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Fifth Electoral Reviews

Index | Timetable | Background | Resources

We started our Fifth Reviews of Electoral Arrangements in February 2014. We concluded the Fifth Reviews in May 2016 when we made recommendations to Scottish Ministers for the number of councillors and the electoral ward boundaries in each of Scotland's 32 local authorities. We conducted the Fifth Reviews in two phases: firstly we consulted and decided on councillor numbers for each council; secondly we consulted and decided on ward boundaries.

For the Fifth Reviews we followed the timetable listed on the Timetable page.

We are required to conduct electoral reviews of each local authority at intervals of 8 to 12 years, as specified in the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973. The population, and hence the electorate, of any local authority area is constantly changing, with migration into or out of areas as well as within the same area. As a result of these changes, some councillors may be representing considerably more or fewer electors than their colleagues. These variations in levels of representation are one of the reasons that the legislation requires regular electoral reviews.

When reviewing electoral arrangements we are required to take account of the following factors:

  • the interests of effective and convenient local government;
  • within each council, each councillor should represent the same number of electors;
  • local ties which would be broken by making a particular boundary;
  • the desirability of fixing boundaries that are easily identifiable; and
  • special geographical considerations that may need different treatment.

Each ward must elect 3 or 4 councillors, and we design wards to match the number of councillors for each ward. We take into account the expected change in the number of electors in an area within the 5 years following the start of the reviews. We try to ensure that the number of councillors in each council area represent approximately the same number of electors.

We use a methodology to categorise council areas and determine council size. For the Fifth Reviews our methodology was based on deprivation and population density. We used deprivation as a factor in determining council size because we believe it is a reasonable indicator for a range of factors that impact on council services and on the work of councillors. Deprivation is also used by Scottish Government when making policy decisions.

For these reviews we have maintained the minimum number of councillors at 18, as we felt there was no necessity to change this. However we have extended the upper limit from 80 to 85 to give us greater flexibility when considering how to incorporate deprivation to determine councillor numbers. We are aware that a large change of councillor numbers in a council area can be disruptive, therefore we have incorporated a 10% change rule. This means that we have not increased or decreased the total number of councillors in a council area by more than 10% as a consequence of the reviews.

We submitted our recommendations to Ministers on 26 May 2016. The resulting wards will be available for the local government elections in May 2017.

Index | Timetable | Background | Resources

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