Agenda and minutes

Electoral Matters Committee - Thursday 21st September 2023 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Parkside Suite - Parkside

Contact: Jess Bayley 

No. Item


To receive apologies for absence and notification of substitutes




Declarations of Interest

To invite Councillors to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Disclosable Interests they may have in items on the agenda, and to confirm the nature of those interests.


There were no declarations of interest.


To confirm the accuracy of the minutes of the meetings of the Electoral Matters Committee held on 2nd February 2021, 8th July 2021 and 24th July 2023 pdf icon PDF 227 KB

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meetings of the Electoral Matters Committee held on 2nd February 2021, 8th July 2021 and 24th July 2023 were submitted.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meetings of the Electoral Matters Committee held on 2nd February 2021, 8th July 2021 and 24th July 2023 be approved as a correct record.


Statutory Review of Polling Districts and Polling Places 2023 pdf icon PDF 147 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee considered the report which set out the proposed communications plan for the statutory review of polling districts and polling places.


In presenting the report, the Electoral Services manager highlighted that there would be a spreadsheet on the consultation webpage which members of the public could review.  Background information would also be provided.  Details would be published on the website in advance of the consultation period.  He invited members to suggest any special interest groups who might be approached.


Given the proposed publication of details prior to the consultation period, Members asked how the webpage would be managed to be clear when comments could be submitted.  The Electoral Services Manager confirmed that details on the webpage would state when the consultation period began, and there would not be any links to enable comments to be made until then.


A Member asked whether polling districts should be included in the list of issues on which people could comment.  The Electoral Services Manager responded that this could be added and was routinely included in stakeholder communications.  There would be an interactive map on the webpage which should help those who wished to respond.


A member referred to religious buildings and whether their use caused concern among people of other faiths.  The Electoral Services Manager responded that officers asked faith leaders in the local community if they had any concerns about their use.  No concerns had been expressed by them about religious institutions or social clubs. 


A member queried the use of schools as polling stations due to the potential impact on education.  The Electoral Services Manager responded that the law required rooms in schools to be made available if required, but the Elections Team tried to use alternative premises where possible.  He gave details of one school where its use was contested, but there were no alternatives and the Team worked with the Head to prepare for elections well in advance. 


The use of portacabins as an alternative to schools was discussed and it was noted that these were not ideal, for example, they were not always accessible.  Voters had also complained about their use.    


A member queried whether feedback was obtained from those working on the elections to inform future arrangements.  The Senior Electoral Services Officer reported that Polling Station Inspection staff had been asked for feedback via a checklist at the last election in anticipation of this review.  Presiding Officers had also been asked for information about the polling stations, including access for electors and location, and whether they could suggest an alternative.  Equalities and Health and Safety Officers visited as many polling stations as they could and completed a separate checklist on these elements.  The feedback would be incorporated in the future report to the Committee.


Members queried the timing of the review since the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) would be carrying out a review of the ward boundaries during the next year.  It was noted that although the current review of polling districts and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11/23