The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is asking people across Staffordshire to comment on its draft proposals for new electoral arrangements for Staffordshire County Council
A 10-week public consultation on the recommendations begins today and will end on 1 August 2011.The consultation is open to anyone in Staffordshire who wants to have their say on new electoral divisions, division boundaries and division names across the county.
The Commission’s draft recommendations propose that Staffordshire County Council should have 62 councillors – the same as at present. The proposals would mean those county councillors would represent 58 single-member divisions and two two-member divisions across the county.
The full recommendations and maps are available on the Commission’s website at www.lgbce.org.uk. They will also be available to view at local council buildings and libraries.
Max Caller, Chair of the LGBCE, said: “Today we are publishing proposals for a new pattern of electoral divisions across Staffordshire and we’re keen to hear what local people think of the recommendations.Over the next 10 weeks, we are asking local people to tell us if they agree with the proposals or if not, how they can be improved.
“Having fair electoral boundaries for your council is important. Our review aims to deliver electoral equality for Staffordshire’s voters. This means that each county councillor represents a similar number of people so that everyone’s vote in county council elections is worth roughly the same regardless of where you live.
“We will consider all the submissions we receive whoever they are from and whether your evidence applies to the whole county or just a part of it.
“The Commission has based these proposals on the views expressed to us by local people and organisations and we have an open mind about further suggestions to change and improve them. After all, local people know Staffordshire best.
“There are three key factors you should consider when making submissions to us during the consultation.They are the rules, set out in law, which the Commission has to abide by when making our recommendations.Firstly, proposals must ensure electoral equality for voters with each county councillor representing around the same number of electors.Second, the new divisions should – as far as possible – reflect the natural communities of Staffordshire.And finally, the proposals should help the council deliver effective and convenient local government.
”The Commission wants to hear as much evidence as possible in order to develop final recommendations for Staffordshire County Council. If you would like to make a submission to the Commission, please write or email us by 1 August 2011:
The Review Officer (Staffordshire)
Local Government Boundary Commission for England
76-86 Turnmill Street
London EC1M 5LG
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information contact:
Press Office: 020 7664 8530
Notes to editors:
1. The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) 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 LGBCE is conducting the electoral review of Staffordshire because the county currently has significant electoral imbalances. Keele and Westlands division, for example, has 23% more electors per councillor than the average for Staffordshire, whereas Uttoxeter Rural has 21% fewer.This means that the value of your vote varies to a large extent depending on where you live in Staffordshire.
3. The types of questions the Commission is asking residents at this stage are:
4.Residents have from 24 May 2011 until 1 August 2011 to have their say about where division boundaries for Staffordshire should be drawn.The LGBCE will consider all submissions and aims to publish its final recommendations in September 2011.Once the Commission agrees its final recommendations it will lay a draft order in both Houses of Parliament.Parliament will then have 40 days in which to consider the recommendations.If both Houses are satisfied with the recommendations, the draft order will be ‘made’ and the new divisions will come into effect at the county council elections in May 2013.