In drawing up new boundaries, the Commission aims to deliver electoral equality for voters in council elections so that each councillor represents roughly the same number of voters. The review also aims to ensure that the new council wards reflect, as far as possible, the interests and identities of communities across Birmingham.
The Commission decided to conduct its electoral review following publication of Sir Bob Kerslake’s (now Lord Kerslake) report on the governance and organisational capabilities of Birmingham City Council. The report recommended that an electoral review should be conducted ‘to help the council produce an effective model of representative governance.’
Max Caller CBE, Chair of the Commission, said: “The first part of the electoral review is for the Commission to come to a view on the total number of councillors that should be elected to the council in the future. Our judgment is that 100 councillors is the right number to provide effective local government for Birmingham.
“In coming to our conclusion on the number of councillors for Birmingham, we have taken into account a range of evidence. We have concluded that 100 councillors will help the council address the failings of the past, reflect the process of change which is already underway as well as helping councillors and staff to deliver its ambitions for the future.
“The Kerslake report highlighted how the council needs to change. In particular, it described how the current quantity of councillors, committees and decision making bodies had not always translated into a high quality of representation for local people or allowed the council to develop a vision for the future.
“We have also examined the council’s response to the Kerslake report and found that they support the thrust of its conclusions. The response demonstrated to us that the process of change in Birmingham is underway. For example, the council has already thought about how it will streamline its scrutiny processes and how the wasteful overlap of effort between elected members and council staff could be reduced.
“Finally, the Leader and Executive team set out several possible governance arrangements for the future which could be supported by a 100-councillor model.
“The Commission was persuaded that past failings, current activity and future plans of the authority could best be addressed, encouraged and delivered by a council size of 100 members.
“We are now asking local people and organisations to help us draw up new wards for Birmingham. As we develop the recommendations, we will take into account local community identities as well as ensuring electoral equality for voters.
“If you have a view about which communities or neighbourhoods should be part of the same council ward, then we want to hear from you. And if you think a road, canal or railway makes for a strong boundary between communities in your part of Birmingham, then this consultation is for you. Alternatively, if you’re simply interested in the way the city is run, just log on to our website to explore our interactive maps and have your say.
3. Residents have from 21 July to 28 September 2015 to have their say about where ward boundaries for Birmingham’s 100 councillors should be drawn. The Commission will then publish its draft recommendations in December 2015 and open a further phase of consultation with local people. New wards are scheduled to come into effect at the 2018 council elections.
4. The Commission has announced that it is ‘minded’ to recommend 100 city councillors for Birmingham but is not legally bound by that number in its final recommendations if a different number of councillors would deliver a better pattern of wards.
5. Members of the public can have their say on the new electoral arrangements by writing to:The Review Officer (Birmingham) Local Government Boundary Commission for England 14th floor, Millbank Tower London SW1P 4QP
Follow the Commission on Twitter: @LGBCE
Go directly to the Commission’s consultation portal at: www.consultation.lgbce.org.uk
Find out more on our website at: www.lgbce.org.uk/current-reviews/west-midlands/west-midlands/birmingham
For further information contact the Commission’s press office on: 0330 500 1250 / 1525 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org