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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 04/09/2007
Review of Polling Districts and Polling Places



Summary & Purpose
As part of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 every local authority is required to carry out a review of polling districts and polling places every four years. The first such review must be completed by 31st December 2007.

In undertaking a review the Council must:
Publish a notice of the holding of a review;
Consult the Returning Officer for every parliamentary constituency which is wholly or partly in its area;
Enable any such Returning Officer to make representations to the authority and publish them in a prescribed manner;
Seek representations from such persons that it thinks has particular expertise in relation to access to premises or facilities for persons who have different forms of disability;
Allow any elector in the authority’s area to make representations which could include proposals for alternative polling places

It is proposed that authority be delegated to the Chief Executive, to conduct the review and submit proposals for polling districts and polling places to the Council at its meeting on 16th October 2007, via the Executive.

APPENDIX G
Waverley Borough Council

EXECUTIVE - 4TH SEPTEMBER 2007

Title:
Review of Polling Districts and Polling Places
[Wards Affected: All]

Summary and purpose:

As part of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 every local authority is required to carry out a review of polling districts and polling places every four years. The first such review must be completed by 31st December 2007.

In undertaking a review the Council must:
Publish a notice of the holding of a review;
Consult the Returning Officer for every parliamentary constituency which is wholly or partly in its area;
Enable any such Returning Officer to make representations to the authority and publish them in a prescribed manner;
Seek representations from such persons that it thinks has particular expertise in relation to access to premises or facilities for persons who have different forms of disability;
Allow any elector in the authority’s area to make representations which could include proposals for alternative polling places

It is proposed that authority be delegated to the Chief Executive, to conduct the review and submit proposals for polling districts and polling places to the Council at its meeting on 16th October 2007, via the Executive.

Introduction

1. This report sets out the proposals for conducting the review, including the arrangements for consultation, as set out in paragraph 14, and the timescales for submitting the findings to Council for approval.

Aims of the Review

2. Councils are required to divide their area into polling districts for the purposes of elections and to designate polling places for these polling districts, and to keep these under review.

3. In conducting the review, authorities must seek to ensure:

4. Waverley undertook a major review following the last Borough Electoral Review which was first implemented in the May 2003 Borough elections. This report has been based on a Woking Borough Council report, as part of the Surrey Secretaries and Solicitors programme of working jointly to minimise duplication of effort.

The Review Process

5. There are five stages to the review.

Stage 1

The Chief Executive has given notice that the review is being conducted. This Notice must include the following information:

that the Council is reviewing its polling districts and polling places;

that the Returning Officer will make comments on proposed polling stations;

that electors within the authority or within a parliamentary constituency which has any part in the authority may make a representation;

that the authority would welcome any person or body with expertise in access for persons with any type of disability to make a representation or to comment on the authority’s proposals, the Returning Officer’s representation or any other matter;

that persons or bodies making representations should, if possible, give alternative places that may be used as polling places;

the postal address, email address and website address at which documents can be inspected and representations made; and

an indication of the timetable of the review and a deadline for representations

6. Information relating to the current polling district and polling place arrangements is available now for inspection.

Stage 2

7. The Returning Officer must comment on all existing polling stations used at elections and any alternative venues that could be used as polling stations. The Returning Officer’s report must focus on the suitability of the existing polling stations and any proposed venues in relation to:

access for all electors including those with any disability

8. The Council must publish proposals for the new polling district and polling place arrangements.

9. Representations and comments on the proposals for polling districts and polling places are then invited.

Stage 4

10. The final proposals for the new polling districts and polling places will be submitted for agreement by Council at its meeting on 16th October 2007.

11. The results of the review will be published. The following information must be published:

all correspondence sent to the Returning Officer in connection with the review;

all correspondence sent to any person whom the authority thinks has particular expertise in relation to access to premises or facilities for persons who have different forms of disability;

all representations made by any person in connection with the review;

the minutes of any meeting held by the authority to consider any revision to the designation of polling districts or polling places within its area as a result of the review;

the details of the designation of polling districts or polling places within its area as a result of the review;

the reasons for the final decision regarding every polling district and polling place; and

the details of the places where the results of the review have been published.

Proposed Timetable

12. The timetable for the review is aimed at reporting the new proposals for polling districts and polling places to Council at its meeting on 16th October. This will ensure that any new polling districts are incorporated in the revised Register of Electors published on 1st December 2007.

Proposed Consultees

13. In carrying out the review, the Council must consult the Returning Officer and seek representations from persons or organisations with particular expertise with regard to access to premises and/or facilities for persons who have different forms of disabilities. It is also proposed to consult the High Sheriff, in his formal capacity, as Returning Officer for South West Surrey constituency parliamentary elections.

14. Additionally, the Council will be consulting the following people/organisations:

Waverley Borough Councillors

Surrey County Councillors for Waverley electoral divisions

MP’s for South West Surrey and Guildford

Local constituency political parties (Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green, UK Independence and the Independent Group of Councillors)

Other representative groups.

15. Waverley Borough Council will be responsible for conducting the polling district and polling place review for the wards, which fall in the Guildford Parliamentary Constituency, but which are within Waverley. A copy of this report, including the timetable will be sent to the Chief Executive of Guildford Borough Council for his information.

16. The Returning Officer will arrange a meeting with Political Party agents.

Considerations

17. When considering the allocation of polling districts, the Council must take account of:

proposed new areas of development within the Borough, including the number of dwellings and expected population numbers;

estimates for population change in the Borough

18. The Council should consider a range of issues, wherever possible, when allocating polling places, including:

The location of the polling place

The availability of parking

The approaches to the polling station

The polling station entrance:

Inside the building:

Facilities for polling station staff

19. When reviewing the polling places, consideration also will be given to possible positioning of tellers, to ensure that they do not hinder the access of electors to the polling station.

Resource Implications

20. Any financial and staffing implications in carrying out the review can be met from existing resources. However, in reviewing the locations, there may be financial implications which will be identified in the report submitted to Council in October, with regard to the provision of ramps, etc.

Environmental Implications

21. Conducting this review will ensure that all electors have reasonable facilities for voting in the Borough wherever possible without having to use a vehicle to get to the polling station.

Conclusion

22. Carrying out this review will enable the Council to ensure that all electors in the Borough have as reasonable facilities for voting as are practicable.

Recommendation

It is recommended that authority be delegated to the Chief Executive to conduct the review of polling districts and polling places and any proposals be reported to the Council at its meeting on 16th October 2007, via the Executive.

Background Papers (CEx)

Guidance from the Electoral Commission dated 26th June 2007.


CONTACT OFFICERS:

Name: Robin Pellow Telephone: 01483 523222
E-mail: rpellow@waverley.gov.uk

Name: Tricia Boxall Telephone: 01483 523412
E-mail: tboxall@waverley.gov.uk



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