The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is asking local people for their help to draw up a new pattern of wards for Milton Keynes Council.
This week the Commission announced that it was minded to accept Milton Keynes Council’s proposal for an increase in the number of councillors who should represent the community in future. The Commission is therefore proposing that 57 councillors should represent Milton Keynes, six more than at present.
The Commission now needs information from people and groups across Milton Keynes to help it to produce a new pattern of wards to accommodate 57 councillors.
In drawing up new boundaries, the Commission aims to deliver electoral equality for voters in council elections so that each councillor represents approximately 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 Milton Keynes.
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 recommend that Milton Keynes Council should have 57 councillors.
“We’re now asking local people and organisations to help us draw up new wards for the whole area. As we develop the recommendations, we’ll 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 it applies to the whole of Milton Keynes or just a small part of it.
“We will 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 January 2013.”
Local people have until 15 October to submit their views. Further information on the review is available on the LGBCE website at:http://www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/south-east/buckinghamshire/milton-keynes-fer
Notes to editors:
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 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:
4. Residents have from 24 July until 15 October to have their say about where ward boundaries for Milton Keynes’ 57 councillors should be drawn. The Commission will then publish its draft recommendations in January 2013 and open a further phase of consultation with local people. New wards are scheduled to come into effect at the 2014 council elections.
5. The Commission’s decision on council size means it is ‘minded’ to recommend 57 borough councillors for Milton Keynes but is not legally bound by that number in its final recommendations and depending on the evidence submitted to it during consultation.
6. For councils, like Milton Keynes, that hold elections in three years out of every four, the Commission has a responsibility, set out in legislation, to devise a pattern of three-member wards across the whole authority. Such a ward pattern means that every elector would have the same opportunity to vote in local elections each time they are held. However, the Commission is able to move away from a uniform pattern of three-member wards – on a ward by ward basis - if it believes an alternative arrangement would better met its other statutory criteria: to deliver electoral equality for voters, to reflect the interests and identities of local communities and to promote effective and convenient local government.
7. Members of the public can have their say on the new ward arrangements by writing to:
The Review Officer (Milton Keynes)
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 8530/8534 or email: email@example.com