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Local views sought on number of councillors for North Dorset

7th January 2013

Local views sought on number of councillors for North Dorset

2013-01-04T14:13:11+00:00

The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking local people how many councillors they think should represent North Dorset District Council.

The Commission wants to know whether the district should continue to be represented by 33 councillors or whether there should be more, or fewer, district councillors in future.

The six-week public consultation is the first part of an electoral review which will also consider changes to the number, names and boundaries of the council's wards.

Max Caller, Chair of the Commission, said: "This is your chance to shape your council for the future.

"We are asking people across the district if they agree that 33 councillors is still the right number to represent North Dorset in future.

"We want to know if you think 33 is the right number of councillors to be able to take decisions effectively and whether it's the right number to represent the interests of all North Dorset's communities.

"If you don't agree that North Dorset should be represented by 33 councillors, we want you to tell us your alternative and why you think there should be more, or fewer, members of the council in the future.

"Once we have taken a view on the number of councillors for North Dorset, we will re-draw ward boundaries to accommodate those elected members and we will be asking local people to have their say during that process as well."

Further information about the review is available at www.lgbce.org.uk

Residents can have their say directly at consultation.lgbce.org.uk

Or email reviews@lgbce.org.uk to find out more.

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The current phase of consultation closes on 18 February 2013. Once it has considered the evidence provided by local people and organisations, the Commission will publish its proposal on the total number of councillors in March 2013 and then begin to gather information to help draw up new ward boundaries.

The Commission aims to publish its draft recommendations for a new pattern of wards for North Dorset in August 2013 when it will consult local people again. Final recommendations are due to be published in January 2014 and the new electoral arrangements would come into effect for the council elections in 2015.

To have your say, write to:

The Review Officer (North Dorset)
Local Government Boundary Commission for England
Layden House 76-86
Turnmill Street
London
EC1M 5LG

Or email: reviews@lgbce.org.uk

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For further information contact the Commission's press office on: 0207 664 8530/8534

or email: press@lgbce.org.uk

Notes to editors

1. The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is responsible for reviewing local authority electoral arrangements e.g. defining boundaries for local elections and the number of councillors to be elected. The Commission also carries out reviews of the external boundaries of local authorities and their structure.

2. The Commission is carrying out an electoral review of North Dorset to deliver electoral equality for voters in local elections. The district currently has relatively high levels of electoral inequality where some councillors represent significantly more, or fewer, than other member of the council. For example, Motcombe & Ham ward has 38% more voters in it than the average for the district. The situation means that the value of your vote varies depending on where you live in North Dorset.

3. The aim of the review is to recommend ward boundaries that mean each councillor represents approximately the same number of electors. Furthermore, as it draws up new electoral arrangements for an authority, the Commission must also have regard to the interests and identities of local communities as well as ensuring that the new electoral arrangements promote effective and convenient local government.

4. In this phase of consultation, the Commission is asking local people to consider whether 33 councillors is the right number for North Dorset and, if not, how many would better promote effective and convenient local government. In coming to a conclusion on council size, the Commission is also asking people to consider the following types of questions:

  • Do you think 33 councillors is the right number for the council to be able to take decisions for North Dorset effectively?
  • Could 33 councillors effectively represent the interests of all the various communities across North Dorset?

Further guidance on responding to our consultations is also available on the website www.lgbce.org.uk.

5. The electoral review of North Dorset District Council is a separate undertaking from the current review of parliamentary constituency boundaries which is being carried out by a separate body (Boundary Commission for England) under different rules and legislation.