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Somerset councils joint response on potential electoral arrangements

17 September 2021 : Council news

The five councils in Somerset have jointly responded to the Government regarding their views on potential electoral arrangements for the proposed unitary council for Somerset.

In July, the Secretary of State announced that the five existing councils in Somerset would be replaced by a single unitary council.

As part of that process, he is reviewing the number of elected members and wards/divisions for the unitary council.

The approved business case proposed that, subject to involvement from the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE), the unitary council would have 100 elected members in 100 single member wards/divisions, with a clear requirement that the Boundary Commission undertake a review in the first term of the unitary council to determine the future number of councillors.

The Secretary of State has subsequently asked the five councils to review the proposal and has asked for views regarding a lower number of members – potentially around 85 in total.

This is not a formal LGBCE Electoral Review, but in response to the Government’s request, the Chief Executives of all five councils have been given an opportunity to provide views on potential electoral arrangements for the unitary council.

They have assessed five options and provided opinions on them as can be seen here. Elected members of all of the existing five councils in Somerset have also had the opportunity to submit their views.

This is the Government’s process and the Secretary of State will decide which proposal for the unitary council’s electoral arrangements will be laid before Parliament in early 2022.