The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) has notified the Council that it will conduct an electoral review of the Borough during 2020-2022. The review process has now commenced. In December 2020, the Executive set up an informal cross-party councillor working group to develop a recommendation on the future size of the Council, to inform the first stage of the Boundary Commission’s review.
The Working Group has met three times, and considered carefully the key lines of enquiry set out in the Boundary Commission’s ‘Council Size’ template. A councillor survey has been carried out to capture information about how councillors engage with residents and how they spend their time in their role as councillor. The attached Council Size submission (Annexe 1) sets out the argument for the size of Waverley Borough Council to be reduced to 50 councillors, with effect from the Borough elections in May 2023.
That the Executive recommend to Council that the attached LGBCE Council Size document be approved as the Council’s submission to the electoral review of Waverley Borough Council, including a proposed council size from May 2023 of 50 councillors.
72.1 Cllr John Ward, Leader of the Council, outlined the background to the ‘council size’ document prepared by the cross-party working group in response to the Local Government Boundary Commission of England (LGBCE) notification that they would be conducting an electoral review of Waverley. The LGBCE were fulfilling their statutory duty to carry out the review, and had resisted arguments from the Leadership and Chief Executive that challenged the appropriateness of carrying out the review during the pandemic on the basis that there were electoral inequalities that needed to be addressed.
72.2 The working group had worked through the LGBCE’s template document, but while discussions had been constructive and helpful it had not been possible to reach a consensus on a the size of the council in the future. The Administration Groups had reached a compromise figure of 50 councillors, and this was the recommendation to Council, although it was recognised that the LGBCE would have the final decision on the future council size and would consider any other submissions received on the future council size.
72.3 The Executive RESOLVED to recommend to Council that the LGBCE Council Size document (at Annexe 1 to the report) be approved as the Council’s submission to the electoral review of Waverley Borough Council, including a proposed council size from May 2023 of 50 councillors.