Move to change cycle of district elections

PUBLISHED: 12:33 07 September 2006 | UPDATED: 14:49 12 May 2010

COUNCILLORS will decide shortly whether to change the election cycle in North Herts. They will be looking at a proposal which would see the full council elected every four years. At the moment members of North Herts District Council are elected on the bas

COUNCILLORS will decide shortly whether to change the election cycle in North Herts.

They will be looking at a proposal which would see the full council elected every four years.

At the moment members of North Herts District Council are elected on the basis of a third at a time each year for three years out of four.

But in a report Cllr Andrew Young, portfolio holder for policy, told the council's scrutiny committee on Tuesday that a change of the election cycle could provide "clarity" for voters.

The move comes after a consultation exercise from the Electoral Commission which looked into the question of partial elections and whole council elections.

It suggested the case for whole council elections would see:

- Greater possibility of wholesale change in control may encourage participation while too frequent elections might dilute public interest.

- Opportunity for all electors to influence the composition of the authority at the same time.

- May tend to encourage greater long-term planning by authorities and discourage continuous election campaigning.

The commission, however, said that under the current election cycle voters could impose "immediate political accountability" and that with a third of members being elected there would be less "drastic changes" in political direction.

In a Government White Paper, Strong Local Leadership - Quality Public Services, it was said: "The current cycle of local government elections is confusing."

There was criticism, too, that electing a third of members could "lessen the impact" on a change in control of a council.

The district council has estimated that running a full election next year will cost about £108,000. The cost of electing a third of members in May was about £60,000 and running one whole election could save between £17,000 and £22,000-a-year.

The move to whole council elections is likely to see a higher number of by-elections which will cost between £1,000 and £1,500 to run.

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