Prevent organisations from demanding enrolled deed polls.

Prevent organisations from demanding enrolled deed polls.

2 April 2021
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Signatures: 120Next Goal: 200
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Why this petition matters

Started by Sky Johnson

End the dangerous and discriminatory practise of refusing unenrolled deed polls as evidence of a name change.

Enrolled deed polls put trans, non-binary and other vulnerable people at risk by making their current name and address searchable to anyone who knew their previous names.

In UK law, a deed poll is a legal statement that you are now using a new name publicly. There is no requirement to enrol a deed poll for it to be considered a legal document which is accepted by HMRC, DVLA, HM Passport Office and other official bodies.

Enrolling a deed poll simply means that a copy of it is kept in the Enrolment Books of the Senior Courts of England & Wales for 5-10 years, after which it is moved to the National Archives. An enrolled deed poll or statutory declaration is no more or less official than a deed poll you have made yourself and signed in the presence of two witnesses.

Despite this, many companies still insist that to change your name on their records, they require documents different from those the UK Passport Office will accept! Organisations who refuse an unenrolled deed poll as proof of a change violate the GDPR rights of their customers, but this does not prevent some from insisting that they cannot make changes to names without an enrolled deed poll. This is particularly perplexing in the case of many organisations, who refuse unenrolled deed polls but do not ask for proof of identity when an account is initially created.  

UK Law does not prevent private organisations from having a policy requiring an enrolled deed poll, however these policies discriminate against vulnerable groups, as the reasons that people do not enrol their deed polls are mostly linked to their safety:

  • By enrolling a deed poll, you are making your change of name public and searchable: your old name, new name and home address will appear in an announcement in The London Gazette for anyone who wishes to see.
  • It is legal to change your name to prevent someone from finding you (if you are not doing it to escape the law or carry out illegal activities, e.g., it is illegal to change your name without telling immigration officials where applicable.) Enrolling your deed poll nullifies this, as anyone searching your old name will be able to make the link to your new name and address. It should be noted that:
    • There is a different process of name change for vulnerable victims of crime, however not every vulnerable person is considered a victim of crime at the time of their name change, and a deed poll is the quickest and easiest way to change name in a lot of circumstances.
    • It may prevent vulnerable individuals from becoming victims of crime if they are able to change their name after removing themselves from threatening environments.
    • Many forms of abuse are exceedingly difficult to report or prove, and many do not report abuse for a variety of complicated reasons.
  • Most trans individuals do not want their deadname appearing on public record in any capacity, let alone alongside their current name and address.
  • Enrolling a deed poll might make a trans person vulnerable to transphobic hate incidences or crimes.
  • Credit scores and other important records can be affected by the refusal of an unenrolled deed poll. No one should be penalised for exercising their right not to endanger themself.

Sign this petition to demand that organisational policies be regulated and standardized, preventing companies from engaging in the discriminatory practise of refusing unenrolled deed polls.

What I propose:

  • If an organisation did not need identity documents to initially create an account, they should not request them for a change of name – allow customers to edit their own names.
  • If one bank accepts a deed poll only, other banks are perfectly capable of doing the same and should be required to do so.
  • If, for some reason, a company absolutely requires more than a deed poll to change a name, they should do something like the current HM Passport Office procedure and ask for a deed poll and one other form of evidence the name is being used elsewhere, such as a letter addressed to the person in question.
  • DBS and other security checks should be thorough enough that a name change is not missed in the investigation. There are many ways this can be done without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens. (E.G., passport offices could potentially be allowed to check and flag a registered sex-offender who is applying for a passport under a different name so that these remain linked, or a database could simply keep passport numbers linked so that when a person renews their passport, their old passport details remain accessible to the Disclosure and Barring Service.  We also have National Insurance Numbers which do not change.)
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Signatures: 120Next Goal: 200
Support now