An independent body is asking local people how many councillors they think should represent Doncaster Council in the future.
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is launching a six-week public consultation as part of its electoral review into the council’s size and the number, names and boundaries of its wards.
The Commission has considered views put to it by the council and other groups and is now asking residents whether they agree that the total number of councillors should be reduced and, if so, how many elected members there should be in future.
At a full council meeting in July, councillors voted to put forward a recommendation to the Boundary Commission to shrink the council’s size from 63 members to 54.
Then last month, the Free Press uncovered shocking figures on councillors’ workloads which revealed one Doncaster councillor worked on council duties for an average of just 42 minutes a week - earning the equivalent of £6.31 a minute. The data was unearthed in research which has been put to the Boundary Commission in support of it reducing the council’s size.
The Commission has also published guidance for local people to consider before responding to the consultation, which can be found at: www.lgbce.org.uk/__documents/lgbce/reviews/doncaster/council-size/doncasterconsultationdocument.pdf.
Max Caller, Chair of the Commission, said: “This is your chance to shape your council for the future.
“We have considered the views put to us by the council, the Recovery Board and others. The Commission received strong evidence that the total number of councillors should be reduced from 63 but we want to hear local views before we take a firm decision.
“The council has proposed that the number of councillors should be reduced to 54 and the Recovery Board have supplied evidence that the total number should be around 48. Both cases were persuasive but we want to know what local people think.
“We want to make sure the council has the right number of councillors to take decisions effectively on behalf of the borough and that there are the right number of elected members to represent the interests of local people and communities.
“Once we have taken a view on the number of councillors for Doncaster, we will re-draw ward boundaries to accommodate those elected members and we will be asking local people to have their say during that process as well.”
The current phase of consultation closes on October 14. Once it has considered the evidence provided by local people and organisations, the Commission will publish its proposal on the total number of councillors in November 2013 and then begin to gather information to help draw up new ward boundaries.
The Commission aims to publish its draft recommendations for a new pattern of wards for Doncaster in May 2014 when it will consult local people again. Final recommendations are due to be published in October 2014 and the new electoral arrangements would come into effect for the council elections in 2015.
Further information about the review and how to have your say is available at www.lgbce.org.uk.