The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is asking local people for their input into a review of the electoral arrangements for Purbeck District Council.
Earlier this month, the Commission proposed that the council should have 27 councillors in future, three more than at present. The LGBCE now needs information from people and groups across Purbeck to help it to decide out a new pattern of wards for the district.
The Commission is carrying out the review to deliver electoral equality for voters in local elections and make sure each district councillor represents approximately the same number of people. The review will also aim to ensure that the new pattern of wards reflects local communities across Purbeck.
Max Caller, Chair of the Commission, said: “Having fair electoral boundaries is important for local democracy.
“The purpose of our review is to try to ensure that each councillor represents around the same number of people so that every elector’s vote is worth the same at local election time. That’s not the case at the moment for Purbeck. St Martin ward, for example, has 28% fewer electors per councillor than the average in Purbeck.
“Through development and the natural movement of people, some wards have become much larger than others. It’s the same in many local authorities throughout England which is why we are currently conducting electoral reviews of 19 county councils, boroughs and districts across the country.
The situation means that the value of your vote varies depending on where you live in Purbeck. Our review aims to correct that situation.
“As we draw up new ward boundaries, we’ll look to take into account local community identities as well as ensuring electoral equality. This is your chance to shape your council for the future.
“We are asking for information and evidence from people across Purbeck that will help us understand where the new ward boundaries should be drawn. First and foremost, we want to ensure that the pattern of wards means that everyone’s vote in Purbeck is of roughly equal value regardless of where they live. Our other major consideration is to ensure that wards genuinely reflect local communities and the service and amenities they use. We’ll also be looking at the natural boundaries between communities.
“Your views will make a difference. After all, local people know Purbeck best.
“We will carefully consider all evidence that is provided during this phase of the review whoever it is from and whether it applies to the whole district or just a small part of it.
“We will also publish all the submissions on our website so that local people can see all the various proposals we receive. Residents will then have a further chance to have their say after we publish our draft recommendations in February 2012.”
Local people have until 14 November to submit their views. Further information on electoral reviews and guidance on what sort of information the Commission is looking for is available on the LGBCE website at www.lgbce.org.uk .
1. The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is responsible for reviewing local authority electoral arrangements, defining boundaries for local elections and the number of councillors to be elected, as well as conducting reviews of local government external boundaries and structures.
2. The purpose of a review is to try to ensure that each councillor represents approximately the same number of people and that every elector’s vote is worth the same.
3. The types of questions the Commission is asking residents at this stage are:
4. Residents have from 23 August to 14 November to have their say about where ward boundaries for Purbeck’s 27 councillors should be drawn. The LGBCE will then publish its draft recommendations in February 2012 and open a further phase of consultation. New wards are scheduled to come into effect at the 2014 local elections.
5. The LGBCE will aim to produce a pattern of nine wards each containing three councillors. However, the Commission is not constrained by that pattern if it would compromise its statutory obligations to provide electoral equality or if it would break up strong local communities.
6. The LGBCE’s decision on council size means it is ‘minded’ to recommend 27 councillors for Purbeck but is not legally bound by that number in its final recommendations and depending on the evidence submitted to it during consultation.
7. Members of the public can have their say on the new warding arrangements by writing to:The Review Officer (Purbeck) Layden House 76-86 Turnmill Street London EC1M 5LG Or by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org