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Contact: Sarah Selway, Democratic Services Manager (Committees) Telephone 01392 265275 or email email@example.com
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Morris.
To consider the report of the Electoral Review Steering Group.
The Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support introduced the report detailing the Council’s initial submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England on the future size and electoral cycle of the City Council. The City Council was required to undertake an electoral review of the City as more than 30% of its wards had a +/-10% variance from the average electorate. A cross party Electoral Review Steering Group had been established to consider the way forward with regards to the number of Councillors and the cycle of Elections.
The Leader, seconded by Councillor Sutton, moved the recommendation. In supporting the recommendation the Leader stated that the proposal for 39 Councillors and Elections by thirds was the right way forward to deliver and manage the services and responsibilities of the Council and the requirements of a growing city. To continue with the current cycle of Elections by thirds meant that the political parties were constantly engaged with the electorate and the Boundary Commission had advised that coterminosity with County Wards was not necessary.
Councillor Leadbetter, seconded by Councillor Baldwin moved an amendment that:-
(1) Exeter City Council should comprise 36 Councillors; and
(2) Exeter City Council should switch to All Out Elections every four years.
He stated that the reasons for the amendment were that all out elections every four years would give the ruling group an opportunity to plan ahead and provide some stability without the annual change and upheaval the present system created. This system would give electors a break from constant electioneering and allow them to judge the track record of the ruling group over a period of four years. Constant change and upheaval every year does not allow for a clear assessment of achievement.
The proposal for 36 Councillors would save money and it would be less confusing to the electorate to retain the names of the existing 18 wards, although with revised boundaries, as this would tie in with the new Devon County Council (DCC) division boundaries.
36 Councillors in 18 wards, with nine County divisions, was the most logical solution. All-out elections would give residents a break from yearly elections and the ruling group would have the opportunity to put forward policies which it could develop within a stable four-year period.
In supporting the amendment, some Members felt that setting the number of Councillors at 36 with elections being every four years would deliver savings to the Council with a reduction in Members’ Allowances and in the costs of running an election. This amendment would also mean that the city boundaries would tie in better with the new DCC division boundaries and therefore be less confusing for the electorate.
The majority of Members supported the recommendation of the Electoral Review Steering Group which would ensure that the Council could continue to meet the needs of the electorate and deliver its services. There would be an increase in the electorate across the City as a result of the development proposals and this would increase workloads ... view the full minutes text for item 2.