The independent body looking at the boundaries of electoral wards in Durham says recommendations for changes won’t be published until 2011.
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) has announced its intention to defer publication because new information provided by Durham County Council has shed more light on how many electors are forecast to be living in each ward in the coming years.
In the run up to the General Election Durham County Council undertook significant work on improving the accuracy of its electoral register, particularly by encouraging more students to register. Since then, the Council has reviewed and amended its forecast of the number of electors likely to be on the register by 2015, a forecast which the LGBCE must take into account in reaching conclusions on its final recommendations for electoral changes.
Taken together, these two factors have a significant effect on the levels of electoral equality likely to be achieved by the changes so far proposed and consulted on locally by the LGBCE as part of its electoral review.
Following discussions with the County Council, the LGBCE has decided to defer taking decisions on its final recommendations for the county until after the next annual canvass and publication of a new electoral register in December.This will give both the LGBCE and the Council the opportunity to reconsider the forecast electorate in the light of the new register.
Max Caller, Chair of the LGBCE, said: “It’s not unknown to see significant changes to electoral registers in the run up to General Elections, when there is considerable encouragement and publicity given to the need to make sure you can vote.The question is whether the increase in the number of student registrations in Co Durham we have seen in 2010 will be sustained.
“In agreement with Durham County Council, we have decided to wait until after the next full canvass of electors in the autumn and the publication of the new register in December before reaching final decisions on our recommendations.
“Having fair electoral boundaries is an important part of effective local governance. We believe this slight delay will give us a far more accurate picture of the extent to which they will provide Co Durham electors with equality of representation by their councillors.”
For further information contact: Richard Buck (020 7664 8511)
Notes to editors:
1. The Local Government Boundary Commission 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. 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 Commission must also have regard to community identity and interests and providing effective and convenient local government.
3.The Commission’s final recommendations for Co Durham were scheduled to be published on 6 July 2010.No changes would have been implemented until elections in 2013.
4.Further information on electoral reviews and guidance is available on our website at www.lgbce.org.uk