Tuesday, 18 June 2013

How should Woking Borough be governed in future?

Current Woking Borough Wards

Every fifteen years or so the boundaries of local government are reviewed by an independent body the Boundary Commission.  This happens at different times for each authority.  Surrey boundaries were reviewed in the last few years and county councillors were elected on the new boundaries in May this year.  It is now the turn of Woking borough to review its boundaries.

Reviewing boundaries is a lengthy process.  Councillors were advised that the review would happen earlier this year.  Woking Council will decide by the end of July how many councillors it will need in future and whether it wishes to continue electing them by thirds (a third of the council is up for election in each of three years) or in "all-up" elections that happen only every four years.

There is a consultation here that asks for your views on this initial part of the boundary review.  Responses are required by 19 July.

Over August the Boundary Commission will look at what Woking has submitted and we will know the future number of councillors and frequency of elections by September.

Then the fun starts ....

From September onwards Woking has to look at how wards (the areas within which councillors are elected) are constituted.  There will be a range of issues to consider including appropriate population size - so each councillor represents roughly the same number of residents; communities and inevitably political parties will have an eye to to areas that are "winnable" for them.

The Council will work on ward boundaries over the remainder of 2013 and then report to the Boundary Commission.  The Commission will consult on the initial proposals, take any responses and then consult again if there is any revision in the proposals.  All this will run through to 2014.  An order for the new Woking boundaries will be set before parliament in 2015 and the first elections on the new boundaries will be in 2016 - 3 years after the process started.

I am on the boundary working group at the Council and am looking forward to having a part to play in this process.  The working group will take account of consultations with the public and be talking to local interests on how to best represent our area in future.

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