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COSLA SUPPORTS FOUR-YEAR TERM FOR COUNCILLORS

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Scottish council leaders will be asked to support four-year terms for ...
Scottish council leaders will be asked to support four-year terms for
councillors when they meet tomorrow (Friday) in Edinburgh.
The move will come in COSLA's response to the Scottish executive's draft
bill which proposes the four year-term.
COSLA's response says that local government has long supported the
four-year term and is pleased to see its return.
'A four year electoral period allows councillors time to deliver their
manifesto commitments to the electorate, thus allowing greater
accountability,' the response says, continuing: 'Local government believes
that in order for a council to be truly accountable, a situation must be
created to allow the electorate to judge the councillors on the programme
upon which they were elected.
'This requires an adequate term in office which COSLA believes is achieved
with a four year term. A four year electoral cycle represents better
economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the use of resources.'
However, COSLA says that the question of holding council elections on the
same day as Scottish parliament elections is still a matter of debate in the
local government community.
But, the response says: 'COSLA recognises the policy decision of ministers
and we must move forward on that basis.'
And it says that the administrative problems of holding the two polls on the
same day are not insurmountable and discussions continue on dealing with the
practical problems.
The only concern raised in COSLA's response to the consultation is in
relation to holding council and extraordinary Scottish parliament elections
on the same day, commenting, 'COSLA was surprised and concerned with the
inclusion of this provision in the draft Bill.
'What is proposed is a radical and fundamental change to the long standing
principle of a fixed term of office for councillors and COSLA is opposed to
the proposition.
'The introduction of a power to allow ministers to vary radically the date
of local government elections goes against the principles underlying the
decision to reintroduce the four-year electoral term for councillors.
And COSLA adds that council budgetary processes could be jeopardised if an
election was called during the period leading up to the setting of council
tax.
NOTE
Leaders will be considering COSLA's response to the Scottish
Executive's consultation on the draft Local Government (Timing of Elections)
(Scotland) Bill.
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