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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 28 July, 2014

 

Report of the Managing Director

 

Review of Polling Districts, Polling Places and Polling Stations

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To agree a process for the review of polling districts, polling places and polling stations in accordance with the Electoral Administration Act 2006.

Recommendations

1.         To inform Cabinet of the key requirements in conducting a statutory review of polling districts; polling places and polling stations in accordance with the provisions of s.18C  and Schedule A1 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 enacted by s.16 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006

2.         To ensure that Cabinet is aware of the timetable contained within the attached project plan at Appendix 1 and the statutory requirements to carry out a review of polling districts; polling places and polling stations.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To inform Cabinet of the key requirements in conducting the statutory review of polling districts, polling places and polling stations as identified in Section 18C and Schedule A1 of the representation of the People Act 1983.

2.         To comply with the Electoral Administration Act 2006.

 

Background

2.         The Council has a duty under s.18(1) and Schedule A1 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 to divide its area into polling districts for the purpose of parliamentary elections, to designate a polling place for each polling district and to keep those districts under review in accordance with the rules described in s.18(2) of the Representation of the People Act 1983

3.         The Council carried out a review of polling districts, polling places and polling stations in December 2011.  The Council must during each compulsory review period carry out and complete a review of all the polling districts in its area within a period of 16 months beginning with 1st October 2013, and a review of all its polling places in its area within the period of 16 months beginning with 1st October of every fifth year after that.  These provisions do not prevent a relevant authority carrying out a review of some or all of the polling districts or polling places in its area at other times.  In compliance with the regulations the next review must be undertaken with any changes implemented by the end of January 2015. 

 

Relevant Issues and Options

4.         The attached project plan at Appendix 1 incorporates the key statutory requirements for the review which are:

·               To publish a Notice of Review;

·               To consult with other Returning Officers and publish responses within 30 days of receipt;

·               To consult with other stakeholders including electors, local political parties and councillors, and such other as it thinks have particular expertise in relation to access to premises or facilities for persons who have different forms of disability;

·               Such persons must have an opportunity to make representations and to comment on the returning officer’s representation;

·               To publish draft recommendations and send to all persons previously consulted inviting further comments;

·               The Council must give reasons for its decisions in the review and publish such other information as is prescribed.

5.         To ensure that the review is concluded within the statutory timeframe, the following actions included in the project plan at Appendix 1 have already been completed:

·               1. Appoint project team to undertake review of polling districts and polling stations;

·               2. Carry out research and produce initial proposals in consultation with the Returning Officer.

6.         As part of the review process the Council must also seek to ensure that:

·               It considers representations made by any person in connection with a review of polling places which may include proposals for specified alternative polling places;

·               All electors in the constituency have reasonable facilities for voting as are practicable in the circumstances;

·               Polling places are accessible to all electors as far as is practicable and, when considering the designation of polling stations, have regard to the accessibility needs of disabled persons.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

7.         There will be costs associated with publishing the review, administration costs for reproducing maps and consultation. These will be met within existing budgets.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

8.         There are no direct implications arising from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

9.         S.16 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 enacted s.18C and Schedule A1 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 which places the Council under a legal duty to review their polling places and districts.  A review must be undertaken in the Vale of Glamorgan and any changes implemented by the 31st January 2015.

10.      Under S.9 of the Representation of the People Act 1983, an Electoral Registration Officer has a duty to maintain an electoral register and to conduct an annual canvass. The new register must be published on 1st December each year.

Crime and Disorder Implications

11.      There are no direct implications arising from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

12.      Accessibility to polling stations is an important issue.  The review will have regard, as far as is practicable, to equality of access and needs of voters.

13.      Any proposed changes will be subject to an Equality Impact Assessment, as detailed in the project plan.

Corporate/Service Objectives

14.      Electoral Registration has links to the following corporate priority:

'Citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan can easily access efficiently managed services that are focused around their needs, have confidence in how decisions are made and are proud to live in the Vale.'

Policy Framework and Budget

15.      This report is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

16.      N/A

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

17.      Corporate Resources

Background Papers

Project Plan - Review of Polling Districts, Polling Places and Polling Stations 2014

Electoral Commission Guidance - Reviews of polling districts, polling places and polling stations

 

Contact Officer

Tom Evans (Business Support Manager, Customer Relations)

 

Officers Consulted

Rebecca Light (Electoral and Members Services Team Leader)

Rob Jones (Senior Media Officer)

Helen Sanders (Graduate Intern - Improvement and Development)

Hannah Davies (Graduate Intern - Equalities)

Operational Manager - Legal Services

 

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies (Returning Officer and Managing Director)

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