The independent Boundary Committee for England has announced its initial recommendation on council size for Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council following the first part of its electoral review for each authority. In Bedford, the Boundary Committee has decided on a council size of 40. In Central Bedfordshire, the Committee has decided on a council size of 59.
Further consultation, which will map out the number and boundaries of the electoral wards for the authorities, begins today and ends on 11 January 2010.
The electoral reviews are being held because both authorities are new unitary councils which began work on 1 April 2009. The intention is that their electoral arrangements – the number of councillors, and the number and pattern of wards – should reflect the councils’ new functions and how they intend to engage with local people and communities.
Max Caller, Chair of the Boundary Committee, said: “We’ve looked carefully at all the evidence we received in support of various council sizes before making our decisions. We want to make sure that the electoral arrangements for the council work best for residents in Bedford and Central Bedfordshire. “
“We’re now starting the second round of consultation in these reviews, and we’re asking people to submit evidence-based proposals for new ward boundaries to us. This stage of the consultation is designed to help us draw the map of what the councils’ wards will look like. We need help from local people to do that, so we want to know what people think of as their community. We’ll consider carefully all evidence that is provided during the next stage of the process. At this stage, none of our decisions are final.”
Further information on electoral reviews and guidance on what sort of information the Committee is looking for should be available at council offices, in your local library, or on the Boundary Committee’s website at www.boundarycommittee.org.uk
To have your say, please write to:
The Review Officer (Bedford or Central Beds)
The Boundary Committee for England
30 Great Peter Street
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Gareth Nicholson on 020 7271 0638
outside office hours: 07789 920414
1. The Boundary Committee for England is responsible for reviewing local authority electoral arrangements, e.g. defining boundaries for local elections and the number of councillors to be elected, and for conducting reviews of local government external boundaries and structure.
2. The main aim of an electoral review is to provide for ‘electoral equality’. That means each councillor representing approximately the same number of electors. The Boundary Committee must also have regard to community identity and interests and providing effective and convenient local government.
3. Further guidance on responding to a Boundary Committee consultation is available on the website http://www.boundarycommittee.org.uk.