The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking local people how many councillors they think should represent North Somerset District Council 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.
The Commission has considered views put to it by the council and local councillors and is now asking residents whether they think the district should be represented by 46 or 51 district councillors. The district is currently served by 61 councillors.
Max Caller, Chair of the Commission, said: "This is your chance to shape your council for the future.
"We have considered the views put to us by the council and believe there should be fewer district councillors in future. We now need your help to tell us exactly how many councillors should represent North Somerset in future.
"We want to know if you think the number of councillors should be reduced to 51 or 46. We want to establish the right number of councillors to be able to take decisions effectively and the right number to represent the interests of all communities in North Somerset.
"Once we have taken a view on the number of councillors for North Somerset, 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 email@example.com to find out more.
Follow the Commission on Twitter @LGBCE.
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 Somerset 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 Somerset) Local Government Boundary Commission for England Layden House 76-86 Turnmill Street London EC1M 5LG
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information contact the Commission's press office on: 0207 664 8530/8534
or email: email@example.com
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 Somerset 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, Portishead East ward has 68% 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 Somerset.
3. The aim of the review is to recommend ward boundaries that mean each councillor represents approximately the same number of electors. 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 how many councillors should represent North Somerset District Council. The Commission is asking people to consider the following types of questions:
Further guidance on responding to our consultations is also available on the website www.lgbce.org.uk.
5. The electoral review of North Somerset 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.