Agenda and minutes

Community Governance and Electoral Issues Committee - Tuesday, 29 October 2019 6.30 pm

Venue: Meeting Room 1, 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, Milton, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 4SB

Contact: Matthew Gaskin, Electoral Services Officer  email:  matthew.gaskin@southandvale.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of chairman

To elect a chairman of the committee for the remainder of the 2019/20 municipal year.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: to elect Councillor Lloyd as Chairman of the committee for the remainder of the 2019/20 municipal year.

 

 

2.

Appointment of vice-chairman

To appoint a vice-chairman of the committee for the remainder of the 2019/20 municipal year.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: to appoint Councillor Dragonetti as the Vice-Chairman of the committee for the remainder of the 2019/20 municipal year.

 

3.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Councillor Filipova-Rivers submitted an apology for absence with Councillor Kantor attending as substitute.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 103 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the Community Governance and Electoral Issues Committee minutes of the meeting held on 27 November 2018 - attached. 

Minutes:

RESOLVED: to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 27 November 2018 as a correct record and agree that the chairman signs them as such.

 

5.

Declarations of interest

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

Minutes:

None.

6.

Urgent business and chairman's announcements

To receive notification of any matters which the chairman 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.

7.

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.

8.

Report of the Returning Officer on the delivery of the May 2019 district and parish elections pdf icon PDF 139 KB

To consider the report of the returning officer – attached.

 

Minutes:

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

 

A number of councillors expressed disappointment regarding the low number of contested parish council elections. Whilst the cost of running an election clearly deterred some parish councils having a contested election, concern was also expressed that pressure was put on some candidates not to stand to ensure the status quo. The committee was advised that a decision not to charge parish councils for the running of elections would place a financial burden on the district council.

 

There was support for the nominations process and particularly the lack of an appointments system and the provision an informal check of the paperwork. There was also support for the decision to undertake the district council counts overnight.

 

In response to concerns expressed regarding the failure of IT systems and printing problems and the subsequent delay in announcing election results, Margaret Reed, Returning Officer, advised that progress was being made to address the issues which arose. 

 

The committee thanked all staff involved for the successful delivery of the elections. The committee welcomed the report and agreed that the elections had run smoothly. The committee 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 29 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 29 October 2019.

 

9.

Polling district and polling places review pdf icon PDF 140 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 a resident of South Moreton who asked that the council re-designate The Crown Public House as a polling station following its reopening as a community asset. The committee agreed to authorise the head of legal and democratic to review the suitability of the venue and consult members of the committee, local ward councillors and the parish council prior to a final decision.

 

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  Community Governance and Electoral Issues Committee on 29 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 Community Governance and Electoral Issues Committee on 29 October 2019;

3.    approve the schedule of polling districts and polling places attached at appendix C of the report of the head of legal and democratic to the Community Governance and Electoral Issues Committee on 29 October 2019;

4.    authorise the head of legal and democratic to review the suitability of the Crown Public House in South Moreton as a polling place, to consult members of the committee, local councillors and the parish council and to make a final decision on whether to designate it as a polling place;

5.    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).

 

10.

District wide community governance review

South Oxfordshire 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 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 30 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 advised that changes to district council boundaries are a matter for the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.

 

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