How many councillors do we actually need on Buckinghamshire Council?

As consultation launches, the new unitary council currently has 147 councillors, each paid £13,260 a year, but some suggest there should be fewer than half that number

Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 12:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 12:26 pm

The Local Government Boundary Commission wants to know what residents and local organisations in Buckinghamshire think would be the ideal number of councillors to serve on the unitary council.

An eight-week consultation will run from September 7 to November 2.

The commission is the independent body that reviews electoral and boundary arrangements for local authorities, to make sure the arrangements are fair and help the council work effectively.

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County Hall in Aylesbury

It is reviewing Buckinghamshire Council because it is a newly established authority. Formed in April 2020, it combined the former Buckinghamshire County Council, South Bucks District Council, Chiltern District Council, Wycombe District Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council into a single authority.

As an interim arrangement, the unitary council currently has 147 councillors - three from each of the previous county council electoral divisions.

Each councillor receives a basic allowance of £13,260 a year, while cabinet members receive an additional £23,460 per year.

The Local Government Boundary Commission is focusing on three proposals for the number of councillors needed:

Buckinghamshire Council itself has proposed there should be 120 councillors.

When the new unitary authority was being considered, the former Bucks County Council proposed 98 councillors.

Finally, a report commissioned by Buckinghamshire Business First in 2014 suggested between 65 and 80 councillors.

At this stage, the commission considers that the upper limit of this range is more likely to ensure the long-term effectiveness of the council, but it welcomes alternative views, and it's asking for feedback from local people.

After consulting on the number of councillors required to serve on the council, the commission will then seek further local input to help decide the wards for the council area.

Launching the consultation, commission chair Prof Colin Mellors said: “We want people in Buckinghamshire to help us.

“We are considering how many councillors will be needed to make sure that the new Buckinghamshire Council operates effectively in the long term.

"Residents, local organisations, parish and town councils can all help us.

“It’s easy to get involved. Go to our website, or you can email or write to us.

“Just tell us what you think and give us some details about why you think that. It’s really simple, so do get involved.”

Following the review, long-term arrangements will apply from local elections in 2025. There will be no changes to the external boundaries of parishes.

The commission has a dedicated section on its website where people can read the consultation document and give their views.

People can also give their views by email at [email protected], and by post to Review Officer (Buckinghamshire), LGBCE, PO Box 133, Blyth NE24 9FE.