The Boundary Commission are to undertake an Electoral Review of Buckinghamshire Council.
The first phase of that Review will be to determine what should be the appropriate size of the Council in terms of the number of Councillors.
On Thursday 25th February 2021, at a meeting of the Buckinghamshire Council Standards and General Purposes Committee, it was agreed that a submission would be made to the Boundary Commission about the future number of councillors for Buckinghamshire.
A Working Group was set up by the Standards Committee to look at the Council’s governance arrangements and structures and information regarding the electorate, housing growth etc.
Other key considerations were the future agenda for the Council, its ambitions concerning the involvement of Members in the strategic direction of the Council, the Scrutiny and Regulatory functions, and the role and workload of Members as leaders in their localities.
Evidence from previous reports, submissions and benchmarking was considered alongside new information and analysis including the challenges of a post Covid world. Having considered all this, the Working Group have recommended a figure of 120 Members. This information will now be shared with the Boundary Commission who will take this into account in their own deliberations.
It is anticipated that the Commission will consider their decision and make it known after the elections in May 2021.
Councillor Jonathan Waters, Chairman of the Standards and General Purposes Committee at Buckinghamshire Council, said: ‘The decision of the Commission will clearly impact the democratic decision-making of the Council and the role of all elected Members.
With this proposal for 120 Councillors, the Unitary Authority will have halved the Councillor numbers from those in the legacy councils. This number balances the need to deliver an efficient and effective Council, while ensuring that the bond and partnership between Councillors and residents, Parish/Town Councils, Residents Societies and Community Groups continues to be strong.
The Committee also wanted to ensure Councillor representation from those who are employed, have families or are in a caring role, and from all ages and backgrounds to ensure a truly diverse Council to represent our communities without excessive Councillor hours becoming a barrier to entry.‘
*Source of article : Press release from Buckinghamshire Council.