Democracy and General Purposes Committee

23 November 2021

 

Local Government Boundary Review Ė Council Size Submission

 

Final Decision-Maker

Council

Lead Head of Service

Angela Woodhouse, Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

Lead Officer and Report Author

Ryan OíConnell, Democratic and Electoral Services Manager

Classification

Public

 

Wards affected

All

 

Executive Summary

This report sets out the Councilís Size Submission to be recommended to Council for submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.† The submission recommends, and provides the evidence for, a Council size of 48 Councillors.

 

Purpose of Report

 

Decision

 

 

This report makes the following recommendations to this Committee:

That Council be recommended to approve the Council Size Submission document (Appendix A) as the Councilís formal submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England as part of the Councilís Local Government Boundary Review.

 

 

 

Timetable

Meeting

Date

Democracy and General Purposes Committee

23 November 2021

Council

8 December 2021



Local Government Boundary Review Ė Council Size Submission

 

1.       CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS

 

Issue

Implications

Sign-off

Impact on Corporate Priorities

The four Strategic Plan objectives are:

 

         Embracing Growth and Enabling Infrastructure

         Safe, Clean and Green

         Homes and Communities

         A Thriving Place

 

We do not expect the recommendations will by themselves materially affect achievement of corporate priorities.  However, they will support the Councilís overall achievement of its aims by ensuring an appropriate size for Council.

 

Democratic and Electoral Services Manager

Cross Cutting Objectives

The four cross-cutting objectives are:

 

         Heritage is Respected

         Health Inequalities are Addressed and Reduced

         Deprivation and Social Mobility is Improved

         Biodiversity and Environmental Sustainability is respected

 

The Local Government Boundary Review aims to establish a suitable Council Size and equality of democratic representation for the electorate of Maidstone.† By doing so it indirectly impacts on all objectives.

 

Democratic and Electoral Services Manager

Risk Management

The main risks associated with his activity are:

1.   That the Local Government Boundary Commission do not receive/accept a Council Size Submission from the Council and determine Council Size without Council input;

2.   That the Council puts forward an inappropriate Council size that impacts on the Councilís future Governance capabilities.

 

Both of these risks are managed through ensuring a robust evidence led process is followed.

 

Democratic and Electoral Services Manager

Financial

Whilst changing council size could have a financial consequence, it is not a driver for the changes and proposed council submission.

 

(Please see note on staffing below)

Director of Finance and Business Improvement

Staffing

The Council size submission will indirectly impact on whether additional staffing is required to support Members in the future.† If this is the case the need for additional staffing would be handled separately through the budget process.

 

Democratic and Electoral Services Manager

Legal

This work is part of the Local Government Boundary Review being conducted by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England and the submission has been put together in accordance with their template, guidance and agreed timetable.† The review will be conducted by the LGBCE under its powers in the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009.

Democratic and Electoral Services Manager

Privacy and Data Protection

No impact identified.

Policy and Information Team

Equalities

No direct impacts identified, however, one of the key aims of the boundary review is to ensure that there is equality for electors in their democratic representation.

Democratic and Electoral Services Manager

Public Health

 

 

None

 

Democratic and Electoral Services Manager

Crime and Disorder

None

 

Democratic and Electoral Services Manager

Procurement

None

 

Democratic and Electoral Services Manager

Biodiversity and Climate Change

No direct impacts, however, biodiversity and climate change has been identified as a key priority within the workshops carried out on the size submission.

 

Democratic and Electoral Services Manager

 

 

2.††††† INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

 

2.1     This report is the next part of a series of reports on bringing forward the Councilís Size Submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission (LGBCE).

 

2.2     There have been three workshops held for all Members to attend that looked at future challenges, the role of the councillor and discussed council size.† The third workshop held on 17 November 2021 established Membersí preferred size.

 

2.3     The key outcome from the third workshop was Members indicating their preferred size.† All political groups were represented and 21 Members attended the event (20 were present for the voting).† Their detailed consideration of the available evidence at the event and the distribution of council size preference based on voting was as follows:

 

 

2.4     The Committee are asked to consider the draft size submission and recommend it to Council on 8 December 2021 for approval and submission to the LGBCE.

 

2.5     Anyone may make a submission to the Commission on Council size.† This process concentrates on the Councilís formal submission, but groups or individuals can make submissions too, separate to this process.

 

2.6     The review of Council size is an opportunity for the Council to make positive changes to how it supports Members going forwards, to feed positively into the new Executive arrangements being considered, and to help shape the boundary review into something that works for the borough.

 

2.7     The arguments in favour of the proposed submission are made within the submission itself as it is a document that needs to make its own case independently of this report.†

 

2.8     It is paramount that the Councilís submission is an evidence led document, that makes a strong case for whatever size the Council wishes to have.† The Commission have made it clear that the Councilís own submission will carry no inherent additional weight over another submission and the case must therefore be made as strongly as possible.†

 

 

3.   AVAILABLE OPTIONS

 

3.1     The Committee are asked to consider the councilís size submission for recommendation to full Council.† In doing so the committee can amend or change the document.

 

3.2     The Council could decide not to make a size submission, but this would result in the Commission imposing a size on the Council or at least considering Council size with no input from the Council.† This is not recommended.

 

 

 

4.        PREFERRED OPTION AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

 

4.1     That the recommended Council Size Submission at Appendix A be recommended to Council for approval.

 

 

5.       RISK

5.1    The two key risks are considered in the issues table above under Ď1.í

 

5.2    By making a robust submission both those risks are managed.



 

 

6.       CONSULTATION RESULTS AND PREVIOUS COMMITTEE FEEDBACK

 

6.1     A series of 3 Member workshops have been held and have fed directly into the Council Size Submission.

 

6.2     A Councillor Workload Survey was conducted with all Councillors given the opportunity to respond.† The summary of that survey forms part of the evidence base to the Councilís recommended Size Submission.

 

 

7.       NEXT STEPS: COMMUNICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECISION

 

7.1     If approved the submission will then go to full Council on 8 December 2021.

 

7.2     If approved the submission will then go to the LGBCE for consideration in January 2022 where they will agree their preferred size for the Council.

 

 

 

8.        REPORT APPENDICES

 

Appendix A: Local Government Boundary Review Ė Council Size Submission

 

 

9.        BACKGROUND PAPERS

 

None.