"How many councillors should represent Rushcliffe Borough Council?" - that's the question local people are being asked by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England in a six-week consultation that starts today.
Local residents are being invited to give their views on what their council will look like in the future as the Commission begins the first part of an electoral review of Rushcliffe Borough Council.
The review will consider changes to the number of councillors on the borough council as well as the number and boundaries of the council's wards.
Max Caller, Chair of the Commission, said: "Having fair electoral boundaries is important for local democracy.""The purpose of a review is to try to ensure that each borough councillor represents around the same number of people and that every elector's vote is worth the same at election time. That's not the case at the moment in Rushcliffe. The latest figures show that South Keyworth ward, for example, has 20% fewer voters per councillor than the average for the borough. In Stanford ward, on the other hand, each councillor represents 23% more people than the average. Overall this means that local people's votes, at borough council elections, are worth different amounts depending on where they live in Rushcliffe. Our review aims to correct that situation.
"As part of the review, we'll also be looking to take into account local community interests and identities when we redraw the borough's wards. This is your chance to shape your council for the future."
The first stage of the review is a consideration of the size of the council, namely the number of councillors who represent Rushcliffe. Rushcliffe Borough Council has proposed a reduction in the number of borough councillors from 50 at present to 45 councillors for the future and the Commission is now consulting local people and organisations about whether they agree with such a reduction and, if not, what council size they would propose
Added Max Caller, "In cases where a change to the size of the council is being proposed, the Commission consults local people and organisations on the issue. The Commission is minded to accept the council's proposal for a reduction of five councillors. But before we take a more definite view, we want to hear the opinions of local people about whether such a council size will help the council deliver effective local government.
"We'd like to know if local people agree with the idea of having 45 borough councillors. If not, we'd equally like to know why not and what you believe would be a better council size for Rushcliffe.
The current phase of consultation closes on 27 February 2012. Once it has considered the evidence provided by local people and organisations, the Commission will then publish its proposal on the total number of councillors and gather information from local people and organisations on new ward boundaries across Rushcliffe.
The Commission aims to publish its draft recommendations for a new pattern of wards for Rushcliffe in September 2012 when it will consult local people again for 12 weeks. Final recommendations are due to be published in February 2013 and the new electoral arrangements would come into effect for the council elections in 2015.
Further information on electoral reviews and guidance on what sort of information the Commission is looking for, log on to our website at www.lgbce.org.uk
To have your say, please write to:The Review Officer (Rushcliffe) 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
or email: email@example.com
4. You can read more about Rushcliffe Borough Council's reasons for proposing a reduction in council size on our website.
5. Further guidance on responding to our consultations is also available on the website www.lgbce.org.uk .
6. The electoral review off Rushcliffe Borough 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.