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Electoral Review of Wiltshire Council

Background

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is a parliamentary body responsible for conducting reviews of local authority electoral arrangements. They also conduct reviews of the structure of local government, and the external boundaries of local authorities.

The LGBCE is currently conducting an electoral review of Wiltshire Council. The LGBCE consultation portal for the review can be found at this link.

This is the first electoral review to take place in Wiltshire since the creation of the unitary council in 2009. Any changes will not come into effect until the 2021 Wiltshire Council elections.

Wiltshire Council has set up a politically proportionate Electoral Review Committee to prepare responses to the stages of the electoral review as found at this link

Technical guidance

The LGBCE provides a technical guidance page for those who wished to participate in electoral reviews at this link. It includes guidance on reviews generally, and how members of the public can respond on specific stages of the review.

The LGBCE visited Wiltshire on 28 November 2017. They gave presentations on the electoral review to Wiltshire councillors. The following additional documents are available to download: 

Due to requests for additional information from the LGBCE, the dates listed for each stage of the review within the above documents are no longer correct. The deadline for the next phase is listed below.

What is covered by the electoral review?

The electoral review will examine Wiltshire Council’s electoral arrangements and cover the following areas:

  • the total number of members to be elected to the council;
  • the number and boundaries of future electoral divisions;
  • the number of councillors representing each electoral division; and
  • the name of each electoral division.

A principal aim of the review is to deliver electoral equality across the local authority. It aims to do this by ensuring that all councillors represent a similar number of voters.

The LGBCE is required by law to be impartial, with its decisions based on evidence and reason. The representations of all those taking part in the review are treated equally and without bias. The final decisions are taken by Parliament on the recommendation of the LGBCE.

Preliminary phase

Before the LGBCE determine a pattern of future divisions it must first come to a view on the appropriate number of councillors necessary to provide effective and convenient local government.

Full Council, on the recommendation of the Electoral Review Committee, submitted a proposal for a council size of 99 to apply from 2021, an increase of one councillor. The following documents are available for download:

On 28 August 2018 the LGBCE announced that it was minded to propose a council size of 98 councillors, a retention of its current size. A consultation on a pattern of electoral divisions will now take place and runs until 5 November 2018.

Although the number of divisions is unchanged, the shape of the divisions will still require significant change.

Stage 1 – Pattern of divisions

Help us develop division patterns for the future council size

Any member of the public, organisation or town or parish council can respond the LGBCE consultation on a future pattern of divisions, and should do so directly via the LGBCE website listed at the top of this page paying attention to the technical guidance on how to prepare a submission. People can propose a pattern for the entire council area, or just a part of it.

The Commission has three main criteria - set out in law - which it must follow when it produces a new pattern of wards or electoral divisions. They are:

  • The new pattern of divisions should mean that each councillor represents roughly the same number of voters as elected members elsewhere in the authority.
  • Division patterns should as far as possible reflect community interests and identities and boundaries should be identifiable.
  • The electoral arrangements should promote effective andconvenient local government and reflect the electoral cycle of the council.

Wiltshire Council would also be very interested to know what the public thinks good boundaries would be and how community identity can be reflected best, to assist the Electoral Review Committee to prepare a submission to the LGBCE.  

We’re keen to know your views to so even if you make a submission to the Commission can you please also tell us what you think at committee@wiltshire.gov.uk.

In order for the council to consider the information in time to prepare a submission using that information, it will need to receive any representations within September 2018.

Electorate Projection Data

The Council has made available forecasts of the electorate by polling district and parish area at this link. The electorate information relating to the council's community areas as currently constituted can be found at this link. An interactive version of the spreadsheet is available on the LGBCE website

Any proposed new divisions should be as close as possible to a total electorate of 4263.. Some level of variance from this figure will be accepted by the LGBCE, but must be supported by clear evidence relating to community identity and convenient and effective local government.

 

 

 

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