Agenda and minutes
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MEMBERS' CODE OF CONDUCT - DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members of the Committee are asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary and non pecuniary interests, in connection with any application on the agenda and state the nature of the interest.
Members of the Committee were asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary and non pecuniary interests in connection with any application on the agenda and state the nature of the interest.
No such declarations were made.
The Director of Governance and Assurance reported upon planned reforms to improve the annual canvass of electors undertaken each year by Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) across Great Britain.
The Electoral Services Manager advised Members that Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) in Great Britain were required to conduct an annual canvass of all residential properties in the area for which they have responsibility in order to identify everyone who should be on the electoral register.
Members of the Committee were informed that alternative models for conducting the annual canvass had been piloted and after evaluation, the Cabinet Office intended to amend the legislation that governs the annual canvass with the aim for this reform to start in 2020. The Cabinet Office Statement of Policy provided a full overview of the Canvass Reform and was attached as Appendix 1 to the report.
On a motion by Councillor D Mitchell and seconded by Councillor A Hodson it was -
Resolved – That the report be noted.
The Director of Governance and Assurance submitted a report requesting Members of the Committee to consider the outcome of the consultation pursuant to the statutory review of polling districts and polling places 2019.
The Electoral Services Manager informed Members that the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 determined that there must be a review of all polling districts and polling places every five years and the compulsory period determined that the next full review must be completed between 1 October 2018 and 31 January 2020. It was reported that the Council’s Electoral Services evaluated the effectiveness and suitability of polling places and stations following each election and any issues or changes required would be reported to this Committee. The review formally commenced on 19 August 2019 with the consultation period ending on 18 October 2019.
Members were advised that during the consultation period, representations had been received from electors and Ward Councillors. The representations were received in the form of eleven emails and one letter from the public, and six emails from Ward Councillors. Five responses received had commented they were satisfied with the current arrangements; seven emails and one letter related to requests for changes to polling places; two emails related to requests for changes in polling district boundaries and three emails commented on the general dissatisfaction with using schools as polling places. Three emails had been received that related to areas not considered to be part of the review. One email was a general offer to use their Church hall and two emails commented on Ward boundaries.
The Council’s (Acting) Returning Officer submitted comments on 2 September 2019, as required by legislation, on both existing and proposed polling stations and with the exception of five polling districts, the comments stated that the current arrangements offered the most reasonable facilities for voting. Five polling districts had been commented on in respect of proposed changes to polling district boundaries and polling places.
The outcome of the review had been that the public and elected representatives were largely satisfied with the current arrangements, therefore it was recommended that the majority of polling districts and polling places should remain unchanged. In response to requests to changes to some polling district boundaries and polling places it had been necessary to consider alternative options.
Members were informed that currently schools were used for forty five of the one hundred and three designated polling places which equated to less than half and that the decision to close the school was taken by the headteacher. Where possible, the (Acting) Returning Officer and the school would make such arrangements for the school to remain open, however, pupil safety must always be considered as paramount and if the school decides to close on the day of the poll and it is not reasonably practicable to arrange an alternative day to try and make up the lost education, the school will be treated as if it had met the requisite 190 days for the purposes of the school year ... view the full minutes text for item 20.