Agenda and draft minutes

Community Governance and Electoral Issues Committee
Tuesday, 22 October 2019 6.30 pm

Venue: 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, Milton, Abingdon, OX14 4SB

Contact: Steven Corrigan 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

To record apologies for absence and the attendance of substitute members. 

Minutes:

Councillor Paul Barrow submitted an apology for absence with Councillor Max Thompson attending as his substitute.

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 101 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the Community Governance and Electoral Issues Committee minutes of the meeting held on 26 November 2018 - attached.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 26 November 2018 as a correct record and agree that the chair signs them as such.

3.

Declarations of interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting. 

Minutes:

None.

4.

Urgent business and chair's announcements

To receive notification of any matters which the chair determines should be considered as urgent business and the special circumstances which have made the matters urgent, and to receive any announcements from the chairman. 

Minutes:

None.

5.

Public participation

To receive any questions or statements from members of the public that have registered to speak. 

Minutes:

No members of the public had registered to address the committee.

6.

Report of the Returning Officer on the delivery of the May 2019 district and parish elections pdf icon PDF 130 KB

To consider the report of the returning officer – to follow.

Minutes:

The committee considered the report of the returning officer on the delivery of the May 2019 Vale of White Horse District Council elections and parish council elections for the Vale area and set out a number of action points.

 

In response to questions, the committee was advised that the delivery of the elections was a priority for the council and there was therefore an expectation that services across the council would provide support. There would have been no impact on the delivery of other council services to customers. The timetable and process for postal vote applications is governed by national legislation. It was therefore not possible to amend a person’s choice to vote by postal vote after the statutory deadline to take account of, for example, the non-receipt of a postal vote. However, the returning officer undertook to work with Communications to further improve the publication of deadline dates and anticipated posting dates. Officers would discuss further options for recruiting staff for election duties via social media including LinkedIn.

 

The committee welcomed the report and agreed that the elections had run smoothly. The committee further endorsed the action points set out in paragraph 31 of the report. 

 

RESOLVED: to

1.    note the report of the returning officer on the delivery of the May 2019 district and parish elections to the Community Governance and Electoral Issues Committee on 22 October 2019;

2.    endorse the action points in paragraph 31 of the report of the returning officer to the Community Governance and Electoral Issues Committee on 22 October 2019.

7.

Polling district and polling places review pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To consider the report of the head of legal and democratic on proposals for polling districts and polling places following a periodic review required by the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 - attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee considered the report of the head of legal and democratic on proposals for polling districts and polling places following a periodic review required by the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013.

 

The committee was advised of a late representation from Charney Bassett Parish Council which endorsed the continued use of the Village Hall as a polling place. The committee was further advised of an error in appendix C of the report. The polling place for polling district SAC1 should be the Boundary Park Pavilion and not Harwell Village Hall.

 

In response from a committee member officers confirmed that Denman College

in Marcham would be considered as an alternative polling place if the designated polling place is unavailable.

 

 

The committee noted that the arrangements had worked well in recent elections.  

 

RESOLVED: to

1.    note the consultation responses and the officer comments set out in appendix A of the report of the head of legal and democratic to the meeting of the Community Governance and Electoral Issues Committee on 22 October 2019;

2.    note the Acting Returning Officer’s comments attached at appendix B of the report of the head of legal and democratic to the meeting of the Community Governance and Electoral Issues Committee on 22 October 2019;

3.    approve the schedule of polling districts and polling places attached to these minutes;

4.    authorise the head of legal and democratic, acting in her capacity as the council’s returning officer, to make changes to polling districts and polling places where circumstances dictate that this is desirable, having first consulted with members of the committee and the local councillor(s).

8.

District wide community governance review

Vale of White Horse District Council undertook a district wide review of parish arrangements in 2013/14 with Council agreeing changes at its meeting in July 2014. This committee undertook a number of further reviews, some deferred from the 2013/14 district wide review and others in response to further requests from parish councils, with any agreed changes implemented prior to the 2019 elections.

A community governance review (CGR) is a review carried out by a principal council of the whole or part of its area. The aim is to look at one or more of:

  • the creation, merging or abolition of parishes
  • the naming of parishes
  • the style of parishes (for example town, village, community)
  • the electoral arrangements for parishes (for example size of parish councils, number of councillors, warding arrangements)

District council wards and county council divisions cannot be altered in a community governance order. However, a request may be made to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to carry out a review for changes to district or county boundaries as a result of a local CGR.

At its meeting on 23 October 2017 this committee agreed “that the council undertakes a community governance review every four years with changes agreed for implementation at the next scheduled parish elections”. In line with this resolution committee is invited to agree that a district wide community governance review is commenced in 2020.

RECOMMENDATION:

That officers submit a timetable for a community governance review to this committee for a review to commence in Spring 2020.

 

Minutes:

The committee considered a proposal, set out on the agenda,  to commence a district wide community governance review in Spring 2020 which would allow for any changes to be implemented for the 2023 elections.

 

Officers confirmed that the Great Western Park Residents’ Association would be included as a consultee during the review.

 

RESOLVED: to request that officers submit a timetable for a community governance review to the committee for a review to commence in Spring 2020.