The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is asking local people for their input into the review of the electoral arrangements for Northamptonshire County Council.
This week the Commission announced that it was minded to accept Northamptonshire County Council's proposal for a reduction in the number of county councillors. The Commission is therefore proposing that 57 county councillors should represent the authority in future, 16 fewer than at present.
The Commission now needs information from people and groups across Northamptonshire to help it to produce a new pattern of electoral divisions for the whole county.
The Commission is carrying out the review to deliver electoral equality for voters in county council elections and make sure each county councillor represents approximately the same number of people. The review also aims to ensure that the new electoral divisions reflect, as far as possible, the interests and identities of communities across the county.
Max Caller, Chair of the Commission, said: "The starting point of an electoral review is for the Commission to take a view on the number of councillors who should represent the authority in future. On the evidence presented to the Commission, we are minded to accept Northamptonshire County Council's proposal to reduce the number of councillors overall and we will therefore draw up recommendations for a pattern of electoral divisions which will accommodate 57 county councillors.
"We're now asking local people and organisations to help us draw up new electoral divisions for the county. As we develop the recommendations, we'll take into account local community identities as well as ensuring electoral equality for voters. This is your chance to shape your council for the future.
"During this stage, we are asking for information and evidence from people across Northamptonshire that will help us understand where the new division boundaries should be drawn. First and foremost, we want to ensure that the pattern of electoral divisions means that everyone's vote in the county is of roughly equal value regardless of where they live. Our other major consideration is to ensure that electoral divisions genuinely reflect local communities and the services and amenities they use. We'll also be looking at the natural boundaries between communities.
"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 county 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 June 2012."
Local people have until 2 April 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
4. Residents have from 24 January to 2 April to have their say about where electoral division boundaries for Northamptonshire's 57 county councillors should be drawn. The Commission will then publish its draft recommendations in June 2012 and open a further phase of consultation with local people. New divisions are scheduled to come into effect at the 2013 county council elections.
5. The Commission's decision on council size means it is 'minded' to recommend 57 county councillors for Northamptonshire 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 division arrangements by writing to:The Review Officer (Northamptonshire) Layden House 76-86 Turnmill Street London EC1M 5LG
Or by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information contact the Commission's press office on: 0207 664 8530 or email: email@example.com