The map of Hull Council’s wards are in the process of changing, Sarah Oughtibridge has been looking at what is happening and what it actually means for the people of the city.
The plan to change Hull City Council wards is entering the final stages of negotiations.
Between October 2016 and August 2017 three rounds of negotiations took place allowing both political parties and individuals the chance to make proposals for the change.
The outcome was an agreed reduction in the number of wards from 23 to 21, and a reduction in the number of Councillors from 59 to 57.
In a previous article Sarah looked into the final round of public consultations on polling districts.
The next stage is for the proposals to go before parliament for final approval.
Leader of the Council Stephen Brady said: ‘The Local Government Boundary Commission have made some significant recommendations regarding the wards in the city which are largely, but not wholly, based upon proposals drawn up by the Labour Group on Hull City Council’.
The video below shows the three phases boundary change process in Hull
This makes sense if you are familiar with local politics, but for the everyday Jackie or Joe on the street what does it all mean?
Every town and city across the United Kingdom is broken down into council wards.
‘A division or district of a city or town, as for administrative or political purposes’
Each ward is usually the same size and allocated three councillors, except in mixed urban and rural locations where there may only be one or two.
The councillor’s role is to represent that area within the council. They are in many respects a performer who spins plates. Each plate is a different section of the community: residents, businesses, and community groups. There is also the political party to which they belong, and the council. Each of these entities is a plate and in-order to keep each spinning there are tweaks and adjustments which need to be made. If one was to fall the result could be a knock-on effect from one to the other each landing in a broken mess on the floor.
When proposing changes it was important for the council to demonstrate to Parliament that ‘a good balance between community identity and electoral equality’ and been taken into account.
In other word’s the council need to show that they recognise that Hull is becoming more and more diverse in its communities, and each has its own identity. This need to be carefully balanced with the number of people in an area that are able to vote.
Like the councillor’s who spin the plates, the City Council leaders are also playing a balancing game but this time it’s even more tricky. They have a set amount of resources which need to be shared between the ward, and the trick is to get the balance right. Some area’s need help with housing, some need help with crime, whilst for others its the roads or community projects.
By reducing the number of councillors that wages bill will be eased allowing that extra money to be re-allocated to other area’s which may be the little extra they need to help increase a much needed service.