The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking local people how many councillors they think should represent Suffolk Coastal District Council in the 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 evidence submitted to it by the council and its political groups and is now consulting residents on a proposal that would see the authority represented by 43 councillors in future, twelve fewer than the current arrangements.
The Commission is asking local people whether they think 43 is the right number of councillors for Suffolk Coastal district.
Professor Colin Mellors, Deputy Chair of the Commission, said: "This is your chance to shape your council for the future.
"We are asking people across the district whether they agree that 43 councillors is the right number to represent Suffolk Coastal in the future.
"We want to know if you think 43 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 the district's communities.
"If you don't agree that Suffolk Coastal should be represented by 43 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, we will re-draw ward boundaries to accommodate those elected members and we will ask 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
Follow the Commission on Twitter @LGBCE.
Write to:The Review Officer (Suffolk Coastal) Local Government Boundary Commission for England Layden House 76-86 Turnmill Street London EC1M 5LG
The current phase of consultation closes on 3 June 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 July 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 Suffolk Coastal in January 2014 when it will consult local people again. Final recommendations are due to be published in July 2014 and the new electoral arrangements would come into effect for the council elections in 2015.ends/
For further information contact the Commission's press office on: 0207 664 8530/8534
or email: email@example.com
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 a review of Suffolk Coastal district 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, voters than other members of the council. For example, Rendlesham ward contains 41% more electors than the average for district but Orford & Tunstall ward contains 21% fewer. The situation means that the value of your vote varies depending on where you live in Suffolk Coastal district.
3. In this phase of consultation, the Commission is asking local people to consider whether 43 councillors is the right number for Suffolk Coastal 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:
4. The electoral review of Suffolk Coastal District Council is a separate undertaking from the review of parliamentary constituency boundaries which was carried out by a separate body (Boundary Commission for England) under different rules and legislation.