The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is asking people across Swindon to comment on its draft proposals for new electoral arrangements for Swindon Borough Council.
A 12-week public consultation on the recommendations begins today and will end on 20 June 2011. The consultation is open to anyone in Swindon who wants to have their say on new wards, ward boundaries and ward names across the borough.
The Commission’s draft recommendations propose that Swindon Borough Council should have 57 councillors – two fewer than at present. The proposals would mean those councillors would represent 19 wards with a uniform pattern of three-member wards across Swindon.
If a local authority elects by thirds (namely: holds elections in three out of every four years as in Swindon), the Commission is obliged, by law, to try and devise a pattern of three-member wards across the whole borough. However, the LGBCE does not have to retain that pattern of wards if evidence emerges during consultation of alternative proposals that would better meet the Commission’s duties to provide electoral equality, reflect local communities and encourage effective and convenient local government.
The full recommendations and maps are available on the Commission’s website at www.lgbce.org.uk. They will also be available to view at local council buildings and libraries.
Max Caller, Chair of the LGBCE, said: “Today we are publishing proposals for a new pattern of wards across Swindon and we’re keen to hear what local people think of the recommendations. Over the next 12 weeks, we are asking local people to tell us if they agree with the proposals or if not, how they can be improved.
“Having fair electoral boundaries for your council is important. Our review aims to deliver electoral equality for Swindon’s voters. This means that each councillor should represent a similar number of people so that everyone’s vote in local authority elections is worth roughly the same regardless of where you live.
“We will consider all the submissions we receive whoever they are from and whether your evidence applies to the whole borough or just a part of it.
“The Commission has based these proposals on the views expressed to us by local people and organisations and we have an open mind about further suggestions to change and improve them. After all, local people know Swindon best.
“There are three key factors you should consider when making recommendations. They are the rules, set out in law, which the Commission has to abide by when making our recommendations. Firstly, proposals must ensure electoral equality for voters with each councillor representing around the same number of electors. Second, the new wards should – as far as possible – reflect the natural communities of Swindon. And finally, the proposals should help the council deliver effective and convenient local government.”
The Commission wants to hear as much evidence as possible in order to develop final recommendations for Swindon Borough Council. If you would like to make a submission to the Commission, please write or email us by 20 June 2011:
The Review Officer (Swindon)
Local Government Boundary Commission for England
76-86 Turnmill Street
London EC1M 5LG
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org