Could ‘deadwood’ district councillors be cut?


‘INEFFECTIVE’ district councillors could be culled if an electoral review gets the go-ahead.

Chichester District Council’s cabinet will consider today (May 6) whether to recommend a review looking at ‘significantly’ reducing the number of district councillors, following a report by the council’s own boundary review panel.

This could see councillor cutbacks for the 2019 elections.
Chichester East district councillor Michael Woolley said he could see the benefits of such a review taking place.

“I must say there’s some deadwood there and there’s been a lot of cutbacks of officers. I personally think there’s a lot to be said for cutting back councillors,” he said.

“It will mean instead of a councillor representing 2,200 people, they will be representing 2,800 people – a slight increase but I think we can cope with that.

“It will mean effective councillors go on being councillors and we lose the ineffective ones.”

Regarding the impact it could have on councillors representing larger rural wards, Cllr Woolley said it should not present so much of a problem with large numbers of people having ready access to the internet.

The recommendation comes after the boundary review panel of the district council, chaired by councillor John Ridd, considered whether a request should be made to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to carry out the review of CDC.

“Councillors have suggested recently that the council should seek an electoral review in order to reduce significantly the number of councillors,” said the panel’s report.

The cabinet will be asked to recommend to full council a request be put in for an electoral review, with a review hoped to start before the 2015 elections.

The cabinet is also asked to recommend the boundary review panel report further to the council meeting with recommendations and draft proposals on the size of the council.

Currently, 48 councillors form CDC.

The report references similarly-sized district councils, such as the Vale of White Horse, which underwent a review in 2012 that resulted in the number of councillors being slashed from 51 to 38.