10th July 2019

Blackburn increases Household Enquiry form response rate using mobile Canvasser App

With an electorate of just over 100,000 split across 17 wards, Blackburn first trialled the Mobile Canvasser App in 2015. After a period of evaluation they procured a small number of tablets with the MCA in an attempt to increase response rates, particularly in the less-affluent areas of the borough, where return rates are typically low. As a result, those properties were able to be efficiently targeted with five canvassers covering 13 areas, completing 2,798 out of 4,099 HEF reminders


  • Canvassers identified their target properties quickly and easily and arrived on the doorstep armed with the most up-to-date information; time was not wasted on visits to properties that had already returned the HEF
  • Forms no longer needed to be scanned and processed in the office
  • Canvassers found household visits were more positive. Electors were more trusting and responsive to the professional look and feel of a canvasser using the App. This was particularly obvious in the less affluent areas of the borough
  • An immediate saving was achieved by reducing the print and postage costs
  • Canvassers were able to work faster and more efficiently, whatever the weather and even in fading light
  • They no longer needed to go back and forth to their cars to collect more HEFs. This was particularly helpful when canvassing high rise estates with door entry protection.

Paper forms versus Mobile Canvasser App

  • 72% return rate for a group of 7 canvassers covering 52 areas using a tablet with the MCA.
  • 54% return rate for a group of 25 canvassers covering 54 areas using traditional paper forms.

We have had positive results using the MCA from our canvassers as well as the electors, who are more trusting on the doorstep. The canvassers that use the App particularly like not having to carry loads of paper forms around or constantly return to their car to collect forms for the next street. The data on the tablet is up-to-date so no time is wasted visiting properties who have already responded.

We added a couple more tablets for the 2018 canvass to specifically target a large number of properties covered by two of our canvassers. Prior to using the tablet on these new areas, their response rate was 65% with paper forms – This year the response rate increased to 78% using the MCA.

This solution improves response rates and presents a professional, trustworthy image to the public. I would advise any Local Authority to move to the canvassing app.
Sean Gambles, Business Development Officer, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council