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IMPLEMENTATION TIMETABLE FOR IMPROVED ENGLISH ELECTORAL ARRANGEMENTS

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There will be no additional elections to implement new electoral ...
There will be no additional elections to implement new electoral

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:

'We have now considered the responses to the consultation, which I

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

2003.

'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.'

NOTES

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.

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