Election Cycle Consultation 2023

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Consultation has concluded, thank you for your feedback.  Further submissions will not be counted.

Ballot box for voting

In 2024, the Local Government Boundary Commission is due to carry out a ward boundary review of Southend-on-Sea City Council. The review will make sure councillors represent roughly the same number of people eligible to vote in each ward. The local election that follows the review will require all councillors to be elected at the same time (in a whole council election).

We would like your views on whether to revert to voting for councillors in thirds or whether you would prefer to permanently change to vote for all councillors once every four years (this cycle is also known as ‘whole-Council elections or ‘all-out’).

The change would see the whole council elected at the same time at one election every four years. 

The consultation will run from

Monday 13th November till 5pm Monday 15th January 2024.

Election Cycle Survey

This is not a referendum. Your views and the results of the consultation are advisory in nature. They will, however, provide clear evidence of the public views, which your councillors will take into account.

You can tell us your views by completing an online survey or a paper survey in one of Southend’s libraries, before 5pm on 15th January 2024.

Other ways to take part:

Call: 01702 212969

Write to: Southend-on-Sea City Council, Team name, PO Box 6, Civic Centre, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, SS2 6ER.

Please contact us for alternative formats.

Southend-on-Sea City Council is currently made up of 51 elected councillors. Councillors represent 17 wards across the city. If you are registered to vote, you will be invited to take part in the elections to vote for your local ward councillor.

Currently, one third of councillors are elected each year (one per ward). This is repeated over three years, with a fallow year in the fourth year (a fallow year is when no election takes place).

Over 75% of unitary councils (Southend-on-Sea City Council is a unitary council) in England hold elections once every four years. Since 2003, 31% of councils have changed to elections once every four years.

In October 2022, the Local Government Association and peers from other councils made several recommendations to Southend-on-Sea City Council to help us to continuously improve our services. They recommended that we consider changing the election cycle from ‘thirds’ to once every four years.

Arguments in support of Whole Council Elections (once every four years)

  • Choosing all councillors once every four years provides more stability. Councillors are more able to concentrate on setting and delivering longer-term plans as they do not need to focus on regular election campaigning.
  • Changing local elections to once every four years is simpler to remember and understand.  This means you'll have the same councillors for a four-year period without frequent turnover. This might encourage more people to participate by voting in local elections and offer a clearer chance to alter the political makeup of the council once every four years. 
  • Having whole council elections every four years, rather than smaller elections three out of four years, would be more cost-effective for taxpayers. It would also cause less disruption for public buildings, like schools, used as polling stations. Additionally, this approach would have a smaller environmental impact, such as reducing the need for printed materials.

Arguments in support of Elections in Thirds

  • These elections give you more frequent chances to vote and have a say in who is in charge of the Council. This means there is a more consistent way for you to hold politicians accountable, and it also gives a more current representation of what the local community thinks.
  • Electing by thirds means that there is a consistent presence of councillors over time. Whilst allowing for a regular introduction of new councillors who can bring in fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the Council. As well as allowing people who want to stand to be a councillor the opportunity to stand for election and not wait up to four years for the next opportunity.
  • When you vote for one councillor at a time in "elections by thirds," it's a straightforward process that most voters easily grasp. However, if you vote for two or more councillors at once in "whole council elections," it might lead to confusion for some people.

Please note no other elections will be affected by any future change to Southend-on-Sea City Council’s electoral cycle. Parliamentary; Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner; Leigh Town Council elections will continue on their normal electoral cycle.

In 2024, the Local Government Boundary Commission is due to carry out a ward boundary review of Southend-on-Sea City Council. The review will make sure councillors represent roughly the same number of people eligible to vote in each ward. The local election that follows the review will require all councillors to be elected at the same time (in a whole council election).

We would like your views on whether to revert to voting for councillors in thirds or whether you would prefer to permanently change to vote for all councillors once every four years (this cycle is also known as ‘whole-Council elections or ‘all-out’).

The change would see the whole council elected at the same time at one election every four years. 

The consultation will run from

Monday 13th November till 5pm Monday 15th January 2024.

Election Cycle Survey

This is not a referendum. Your views and the results of the consultation are advisory in nature. They will, however, provide clear evidence of the public views, which your councillors will take into account.

You can tell us your views by completing an online survey or a paper survey in one of Southend’s libraries, before 5pm on 15th January 2024.

Other ways to take part:

Call: 01702 212969

Write to: Southend-on-Sea City Council, Team name, PO Box 6, Civic Centre, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, SS2 6ER.

Please contact us for alternative formats.

Southend-on-Sea City Council is currently made up of 51 elected councillors. Councillors represent 17 wards across the city. If you are registered to vote, you will be invited to take part in the elections to vote for your local ward councillor.

Currently, one third of councillors are elected each year (one per ward). This is repeated over three years, with a fallow year in the fourth year (a fallow year is when no election takes place).

Over 75% of unitary councils (Southend-on-Sea City Council is a unitary council) in England hold elections once every four years. Since 2003, 31% of councils have changed to elections once every four years.

In October 2022, the Local Government Association and peers from other councils made several recommendations to Southend-on-Sea City Council to help us to continuously improve our services. They recommended that we consider changing the election cycle from ‘thirds’ to once every four years.

Arguments in support of Whole Council Elections (once every four years)

  • Choosing all councillors once every four years provides more stability. Councillors are more able to concentrate on setting and delivering longer-term plans as they do not need to focus on regular election campaigning.
  • Changing local elections to once every four years is simpler to remember and understand.  This means you'll have the same councillors for a four-year period without frequent turnover. This might encourage more people to participate by voting in local elections and offer a clearer chance to alter the political makeup of the council once every four years. 
  • Having whole council elections every four years, rather than smaller elections three out of four years, would be more cost-effective for taxpayers. It would also cause less disruption for public buildings, like schools, used as polling stations. Additionally, this approach would have a smaller environmental impact, such as reducing the need for printed materials.

Arguments in support of Elections in Thirds

  • These elections give you more frequent chances to vote and have a say in who is in charge of the Council. This means there is a more consistent way for you to hold politicians accountable, and it also gives a more current representation of what the local community thinks.
  • Electing by thirds means that there is a consistent presence of councillors over time. Whilst allowing for a regular introduction of new councillors who can bring in fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the Council. As well as allowing people who want to stand to be a councillor the opportunity to stand for election and not wait up to four years for the next opportunity.
  • When you vote for one councillor at a time in "elections by thirds," it's a straightforward process that most voters easily grasp. However, if you vote for two or more councillors at once in "whole council elections," it might lead to confusion for some people.

Please note no other elections will be affected by any future change to Southend-on-Sea City Council’s electoral cycle. Parliamentary; Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner; Leigh Town Council elections will continue on their normal electoral cycle.

  • Having considered the advantages and disadvantages of changing the election cycle from electing one third of councillors at a time (‘in thirds’) to electing councillors once every four years, please tell us your views:



    Consultation has concluded, thank you for your feedback.  Further submissions will not be counted.

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