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Ref: LCO-058

Proposed Local Government Electoral Arrangements Legislative Competence Order

Peter Black

Pre-ballot Information: Outline Proposed Legislative Competence Order

Outline of proposed Order

To insert in Field 12 of Schedule 5 the following matter - "The arrangements for the election of members of local authorities and the electoral system by which they are elected”.

Pre-ballot Information: Explanatory Memorandum

Policy Objectives of the Proposed Order

This is in order to change the system of election used to elect Councillors to local authorities in Wales.

The purpose of this is to allow the National Assembly for Wales to determine the method of election it sees as best fitting the needs of Welsh local authorities and their electorates. All local authorities in Wales currently use the ‘First Past the Post’ electoral system. It has been recognised that this is not the most representative way of electing members, which is the reason that the National Assembly does not exclusively use that system for the election of its own members.

In 2002 the Report of the Commission on Local Government Electoral Arrangements in Wales recommended that the Single Transferable Vote system should be introduced in time for the local government elections in 2008. This was backed by seven Commissioners. Two Commissioners believed that local authorities in Wales should continue to be elected using the First Past the Post system but that the boundaries should be changed so that each electoral division elects one member only, instead of the current situation where each division elects between one and five members. Neither of these recommendations has been implemented. This order would give the National Assembly the opportunity to decide which option best suits the needs of Wales and implement the changes in time for the 2012 Local Government elections.  

The Assembly requires legislative competence in this area in order to implement the recommendations of the 2002 Commission on Local Government Electoral Arrangements in Wales Report. We have through our own electoral processes recognised that there are fundamental flaws with the First Past the Post system. This LCO does not recommend which system should be used, but gives the National Assembly the power to make and implement the system it deems most suitable

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