PART IV: ELECTIONS |
208. Part IV contains three provisions which
delegate power to the Secretary of State to make orders to alter
the frequency and timing of local council elections.
209. The Government believes that the use of
an order-making power is necessary to effect these changes in
particular local authorities or descriptions of local authorities
as and when the need or desirability arises (or, indeed, as and
when individual local authorities request such changes). It is
not currently the Government's intention to make across the board
changes to the frequency or timing of local elections. In this
respect, the powers are similar to that in s.17 of the Local Government
Act 1992 in relation to the implementation of electoral changes
proposed by the Local Government Commission. In view of the largely
technical and administrative nature of these orders, the Government
believes that the negative resolution procedure is appropriate.
This is consistent with the approach taken in s.17 of the 1992
CLAUSE 58: POWER TO SPECIFY SCHEMES OF ELECTIONS
210. Clause 58 gives the Secretary of State the
power to make orders to change the scheme of elections in local
councils. The schemes of elections which may be applied are detailed
in clause 57. Orders made under this power may specify individual
councils by name, or they may specify descriptions of councils.
An order may specify the years in which elections are to be held,
and make transitional provision regarding the holding of initial
elections and the retirement of councillors.
211. Where the specified scheme of elections
involves the election of only a proportion of councillors in any
one year, the order may include provision for identifying the
wards, electoral divisions and councillors that may be affected
by such a change. This is necessary because the number of councillors
representing a ward in a principal council may not be evenly divisible
by the frequency of elections that is being specified for the
authority. In such cases, there is a need to be able to identify
which seats are to be elected at which elections.
212. Similarly, in the electoral divisions of
counties (which currently have one member per division), it will
be necessary to identify which divisions will have elections in
any particular year. An order may specify the method to be used
for identifying the electoral divisions, wards and councillors
in such cases, or it may direct principal councils to propose
to the Secretary of State methods for identifying electoral divisions,
wards and councillors.
213. As discussed above, the Government believes
that the use of an order-making power is necessary to effect changes
to the frequency of elections in particular (named) local authorities
or descriptions of local authorities. The Government also believes
that the negative resolution procedure is appropriate for this
CLAUSE 59: POWER TO CHANGE THE TIMING OF ELECTIONS
214. Clause 59 gives the Secretary of State the
power to make orders to change the years in which local authority
(including parish and community council) elections are held. Orders
made under this power may specify individual councils by name,
or they may specify descriptions of councils. An order may make
transitional provision regarding the retirement of councillors.
215. The purpose of this power is to enable the
timing or phasing of local electoral cycles to be changed without
changing the scheme (or frequency) of elections. This provision
could be used to re-align the cycles of elections at different
levels of representation in a particular place in order to, for
example, achieve a better spread, so that elections take place
in different years. Conversely, it could be used to provide for
a greater coincidence of elections in an area.
216. The Government does not intend to change
the timing of electoral cycles across the board, and this power
is intended for ad hoc use. The Government therefore believes
that an order-making power is appropriate. In line with the power
in clause 58, the Government also takes the view that the negative
resolution procedure is appropriate.
CLAUSE 60: POWER TO MAKE INCIDENTAL PROVISIONS ETC
217. Clause 60 gives the Secretary of State a
power to make incidental, consequential, transitional or supplemental
provisions further to any substantive orders made under clauses
58 or 59.
218. The purpose of this power is to enable separate
minor provisions to be made after an order bringing about changes
under clauses 58 or 59 has been made. This is necessary to ensure
that further consequential etc changes that may be necessary following
an order under clauses 58 or 59 can be made without having to
make a further substantive order under those powers.
219. The Government believes that the negative
resolution procedure is appropriate for this purpose.