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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting 17 November 2014

 

Report of the Council's Returning Officer

 

Review of Polling Districts, Polling Places and Polling Stations

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To agree the final proposals made by the Council's Returning Officer in accordance with the statutory Review of Polling Districts, Polling Places and Polling Stations that was agreed by Cabinet on 28 July 2014.

Recommendations

1.         That no change be made to the Polling Districts for the Vale of Glamorgan.

2.         That Polling Station GC0 / GD0 currently sited at Ysgol Maes Dyfan in the Court Ward be relocated to Gibbonsdown Community Centre, polling station DB0.

3.         That Polling Station NB0 currently located within a portacabin on Falcon Grove in Lavernock be moved to the Rangers office within Cosmeston Lakes Park.

4.         That the agreed proposals be referred to Council on the 17th December 2014 for information.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To confirm the current Polling Districts in light of the review.

2.         Ysgol Maes Dyfan is due to be demolished during early 2015 prior to the May 2015 General Election and therefore an alternative location is required for Polling Station GC0 / GD0

3.         The proposal to move Polling Station NB0 into the Rangers Office at Cosmeston Lakes Park is in response to representations made about access and parking issues to, and around, Falcon Grove by local residents when the portacabin is in situ.

4.         To apprise Council.

 

Background

2.         The Council has a statutory duty under s.18A and 18B of the Representation of the People Act 1983 ("the Act") (enacted by s.16 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006) to divide its area into polling districts for the purposes of parliamentary elections, to designate a polling place for each polling district in a constituency and to keep the polling districts and places in its area under review in accordance with the requirements of s.18C and Schedule A1 of the Act.  

3.         The Council carried out a review of its polling districts, polling places and polling stations in December 2011.  In accordance with the statutory requirements of the Act the Council must complete a review of each polling district and polling places in its area within a period of 16 months beginning with 1st October 2013 and every fifth year thereafter, with any changes proposed implemented by the end of January 2015.  These provisions do not prevent a relevant authority carrying out at any time a review of some or all of the polling districts or polling places within its area.

 

Relevant Issues and Options

4.         In carrying out a review the Council must seek to ensure  in relation to parliamentary elections that;

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

·               Each community is to be a separate polling district (unless there are special circumstances)

·               The polling place for a polling district must be an area in the district, unless special circumstances make it desirable to designate an area wholly or partly outside the district;

·               The polling place for a polling district must be small enough to indicate to electors in the different parts of the district how they will be able to reach the polling station.

·               Polling places are as far as is reasonable and practicable accessible to all electors, including electors who are disabled, and, when considering the designation of a polling place or the designation of which as a polling place it is reviewing, have regard to the accessibility needs of disabled persons.

5.         The consultation process undertaken commenced in August 2014 with the advertisement of the Councils intention to undertake a review of polling districts, polling places and polling stations within the Vale of Glamorgan. The advertisement was placed on the Council's website and also via press release in local papers. As well as residents of the Vale of Glamorgan key local stakeholders were contacted directly and were invited to make representations. Representations were invited by the 15th of September 2014.

6.         Following consideration of the representations received by the Council's Returning Officer and Elections Team an initial proposal was prepared and sent out for further consultation, closing on the 24th October 2014, the outcomes of which were considered and collated and the proposed changes were prepared for approval.

7.         No representations were received regarding the Polling Districts. A summary table of representations received regarding Polling Places and stations is attached at appendix D. There were eleven representations made in total throughout both phases of consultation. Of the eleven representations made one of which was confirmation of Dinas Powys town councils approval of all stations within the ward, another was querying the suitability of all polling stations within the Plymouth Ward. The remaining nine representations related to seven stations, three representations of which related to the polling station currently sited at Falcon Grove in Lavernock which was moved to this location during the Review of Polling Districts, places and stations undertaken in 2011. One of the representations was also received after the close of consultation in relation to the proposed change at Ysgol Maes Dyfan. This will be looked into following the 2015 General Election, as will representations into additional polling stations being required in the Butrills and Castleland areas.

 

8.         No change is proposed to the Polling Districts which were established a number of years ago. All community councils have at least one separate polling district and are well-defined and identifiable.

9.         A schedule of existing polling stations, which incorporates the proposed changes is attached at Appendix A.The schedule sets out the reasons for the decisions made within the review

10.      Attached at Appendix B.1 and B.2 are Equality Impact Assessment Scoping Forms for the proposed changes at Ysgol Maes Dyfan (B.1) and Falcon Grove (B.2). Attached at Appendix C is a full list of key local stakeholders consulted within the      process.

11.      Representations from the Returning Officer in line with the Act have been sought.

     

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

12.      There are no costs associated with this report

 

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

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

 

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

14.      S.16 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 enacted s.18A-E and Schedule A1 (to s.18C) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 which imposes a statutory duty upon the Council to undertake a review of its polling districts and polling places.  Such a review must be undertaken in the Vale of Glamorgan and any proposed changes implemented by the 31st January 2015.

15.      Under S.9 of the Representation of the People Act 1983, an Electoral Registration Officer has a duty to maintain an electoral register for parliamentary electors and local government electors for each constituency or part of a constituency in its area and local government areas or parts of local government areas respectively and to conduct an annual canvass. The new register must be published on 1st December each year. As a result of the changes being proposed the new register will be re-published in January 2015.

Crime and Disorder Implications

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

17.      Accessibility to polling stations is an important issue.  The review has had due regard, as far as is reasonable and practicable, to the issues of equality of access and needs of voters in the area.

18.      These implications have been considered and are included in Appendix B.1 and B.2.  A completed Equality Impact Assessment Scoping Exercise has been undertaken for each change proposed.

Corporate/Service Objectives

19.      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

20.      This report is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

21.      There have been two opportunities for identified stakeholders, including residents and elected members, to make representations on this review.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

22.      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 - Engagement)

Operational Manager - Legal Services

 

Responsible Officer:

Council's Returning Officer

 

 

 

Appendices

 

 

A. Schedule of existing polling stations including proposed changes

 

 

 

B. Equality Impact Assessment Scoping Forms

 

            B.1 Ysgol Maes Dyfan

 

            B.2 Falcon Grove

 

 

C. Full list of local stakeholders consulted

 

D. List of representations made - Polling Station Review 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

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