Venue: Committee Room 2 - Parkside. View directions
Contact: Amanda Scarce
To receive apologies for absence and notification of substitutes
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors L. C. R. Mallett and S. G. Hession.
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.
The minutes of the meeting of the electoral Matters Committee held on 15th July 2019 were submitted.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Electoral Matters Committee held on 15th July 2019 be approved as a correct record.
The Electoral Services Manager introduced the report and explained that the report sets out the results of the initial consultation, the comments of the Acting Returning Officer (ARO) and the findings of the Electoral Services team to the formal review of Polling Districts and Polling Places; as required under the Representation of the People Act 1983 and Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013, and based on the Electoral Commission Guidance as detailed at Appendix 3 to the report.
Members were further informed that the initial consultation had run from 17th July to 28th August 2019, all submissions and summaries had been recorded in Appendix 1 to the report.
Polling Station Inspectors had reviewed all of the current polling stations within the area during the Local and Euro Parliamentary Elections in May 2019; officers had considered the suitability of these and any other recommendations, which included verbal discussions with Elected Members and members of the public. Officers had also assessed any changes that may be needed to Polling Districts and the Acting Returning Officer’s (ARO’s) comments, all of which had been included in Appendix 1 to the report.
The Committee was asked to consider the proposals made and to make any recommendations for the final consultation which would run from 12th September to 7th October 2019.
The Electoral Services Manager drew Members’ attention to paragraphs 3.6, 3.7 and 3.8 in the report, which detailed the ‘Starting Points’ for the selection of Polling Places / Stations.
Members were further informed that any changes agreed must be likely to be sustainable for a reasonable number of years, as frequent changes of Polling Stations were not helpful for electors and undermined their knowledge of, and confidence in, electoral systems.
In terms of environmental risks, it was of course preferable that choice of Polling Station location could help minimise unnecessary additional journeys by motorised vehicles. It was preferable where possible not to use a portable building where a generator was required.
Members then considered each Ward and the changes / comments received, as detailed at Appendix 1 to the report; with the following being agreed by all Members of the Committee:
Avoncroft AVB – Members supported the Electoral Officers change submission and the ARO’s comments to move away from using a portable building at Morrison’s and agreed with using Stoke Prior Village Hall as a shared Polling Station (with Avoncroft AVA). Members however did raise some concerns with regard to the size of the car park at the village hall.
Barnt Green & HopwoodBHA – Members were informed that access to Hopwood Village Hall was poor for disabled / elderly residents as there was no clear step free footpath. The costs associated with using the suggested new venue, namely the Westmead Hotel, remained approximately the same. Members therefore supported the Electoral Services and ARO’s comments to move the Polling Station to the Westmead Hotel which had better access.
Catshill NorthCAN – Members were informed that access to the entrance of ... view the full minutes text for item 10/19