The London Borough of Redbridge have used their Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) matched Electoral Roll to help model submissions for the 2016 Ward Boundary Review.
Working with the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) (https://www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/greater-london/greater-london/redbridge), the electoral review of Redbridge was completed in April 2017. The aim of the review was to deliver electoral equality for voters in local elections and recommend ward boundaries - each councillor representing approximately the same number of electors.
The review resulted in many positive outcomes. These ranged from increased social and economic benefits for both the council and its residents to awareness of the LLPG internally
The changes were complex. Specific issues included:
- The LLPG and GIS were not well understood within the council. Sessions with councillors took place to evaluate what happens when electors were moved between wards. Councillors could ask questions and be shown the answers with a visual representation using GIS
- It was essential throughout the whole process to ensure communities were not broken up by the ward boundary changes
- Each proposed ward could not have an electorate per councillor that was 10% greater or less than the average electorate per councillor for the borough
- Population growth needed to be taken into account but boundary changes were restricted to changes in the electorate
- The council had to make an electoral forecast for 2021. This was calculated taking the previous 5 years of population and electorate data into account
- The forecast had to be disaggregated to polling district level – this was achieved with a formula encompassing the previous five years of electorate data for polling districts
- The previous review took place in 1999, with a lot of changes to the borough recorded since. However, as the electoral roll is linked to the LLPG it was proved that the time wasn't an issue for the council.
The solution was underpinned by the LLPG and involved several steps:
- The council already had the LLPG linked to the electoral roll, as well as other services such as revenues, planning, parking permits. Without the link and cleansing of data, a lot more work would have needed to have been carried out
- The Electoral Roll was used to show where the population lies in Redbridge. Several hundred electors needed to be matched
- During the session with councillors, the LLPG Custodian demonstrated how the redrawing of boundaries could affect electorate levels
- Residents received communications to ensure they were aware of what was happening and were invited to make suggestions about where the wards should be and what they could be called
- Political parties and local groups could provide their responses to the proposed review
- Consultations on the review were submitted by the council and the political parties that represented voters at ward level.
There have been several positive outcomes from the ward boundary changes, including:
- Council systems will need to be updated with the new wards. This will be much easier due to the links with the LLPG
- Linking Electoral Services to the LLPG has helped uncover more dwellings, and in turn, enabled the council to collect additional Council Tax
- A new Ward ‘Ilford Town' has been created and some wards have been renamed: Wanstead Park, Wanstead Village, South Woodford
- The LGBCE review was completed in April 2017, with the changes confirmed in the final recommendations
- Final Ward boundary amendments produced by LGBCE can be seen on their website. Work is ongoing. 1500 additional voters are to be linked with the LLPG and daily checks on properties submitted to the LLPG team from the Electoral Registration team. This is together with the need to verify the locations of properties
- Promotion and increased awareness of the LLPG amongst councillors
Polling districts will be completed by November 2017. This includes ensuring all voters are allocated to the correct district. The Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) linkage with LLPG Polling districts needs to be redrawn to fit the new ward boundaries. Each ward contains several polling districts, where electors go to vote and so it is important to ensure that wards are split evenly.
Following on from the ward changes, the boundary commission is carrying out its own review. The local review will feed into this as the ward boundaries have changed and will be taken into account
Amber Hill (Research and Communication Coordinator) – [email protected]