2nd Jul, 2022

Petition calls for number of Coventry councillors to be reduced

Felix Nobes 4th Jan, 2019

A PETITION is calling for Coventry City Council to reduce the number of councillors.

It outlines plans to cut local authority seats from 54 to 36 and to introduce whole-council elections every four years.

Each of the 18 Coventry wards has three councillors, meaning there are 54 seats on the council.

Elections take place for three out of every four years.

For every election, voters chose from candidates to occupy one of the three council positions in each of the 18 wards across the city.

It means a third of the total 54 council seats – 18 – are up for grabs each time.

Voters elect a councillor for each ward for a term of four years.

The fourth year in which no election takes place is known as the fallow year.

The petition to be heard at a council meeting next week states: “We want the council to reduce the number of councillors in each ward from three to two and hold elections once every four years instead of the current cycle.

“This will save money and make the council more efficient.”

A council officer’s report states changing elections to once every four years could save up to £1.3million over the next 10 years.

Leader of the Conservative group, Councillor Gary Ridley, says the introduction of whole-council elections every four years would have many benefits.

The Conservatives included the measure in their last election manifesto and it was also included in their alternative budget, which was voted down by ruling Labour councillors.

Coun Ridley said: “It will save around £100,000 a year over the course of a cycle which we can plough back into front line service delivery.

“It would also mean that residents would have a genuine chance of changing control of the council at every election.

“At current elections just one in three councillors are up for re-election meaning it’s harder to vote out a failing administration.

“This would help to address voter fatigue and a genuine chance of a change in control could encourage more people to come out and vote.”

The council can switch to whole-council elections after a public consultation and with the support of two-thirds of councillors.

Local authorities have no ultimate powers to alter the number of councillors, the council officer’s report states.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is the independent body responsible for carrying out electoral reviews, on matters such as councillor numbers.

An electoral review can be undertaken at the request of a local authority.

The petition, which has 24 names, is being backed by Coventry UKIP.

Its chairman Ian Rogers said: “I will ask the council to request a review with a recommendation to reduce the number of councillors and begin a consultation process on changing the election cycle.

“The current system is dysfunctional because it simply enables politicking throughout the election cycle rather than working to represent the views of local residents.”

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