Potential Change To Amber Valley Election Cycle

Elections in Amber Valley could now only take place once every four years – saving taxpayers thousands of pounds.
At the moment, a third of members of Amber Valley Borough Council are elected each year – with a fallow year when there is no election.

However, cross-party support has been given to plans to move to a full election of the council once every four years – in line with all other councils in Derbyshire, apart from Derby City Council.

It is said that the move could save £140,000 every four years.

This is because a full cycle of elections in thirds currently costs Amber Valley taxpayers £300,000, but a full election once every four years would cost £160,000.

The authority has now launched a public consultation on the plans, which expires on 18th October 2019.

If the decision to move to whole council elections every four years is approved, the change would come into effect from May 2023.

The consultation documents say that the benefit of having elections every three out of fours years means that a council can be “judged on its performance annually”.

As a result “the electorate has the opportunity to react more quickly to local circumstances and council decisions”.

It also provides more frequent opportunities for potential candidates to compete for a seat on the council and 18-year-olds do not have to wait as long before they can vote.

Meanwhile, the documents list the benefits of whole council elections as follows: The council has a “clear mandate” for four years allowing better long-term planning; it reduces costs; and greater stability with a lower chance of a change in political leadership.

It also says that there is less disruption for schools which are used as polling stations and there is typically a higher level of turnout for whole council elections.

There are currently 99,035 people who are registered to vote in Amber Valley.

This year’s borough election saw a change in political administration from Conservative to Labour.

The make-up of the council is currently: Labour with 25 councillors; Conservatives with 19, and one member of the Green Party.

To take part in the council’s consultation, email a comment to elections@ambervalley.gov.uk

Alternatively, send a letter to:
Executive Director (Resources), Town Hall, Ripley, Derbyshire, DE5 3BT.

Editor’s Correction:  This article originally stated that there are 24 Labour councillors, and 1 independent due to Neil Ploughman being under suspension from the Labour Party.  Nailed has since been informed that Neil Ploughman was reinstated on Friday 9th August 2019.  The article has been corrected and incorrect information removed. 16:09 13/08/2019

Eddie Bisknell (LDRS)

Eddie writes for Nailed through the Local Democracy Reporting Service, in partnership with the BBC. The Local Democracy Reporting Service is a partnership of media outlets sharing reporters to cover council meetings.

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