The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking local people for their help to draw up a new pattern of council wards for Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council.
Following a six-week public consultation, the Commission has also announced that it is minded to recommend that the council should have 54 councillors in the future, nine fewer than at present.
The Commission now needs information from people and groups across Doncaster to help it to produce a new pattern of wards to accommodate 54 councillors.
In drawing up new boundaries, the Commission aims to deliver electoral equality for 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 Doncaster.
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 electors in future. On the evidence presented to the Commission, we are minded to recommend that Doncaster should have 54 councillors in future, nine fewer than the current set up.
“We are now asking local people and organisations to help us draw up new wards for the borough. As we develop the recommendations, we will take into account local community identities as well as ensuring electoral equality for voters.
“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 your ideas for new ward boundaries apply to the whole of Doncaster or just a small part of it.”
Local people have until 3 February 2014 to submit their views on new council wards for Doncaster. Further information on the review and interactive maps of the existing wards can be found at consultation.lgbce.org.uk and www.lgbce.org.uk.
Residents will have a further chance to have their say after the Commission publishes its draft recommendations in April 2014.
Notes to editors:
1. The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is responsible for reviewing local authority electoral arrangements, defining ward 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 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 types of questions the Commission is asking residents at this stage are: • Do you have suggestions about where your ward boundaries should be? • Which areas do you identify as your local community? • Where do people in your area go to access local facilities such as shops and leisure activities?
4. Residents have from 26 November 2013 to 3 February 2014 to have their say about where ward boundaries for Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council’s 54 councillors should be drawn. The Commission will then publish its draft recommendations in April 2014 and open a further phase of consultation with local people. New wards are scheduled to come into effect at the 2015 local elections.
5. In July 2013, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government announced that he planned to rule that Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council should hold elections for all borough councillors once every four years (‘whole council elections’) rather than electing a third of its councillors in three years out of every four as is currently the case. The possible change in its electoral cycle has important implications for potential future patterns of wards. At present, Doncaster has a uniform pattern of three-member wards across the borough where each ward has three councillors elected to it. There is a presumption, in law, that councils that elect by thirds should have a uniform pattern of three-member wards hence Doncaster’s current arrangements. If Doncaster moves to whole council elections, the pattern of wards could change. The Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 states that councils that hold whole council elections can have a mixed pattern of wards, namely that their area can be covered by a mixture of single-member, two-member or three-member wards.
6. The Commission’s decision on council size means it is ‘minded’ to recommend 54 borough councillors for Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council but is not legally bound by that number in its final recommendations and depending on the evidence submitted to it during consultation.
7. Members of the public can have their say on the new ward arrangements by writing to:The Review Officer (Doncaster) Layden House 76-86 Turnmill Street London EC1M 5LG
Follow the Commission on Twitter: @LGBCEGo directly to the Commission’s consultation portal, use the Commission’s interactive mapping and draw your own boundaries online at: consultation.lgbce.org.uk
Link to dedicated web page for the Doncaster electoral review at: www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/yorkshire-and-humberside/south-yorkshire/doncaster-fer
For further information contact the Commission’s press office on: 0207 664 8530/8534 or email: email@example.com