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Time called on periodic electoral reviews after eight years

19th October 2004

Time called on periodic electoral reviews after eight years

19th October 2004

This is an archived news release and links may no longer work.

The Boundary Committee for England is marking the closure of an old chapter and the start of a new one as it comes to the end of its periodic electoral review programme at a reception in London today. Guests at the event - held at the Thistle Charing Cross Hotel in The Strand will include local government representatives, the media and The Electoral Commission.

The Boundary Committee for England, which inherited the work of the Local Government Commission for England, is a statutory committee of The Electoral Commission. Since the start of the periodic electoral review programme in March 1996, 386 reviews have been successfully completed - 35 county council and 351 at district council level. Under the Local Government Act 1992 the Committee is required to review the electoral arrangements of every local authority in England on a periodic basis.

Pamela Gordon, Chair of The Boundary Committee for England said: This is the end of a very successful era for the Committee and its predecessor organisation. We have worked to ensure electoral balance at local government level whilst taking into account the unique and individual identities of local communities and the views of residents. We are pleased to have completed the programme of almost 400 reviews since 1996 and are looking forward to a new phase. It is fitting to mark the completion of this major task during Local Democracy Week.

The Boundary Committee published its final recommendations for Lancashire, Norfolk and North Yorkshire on 12 October 2004, signalling the end of the current series of periodic electoral reviews.

During the last eight years, the Committee has:

  • Received some 30,000 representations from a range of sources, including local authorities, political parties, parish councils, residents associations, local newspapers and local residents;
  • Changed the local electoral landscape with the number of district councillors being reduced from 17,495 councillors representing 8,363 wards in 1996 to 17,240 councillors representing 7,891 wards now. The Committee has recommended that the number of county councillors be increased from 2,251 councillors in 1996 to 2,317 councillors at the forthcoming County Council elections in 2005. The Electoral Commission will decide in the coming months whether to implement the latest of our recommendations.

The Committee has begun to monitor the electoral variances that have arisen in those local authorities where reviews began between 1996 and 1998. Where significant imbalances have arisen and are likely to remain, The Electoral Commission can direct the Committee to undertake further electoral reviews. A direction to conduct seven Further Electoral Reviews was issued in June. The monitoring of electoral imbalances will be conducted annually.

The Committee will also be asked to make recommendations for constituencies for a North East Regional Assembly if the government decides to create an Assembly following a yes vote in the referendum on 4 November 2004.

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For further information contact:

Maxine Hoeksma on 020 7271 0531 or Gemma Crosland on 020 7271 0527

Out of office hours 07789 920 414, Fax: 020 7271 0528

www.boundarycommitteee.org.uk

Notes to editors:

1.     On 1 April 2002, The Electoral Commission took over the functions of the Local Government Commission for England (LGCE), which reviewed local authority electoral arrangements - including the number and boundaries of wards, and the number of councillors to be elected. The Boundary Committee for England was established as a statutory committee of The Electoral Commission to assume this role.

2.     The last round of periodic electoral reviews were carried out between 1973 and 1984 by Local Government Boundary Commission for England, the predecessor of the Local Government Commission for England.

3.    On 2 June 2004, The Electoral Commission directed the Committee to conduct further electoral reviews. The Committee began a review of electoral arrangements on 3 August 2004 in Corby, Kettering, South Northamptonshire, Lincoln, North Kesteven, North Hertfordshire and South Gloucestershire.