arrangements following reviews by the Local Government Commisison for
England (LGC), local government minister Hilary Armstrong has announced.
Responding to a parliamentary question, Ms Armstrong said:
announced on 10 March 1999 (Hansard Col 244 Vol 327), on proposals
for implementing periodic electoral reviews (PERs).
'Our intention remains to implement the recommendations of the Local
Government Commission for England as soon as practicable on a normal
election date for councils. Our consultation has shown that there is
no consensus on holding additional elections to implement PERs, and
we have concluded that it would not be desirable to do so.
'Accordingly we intend to implement the commission's recommendations
as follows. For district councils that hold whole council elections
and where final recommendations are received by July 2002,
implementation is to be on the normal election day in May 2003. For
district councils that elect by thirds, where final recommendations
have already been received, implementation is to be on the normal
election day in May 2000; where final recommendations are received
between August 1999 and July 2001, implementation is to be on the
normal election day in May 2002; and where final recommendations are
received no later than July 2002 on the normal election day in May
'The commission's recommendations for a county council are to be
implemented only after recommendations have been made and implemented
for all the district councils in a county area. Subject to this,
where final recommendations for county councils are received no later
than July 2000, they are to be implemented on the normal election day
in May 2001; subsequent final recommendations are to be implemented
on the normal election day in 2005.
'I am asking the Local Government Commission to consider their
programme of PERs having regard to our intended approach to
implementation and with a view to ensuring that all councils in
England will have updated electoral arrangements in place by 2005.'
The Local Government Commission for England was established by the
Local Government Act 1992; under that Act it has a duty to undertake
periodic electoral reviews (PERs) of each principal area in England
without direction from the secretary of state.
The commission is currently undertaking the statutory programme of
electoral reviews throughout all principal local authorities in
England. It has already produced recommendations for change in a
number of local authorities and recommendations will made for
improved electoral arrangements in all principal local authorities in
England by 2004.
During a PER the commission makes recommendations to the secretary of
state for any changes to the electoral arrangements covering: the
total number of councillors to be elected to the council; the number
and boundaries of electoral areas (wards or divisions); the number of
councillors to be elected for each electoral area, and the years in
which they are to be elected; and the name of any electoral area.
The objective of a PER is to ensure that, within each principal
authority area, the number of electors represented by each councillor
is as nearly as possible the same, while endeavouring to reflect the
identities and interests of local communities and to achieve easily
identifiable electoral boundaries.