“How many councillors should represent Swale Borough Council” - that’s the question local people are being asked by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) in a six-week consultation that started this week.
Local residents are being invited to give their views on what their council will look like in the future as the Commission begins an electoral review of Swale Borough Council today (Monday 12 September 2011).
The review will consider changes to the number of councillors on the council as well as the number and boundaries of the council’s wards.
Professor Colin Mellors, Deputy 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 councillor represents around the same number of people and that every elector’s vote is worth the same. That’s not the case at the moment in Swale. Iwade & Lower Halstow ward, for example, has 47% more electors than the average for Swale while Sheerness East ward has 18% fewer. Overall this means that local people’s votes are worth different amounts depending on where they live in the borough.
“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 Commission’s consultation closes on 24 October 2011.During this stage, local people are being invited to comment – specifically – on how many borough councillors should serve Swale in total.
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 consult local people again on new ward boundaries across Swale.
Once the Commission has consulted on its recommendations for new wards and ward boundaries across the borough, those new electoral arrangements would come into effect for the local 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 (Swale)
Local Government Boundary Commission for England
76-86 Turnmill Street
London EC1M 5LG
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, and for conducting reviews of local government external boundaries and structure.
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. Further guidance on responding to our consultations is available on the website www.lgbce.org.uk.
4. The electoral review of Swale 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.