The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking local people for their input into a review of the electoral arrangements of Arun District Council.
The Commission is proposing that the council should have 53 councillors in the future, three fewer than at present. The Commission now needs information from people and groups across the district to help it draw up a new pattern of wards for the area. Max Caller, Chair of the Commission, said:
"Having fair electoral boundaries is important for local democracy.
"We are asking for information and evidence from people across Arun District that will help us understand where the ward boundaries should be drawn. In drawing up new boundaries, we want to ensure that the pattern of wards means that each councillor represents a similar number of voters. Our other major consideration is to ensure that wards genuinely reflect local communities and the services and amenities they use. We'll also be looking at the natural boundaries between communities.
"One of the aims of our review is to try to ensure that each councillor represents around the same number of voters so that everyone's vote is worth the same at local election time. That's not the case at the moment in Arun District. Walberton ward, for example, has 15% more voters living in it than the average for Arun whereas Marine ward has 15% fewer electors than the average.
"The situation means that the value of your vote varies depending on where you live in the district. We call this situation electoral inequality. Our review aims to deliver electoral equality for voters across the district.
"This is your chance to shape your council for the future.
"Your views will make a difference. We will carefully consider all evidence that is provided during this phase of the review whoever it is from and whether it applies to the whole district or just a small part of it.
"We will also publish all the submissions on our website so that local people can see all the various proposals we receive. Residents will then have a further chance to have their say after we publish our draft recommendations in August 2012."
Local people have until 7 May to submit their views. Further information on electoral reviews and guidance on what sort of information the Commission is looking for is available on the LGBCE website at www.lgbce.org.uk . ends
For further information contact the Commission's press office on: 0207 664 8530 or email: email@example.com
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 purpose of a review is to try to ensure that each councillor represents approximately the same number of people and that every elector's vote is worth the same.
3. The types of questions the Commission is asking residents at this stage are:
4. Residents have from 28 February to 7 May to have their say about where ward boundaries for Arun District's 53 councillors should be drawn. The LGBCE will then publish its draft recommendations in August 2012 and open a further phase of consultation. New wards are scheduled to come into effect at the 2015 local elections.
5. The Commission's decision on council size means it is 'minded' to recommend 53 councillors for Arun District but is not legally bound by that number in its final recommendations and depending on the evidence submitted to it during consultation.
6. Members of the public can have their say on the new warding arrangements by writing to:The Review Officer (Arun) Layden House 76-86 Turnmill Street London EC1M 5LG
Or by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org