The independent Boundary Committee for England has begun its first round of public consultation as part of its review of local government electoral arrangements for the new Cheshire East and Cheshire West & Chester unitary authorities.
The review includes three rounds of public consultation. This first period starts today and lasts for six weeks, ending on 6 April 2009.
During this stage the Committee is consulting locally to help it decide how many councillors the new councils should have. Later in the year, it will ask for views on what areas those councillors should represent.
Anyone wishing to submit their views at this stage should let the Committee know what they think might be most appropriate number of councillors for Cheshire East and Cheshire West & Chester, and why. The Committee needs as much clear and well-argued evidence as possible in order to reach conclusions.
Max Caller, Chair of the Boundary Committee, said: We want to make sure that the electoral arrangements of the new authorities in Cheshire work best for everyone across the county. Further information on electoral reviews and guidance on what sort of information the Committee is looking for should be available at local authorities and in your local library. Alternatively, visit the Boundary Committee website at www.boundarycommittee.org.uk and click on about electoral reviews.
In order to make a decision on council size for the two authorities, the Committee will need to look at the role of councillors in the new unitary authority, the political management structure of the council, and the way in which the council plans to engage with and devolve responsibilities to local communities.
The review is likely to conclude in spring 2010 when the Boundary Committee makes its final recommendations.
To have your say, please write to:
The Review Officer (Cheshire East and Cheshire West & Chester)
The Boundary Committee for England
30 Great Peter Street
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information contact:
Gareth Nicholson on 020 7271 0638
outside office hours: 07789 920414
Notes to editors:
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. In 2006, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government decided that two new unitary authorities covering the whole of the county will be introduced. This means that the County Council and the district councils in the county will be replaced.
3. As the structure of local government in the area will be changing, the independent Boundary Committee is reviewing electoral arrangements in Cheshire to ensure they reflect the way in which the new councils will operate in the future, and how they will engage with local communities, including parish and town councils.
4. 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.
5. Further guidance on responding to a Boundary Committee consultation is available on the website http://www.boundarycommittee.org.uk