Do you want fewer Councillors to represent you?

Posted on: 26th September 2016

Do you want fewer Councillors to represent you? How many is too many and how many too few? What do you think of your Councillor, could they easily represent more people and do a good job?

Press release issued by Council:

Members of the Electoral Review Panel set up to review the future size of Cornwall Council and the boundaries of its electoral divisions have put forward an initial proposal of between 105 and 115 Councillors. The Panel will put forward further proposals as the electoral review progresses.

This first draft submission, which will be considered at the meeting of the full Council on 6 October, follows detailed analysis of a wide range of evidence, including electoral forecasts, the geography and size of Cornwall, the Council’s decision-making and scrutiny arrangements, the findings of the recent Governance Review and the role and workload of Cornwall Councillors.

If approved by the Council at the meeting on 6 October, the draft submission will be submitted to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England by their deadline of 14 October, along with the supporting evidence.

This is the first of three submissions on the size of the Council which the authority will make before the final decision is announced by the LGBCE on 16 May 2017, immediately after the unitary Council elections. The second draft submission must be made by 16 December, with the final submission due on 3 March 2017, giving the Council the opportunity to seek the views of town and parish councils, partner organisations and members of the public.

Announcing details of the first draft submission following today’s meeting of the Electoral Review Panel, Chairman John Wood, said “This is a very important issue, both for the Council and for Cornwall, and we need to make sure that we get it right. Over the past few months we have examined a wealth of evidence to help us decide how many Members we think are needed to manage the business of the Council in the future.

“This has involved looking in detail at the role of a Cornwall Councillor, as well as taking in account issues such as the geography and size of Cornwall, and the impact of future changes in governance and further devolution – both from the Government to Cornwall, and from Cornwall Council to town and parish councils. The reductions in staffing levels and in some services which have taken place as a result of cuts in our funding from the Government have seen a significant increase in the workload of Members – from an average of 19 hours a week at the time of the last review in 2008 to more than double that for many Councillors today.”

Adding that this first draft submission reflected the views of the Panel, John Wood said it was vital that people in Cornwall now took the opportunity to have their say on the future size of their Council.

“Following this first draft submission we have a nine week period before we make our second draft submission in December and we want to hear what people think. We will also be carrying out a comprehensive consultation and engagement programme during January and February before the final submission is made in March so there is plenty of time for people to give us their views.”

This is the first review of electoral divisions to take place in Cornwall since the creation of the unitary Council in 2009 and the main aim is to ensure that all Councillors represent, as far as practically possible, a similar number of voters. As well as deciding total number of councillors, the review will also consider the number of electoral divisions, the names of those divisions and the boundaries of the divisions.

Work on drawing up draft recommendations on the new electoral divisions will formally begin in May 2017, following the Commission’s announcement of their decision on the size of the Council, with further consultation taking place with Members, town and parish councils, partners, key stakeholders and the public between October and December 2017.

The responses from the consultation and engagement will then be analysed by the LGBCE before it publishes its final recommendations on 27 March 2018. The Order implementing the final electoral arrangements will then be laid before Parliament in April 2018, with the changes coming into effect for the 2021 elections.

Link giving all details: On Council website