Council ward boundaries across Scotland have been agreed, following Ministers’ decisions on recommendations from the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland.
The Commission published recommendations for changes to councillor numbers and ward boundaries in May, following completion of its fifth periodic review of local government electoral arrangements.
Changes were recommended for 30 of Scotland’s local authority areas, and the Scottish Government has accepted all but five, meaning changes will be made in 25 council areas.
Given the existing commitment to an Islands Bill this Parliamentary year to ensure closer representation in island communities, Ministers have not accepted recommendations to make changes to the island authorities.
Parliamentary Business Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:
“Local government plays an important role in delivering key services across Scotland and it’s important for the sake of democracy and for local service delivery that councils are as representative as possible of the communities they serve.
“That’s why the Boundary Commission is legally obliged to hold regular reviews of council wards and councillor numbers, to ensure these reflect changes in population – this is the fifth such review since the Commission was created in 1973 and we are pleased to accept the vast majority of their recommendations.
“In a small number of cases – Argyll and Bute, Dundee City and Scottish Borders - we have listened to local representations and left boundaries as they currently stand, to ensure that strong historic ties in particular areas and communities are maintained.
“Significant concerns were raised about aspects of the Commission’s proposals for those areas, in particular that they would not reflect local communities. While the Commission did try to address these in its final recommendations, it was clear from the responses to those recommendations that many of those concerns remained. We therefore decided that the better course would be to keep the status quo for those areas.
“In the case of the three island councils, we are committed to introducing an Islands Bill in this first Parliamentary year enabling the creation of 1- or 2-member island wards.
“We do not propose to pre-empt the Bill by changing ward boundaries in Orkney, Shetland or Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, so we are therefore not implementing any changes in those areas.
“However, we will be asking the Commission to look at electoral arrangements for the islands areas once the Bill has been enacted, with the aim of having any changes arising from the Islands Bill in place for the local elections in 2022.
“Our decisions will ensure updated electoral arrangements will apply for the local government elections in May next year, and I am confident these new structures will serve Scottish local government well in the years to come.”
Notes To Editors
The Local Government Boundary Commission is an independent body responsible for reviewing local government electoral arrangements every 8-12 years. The Commission’s recommendations were set out in 32 reports, one for each local authority area. The reports and more information about the reviews can be found on the Commission’s website at http://www.lgbc-scotland.gov.uk/reviews/5th_electoral/.
The Commission recommended changes for 30 of Scotland’s local authority areas. The Scottish Government has accepted all but 5 of those recommendations. These decisions mean that changes to ward boundaries and/or councillor numbers will be made in 25 council areas:
Dumfries and Galloway
Perth and Kinross
The changes mean councillor numbers remain largely the same, changing from 1223 to 1227.