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Cornwall boundary review kicks off

19th January 2016

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is extending the timetable of its electoral review of Cornwall Council in order to allow the Council to undertake a fundamental review of its governance.

The process will still start shortly as already planned but, following discussions with the Leader of the Council, the Commission has decided to allow the Council additional time to consider the total number of councillors that should be elected to the council in future (‘council size’).

The Commission had previously sought the Council’s view on the future number of councillors for Cornwall (there are currently 123) by March 2016. Instead, they will now allow councillors and council staff to make their submission - or submissions - on council size no later than March 2017.

The Commission will announce its decision about council size shortly after the March 2017 deadline and then, over the following months, hold two phases of public consultation on new electoral arrangements. A new pattern of divisions will be confirmed in April 2018 for implementation at the scheduled local elections in 2021.

Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the Commission, said: “Local government is changing. Nowhere will that change be more evident than in Cornwall.

“The leadership of the Council has persuaded us that they want to use the electoral review process to ask some deep and fundamental questions about how local government for Cornwall should operate in the future and, especially, the number of councillors that will be required to run the authority. They want to consult widely as part of that process.

“This is a very important opportunity for Cornwall and we want to encourage them in what, we hope, will be some far-reaching thinking. We have, therefore, agreed to give them time to put a case together for a council size that reflects their ambitions for the long term.

“We will start work with the Council immediately to help them come up with a proposal on councillor numbers and we have arranged to brief members of the Council next few weeks to start that process.

“The best electoral reviews are those where we are able to work closely with councils, and with local people, to build electoral arrangements for councils that reflect the changing face of public services and democratic representation for the long term. The Council have emphasised their wish to work with us in that way and the agreement we have now made with them will help us achieve that durable ambition for Cornwall”.

ENDS

Notes:

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 Commission’s electoral review will consider the total number of councillors elected to Cornwall Council and will redraw electoral division boundaries across the county.

3. The review has been triggered by large electoral variances: where some councillors represent many more – or many fewer – voters than their colleagues elsewhere in the county. The review will redraw local boundaries so that each councillor represents roughly the same number of voters as well as aiming to ensure that the new divisions reflect local community identities and can promote effective local government.

4. The first part of every electoral review is for the Commission to take a view on the number of councillors that should be elected to the council in future. The Commission will then re-draw electoral division boundaries across the county. The new electoral arrangements will come into effect at the local elections in 2021.

For further information contact the Commission’s press office on: 0330 500 1525 / 1250 or email: press@lgbce.org.uk