Agenda and minutes

Electoral Matters Committee
Thursday, 2nd July, 2015 9.00 am

Venue: HMS Tracker Room - Council Offices. View directions

Contact: Rebecca Brough  Team Leader - Democratic Support

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor P M Brivio.

2.

Appointment of Substitute Members

To note appointments of Substitute Members.

Minutes:

It was noted that in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 4, Councillor S Hill had been appointed as substitute member for Councillor P M Brivio.

3.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 37 KB

To receive any declarations of interest from Members in respect of business to be transacted on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 47 KB

To confirm the attached Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 6 October 2014.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 6 October 2015 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

5.

Kent County Council Electoral Arrangements Review pdf icon PDF 48 KB

To consider the attached report of the Head of Democratic Services on the draft proposals for the review of Kent County Council’s electoral arrangements.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services introduced the report on the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) review of Electoral Arrangements for Kent County Council.

The proposals were for an 81 member Kent County Council with an average electorate per councillor of 14,288 based on a predicted electorate of 1,157,343 for Kent by 2020. The proposals retained the existing number of County Divisions (7) for the Dover District and kept the two-member divisions for Deal Town and Dover Town. Overall, the proposals created 65 single-member divisions and 8 two-member divisions.

The new Deal Town Division had been expanded to include the area of Sholden Parish Council and the new Dover Town Division had been expanded to include the area of River Parish Council in order to maintain the principle of electoral equality.

The LGBCE proposals for the pattern of electoral divisions were based upon:

 

·         Electoral equality of representation (i.e. the number of electors represented by each councillor)

·         Community identity (that the electoral area reflects the interests and identity of local communities)

·         Effective and convenient local government

 

The key factor was electoral equality as none of the proposed divisions could vary from the average number of electors per councillor by more than +/-10%. The proposed divisions had a variance of between +2% and -9% from the average.

The Head of Democratic Services advised that urban areas had been split into separate divisions in several districts and presented Members with options for replacing the proposed two-member divisions for Dover Town and Deal Town with single-member divisions that still fulfilled the conditions relating to electoral equality.

The options were as follows:

Dover Town Division 1

District/Parish Area

Electorate 2020

River (the area of River Civil Parish)

3305

St Radigund’s Ward

4310

Maxton, Elms Vale & Priory Ward

5910

 

13525

 

Dover Town Division 2

District/Parish Area

Electorate 2020

Tower Hamlets Ward

4290

Buckland Ward

5780

Town & Pier Ward

1800

Castle Ward

1760

 

13630

 

Deal Division 1

Option A

Electorate 2020

Option B

Electorate 2020

Middle Deal Ward

6810

Middle Deal Ward

6810

Mill Hill Ward

6610

North Deal Ward

6240

 

13420

 

13050

 

Deal Division 2

Option A

Electorate 2020

Option B

Electorate 2020

Walmer Ward

6950

Walmer Ward

6950

North Deal Ward

6240

Mill Hill Ward

6610

 

13190

 

13560

 

The proposed single-member divisions all had an electoral equality variance of the same or smaller than the LGBCE draft recommendations (Dover Town -8% and Deal Town -7%).

 

The Committee was advised that the Head of Democratic Services options for single-member divisions had the following benefits:

 

·         That they would be in keeping with the original intention of Kent County Council to move to single-member divisions wherever it was practical;

·         That it provided for improved electoral equality over the two-member division proposals;

·         Were in keeping with single-member divisions in other urban areas;

·         It would provide for time and cost benefits in administering the elections; and

·         In terms of community identity, the Deal Division had previously been composed of Deal East and Deal West Divisions based on local topography  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Dover District Council Electoral Arrangements pdf icon PDF 80 KB

At the last meeting of the Committee a discussion took place on the possibility of requesting a review of the Council’s electoral arrangements by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.

 

The Committee decided that the matter should be considered following the May 2015 elections.

 

Attached is a schedule showing the current local government electorate by Ward with the electoral variance for each Ward.

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services presented the report on the Dover District Council Electoral Arrangements.

 

The Committee was advised that as at July 2015 the Town and Pier Ward had a variance in excess of 30% from the current average electorate for the district and therefore potentially met the criteria for triggering a periodic electoral review by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England. In light of this, Members were asked to consider whether there was merit in the Council seeking to initiate a review of its electoral arrangements, including the matter of the number of elected members, as a consequence and given that the last review had occurred over a decade ago.

 

In addition, the possibility of the electoral imbalance falling below the 30% variance trigger point following the annual canvass for the register of electors and the publication of the revised register on 1 December 2015 was raised.

 

The Committee requested further information over the timetable for a review of the Council’s electoral arrangements, including looking at the feasibility of undertaking a Community Governance Review in respect of the town and parish councils, before it made any recommendations to the Council.

 

Members were advised that although the LGBCE was responsible for reviewing Dover District Council’s electoral arrangements, the Council was itself responsible for undertaking a Community Governance Review of the town and parish councils.

 

RESOLVED: That the Head of Democratic Services be requested to develop a report on the implications of conducting a review of the Council’s electoral arrangements, including a time line for the process and a Community Governance Review.