Cutting Councillor Numbers? We Wish!

COUNCIL: 26 FEBRUARY 2020 WEST LANCASHIRE ELECTORAL REVIEW. PURPOSE OF THE REPORT

In October 2017 WLBC Labour Cllr Gail Hodson published the picture below, after Tory councillors walked out of the Council meeting. Cllr Hodson suggested it was staged and orchestrated “with total disregard to the procedures of the meeting. SIX motions were still to be debated on important issues”. 

Many observers suggested the Council was much improved by their departure. Well now a process of reviewing the council size is underway, summarised below.

1.1 To enable the Council to comply with its obligations in facilitating the Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s (LGBCE) Electoral Review of West Lancashire (the Review).

“That an Electoral Review Working Group of Council be established with the following Terms of Reference: 2.2.1 To develop proposals for submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England. 2.2.2 To make recommendations to Council. 2.3 That the Working Group comprise of 3 Labour Members, 2 Conservative Members and 1 Our West Lancashire Member.

“At the end of the Preliminary Period the Council is required to make a ‘Submission of Council Size’ proposal to the Commission for their consideration. Council Size is the starting point in any electoral review since it determines the average number of electors per councillor to be achieved across all wards of the authority. The Council must consider how many councillors are required, having regard to the political management arrangements, regulatory and scrutiny functions and the representational role of councillors in their ward work and representing the Council on external bodies.

“The Council may also wish to consider its Electoral Cycle and whether to retain Election by Thirds or move to a cycle of All Out Elections once every four years. Should the Council wish to formally consider a change in electoral cycle, a public consultation would be required. During this Preliminary Period no consideration is given to the number of wards or the boundaries of wards. These are only considered once the Commission have determined the size of the Council going forward. 

“The Review is due to be completed in the final quarter of 2021. After publication of its Final Recommendations, the Commission will lay an order before Parliament for final approval. If the expected timescales are met, revised electoral boundaries will come into force for the elections in May 2022”.

The minutes of the Council meeting will soon show us the party inclinations. If there is no will to reduce the number of councillors required it will be a slap in the face to the fed-up electorate who pay them the highest rates of councillor allowances in the whole county!

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