Changes to North Herts Council elections to save estimated £40k

NHDC council office

North Herts Council will move to a new election model following a public consultation - Credit: North Herts Council

From 2024, local elections in North Herts will be conducted every four years, instead of the current regime of electing by thirds following a public consultation in November this year.

The decision was made at an Extraordinary Council meeting on Tuesday, specifically convened to debate the issue, with more than two thirds of councillors voting for the change. 

All-out elections or whole council elections mean that all councillors are elected at the same time every four years.

The current electoral cycle of elections by thirds means they take place in three out of every four years, with one third of councillors being elected each time.

The move to conduct elections every four years is estimated to save around £40,000 a year and will take effect from May 2024, which is the same year as when the next scheduled general election and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections are due to take place.

A total of 306 responses were received during the public consultation period, a substantial number for this type of consultation with the vast majority completed online, with 54 per cent in favour of the change and 46 per cent wanting the system to stay as it is.

Some of the reasons given by residents for the change include that it will be easier to follow the election promises made by councillors, it will give stability for four years and will reduce voter disengagement.

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North Herts Council now joins the majority of local authorities who already elect by whole council which the Electoral Commission advocates as “more likely to provide clarity for electors and a degree of stability for local authorities".

Cllr Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg, leader of North Herts Council, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who took time to respond to our consultation.

"This is the biggest change to how we elect councillors in a generation, and in the next phase of the Boundary Commission review we'll be looking at ward boundaries and councillor numbers so please engage with us and help us shape the elections you want."

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