSU had computer terminals for residents, as does the Libraries across the Borough.


The nearest assisted verification service for Dacorum residents is located in Vicarage Road, Watford.


The most common document to be requested from us is council tax bills and we aim to have a turnaround of 14 days.


The customer services team have the required information on the EU Settlement Scheme from the Home Office portal. Staff have been advised to work through the guidance with residents.


He advised that we haven’t proposed additional funding to support outreach groups as there is sufficient advice available through the system processes and with agencies such as Citizens Advice Bureau.


Information on the EU Settlement Scheme has been provided to our Housing team.


There are 13 members of Dacorum staff that need to apply for this scheme; they have all been advised of this and HR will support them.


The Mayor advised that Councillor Pringle was entitled to three supplementary questions.


Councillor Pringle asked if they would consider investing in a comprehensive review of the website to think of all the terms people would use to search. Councillor Williams said he had already indicated that they would review the website.


Councillor Pringle asked if the Leader would consider writing a letter similar to the letter above written by Councillor Emily Smith to encourage people to apply for the scheme. Councillor Williams advised he didn’t intend to write a letter such as the one by Councillor Emily Smith as he didn’t feel it served much purpose and felt that the majority of EU residents in Dacorum would already be aware that they are welcome in our community.


Councillor Pringle asked if the Leader agreed that a comprehensive public information campaign warning all citizens of Dacorum of the risk to vulnerable people is required. Councillor Williams replied no and explained that the Government had a comprehensive programme and that is targeted at those citizens that need to apply. He added that there was another 18 months to apply and was positive that the vast majority of people have already applied and that any vulnerable individuals would be supported. He felt that adding the leaflet in the council tax bills would reach every person/household so they would have the information they needed to apply if they hadn’t already done so.




2.            Councillor Freedman asked the following question in writing to the Leader of the Council:

The government wants to make it compulsory for voters in England, Scotland and Wales to show photo identification before casting their ballots. They say the legislation will “tackle electoral fraud and protect our democracy.” 


Elections, including the December General election are carried out by the borough Councils Electoral services team. To quantify the problem that Boris Johnson seeks to solve, I would like more information about electoral fraud in our area.


In the December 2019 General Election in the Borough of Dacorum:


Qi. How many votes were disallowed because it was found the same voter registration had been used twice?

A.    None.

Qii. How many people were turned away from voting due to polling station staff being unconvinced the voter was not who they claimed to be?

A.    None. Full training is provided to polling station staff before each election and handbooks are supplied so they have the necessary guidance and legislation.  No Presiding Officers reported having to resort to these procedures.

Qiii. Of these, how many were turned away because they were unable to produce any ID, and how many because they produced inadequate ID?

A.    Under the current legislation and Electoral Commission Guidance, electors at the polling station are not required to produce any form of Identification.

Qiv. How many people were turned away from voting due to presenting at a polling office outside of their allocated station?

A.     This information is not recorded. Electors turning up at the wrong polling station would be directed to the correct polling station by the Presiding Officer.

Qv. How many postal votes were rejected due to multiple votes being received from the same voter?

A.    None.

Qvi. How many postal votes were rejected due to inability to verify the voters’ identity?

A.    197. These would include missing signatures, missing date of birth, mismatched signatures and mismatched date of birth.

Qvii. How many postal votes were rejected for any other reason?

A.    63. This would be for missing ballot papers or missing statements.

Qviii. How many votes were counted that have since been found to have been invalid votes?

A.    None. The total number of ballot papers rejected at the count was 207.

Qix. How many invalid (as opposed to intentionally spoiled) votes, either postal or via a polling station were received?

A.    All votes cast at the polling station would initially be deemed valid and then included in the count. Any incomplete postal votes would be considered invalid (not spoiled) and would not then have been forwarded to the count.

Qx. What was the total number of valid votes cast across the Borough?

A.    51,272

Qxi. What was the total (%) voter turnout across the Borough?

A.    69.53%

Publication date: 28/01/2020

Date of decision: 22/01/2020

Decided at meeting: 22/01/2020 - Council

Accompanying Documents: