THE Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland has started a public consultation on councillor numbers in local authorities, including Moray.
The commission met with each council in Scotland in February to discuss its proposals for the number of councillors on each council. For Moray, the commission’s proposal is to reduce the number of councillors from 26 to 25.
The last review was completed in 2006 following the introduction of multi-member wards for Scottish council elections in 2007. The number of councillors on each council was last reviewed shortly after the councils’ establishment in 1996.
When reviewing electoral arrangements, the commission is required to take account of factors such as the interests of effective and convenient local government; within each council, each councillor should represent the same number of electors as closely as possible; local ties which would be broken by making a particular boundary; the desirability of fixing boundaries that are easily identifiable, and special geographical considerations.
The commission has drawn up recommendations for the number of councillors on each council based on a methodology that, for the first time, takes into account levels of deprivation as well as population distribution. Using these factors, similar councils are grouped together for the purpose of determining councillor numbers.
Next year the commission will further consult with councils and the public on its final proposals for the number and modified ward boundaries resulting from the change.
The review will result in recommendations to Scottish ministers for the number of councillors on each council and the number and boundaries of wards for the election of those councillors, but will not affect the external boundaries of council areas.
The commission expects to make its recommendations to Scottish ministers in 2016, and that the resulting new wards will be used for the first time in local government elections in May 2017.
The consultation period runs for 12 weeks until August 21 and more information can be found on the commission’s website at www.consultation.lgbc-scotland.gov.uk