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Glossary

AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty)

A landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are so outstanding that it is in the nation’s interest to safeguard it

Boundary Committee

The Boundary Committee for England was a committee of the Electoral Commission, responsible for undertaking electoral reviews. The Boundary Committee was wound-up on 31 March 2010 and its functions were assumed by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England on 1 April 2010

Constituent areas

The geographical areas that make up any one ward or division, expressed in parishes or existing wards or divisions, or parts of either

Council size

The number of councillors elected to serve a council

Electoral Change Order (or Order)

A legal document which implements changes to the electoral arrangements of a local authority

Division

A specific area of a county, defined for electoral, administrative and representational purposes. Eligible electors can vote in whichever division they are registered for the candidate or candidates they wish to represent them on the county council

Electoral fairness

When one elector’s vote is worth the same as another’s

Electoral imbalance

Where there is a difference between the number of electors represented by a councillor and the average for the local authority

Electorate

People in the authority who are registered to vote in elections. For the purposes of the Commission’s work, we refer specifically to the electorate for local government elections

Multi-member ward or division

A ward or division represented by more than one councillor and usually not more than three councillors

National Park

An area of protected countryside that everyone can visit, and where people live, work and shape the landscape. More information can be found at www.nationalparks.gov.uk

Number of electors per councillor

The total number of electors in a local authority divided by the number of councillors


Over-represented

Where there are fewer electors per councillor in a ward or division than the average

Parish

A specific and defined area of land within a single local authority enclosed within a parish boundary. There are over 10,000 parishes in England, which provide the first tier of representation to their local residents

Parish council

A body elected by electors in the parish which serves and represents the area defined by the parish boundaries. See also ‘Town Council’

Parish (or Town) Council electoral arrangements

The total number of councillors on any one parish or town council; the number, names and boundaries of parish wards; and the number of councillors for each ward

Parish ward

A particular area of a parish, defined for electoral, administrative and representational purposes. Eligible electors vote in whichever parish ward they live for candidate or candidates they wish to represent them on the parish council

PER (or periodic electoral review)

A review of the electoral arrangements of all local authorities in England, undertaken periodically. The last programme of PERs was undertaken between 1996 and 2004 by the Boundary Committee for England and the Local Government Commission for England

Political management arrangements

The manner in which councils arrange their management functions. The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 enabled local authorities in England to modernise their decision making process. Councils could choose from two broad categories: a directly elected mayor and cabinet or a cabinet with a leader

Town Council

A parish council which has been given ceremonial ‘town’ status. More information on achieving such status can be found at www.nalc.gov.uk

Under-represented

Where there are more electors per councillor in a ward or division than the average

Variance (or electoral variance)

How far the number of electors per councillor in a ward or ward varies in percentage terms from the average

Ward

A specific area of a district or borough, defined for electoral, administrative and representational purposes. Eligible electors can vote in whichever ward they are registered for the candidate or candidates they wish to represent them on the district or borough council