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Contact: Jonathan Goodrum, Senior Governance Officer. Tel. 01302 736709
Declarations of Interest, if any.
There were no declarations reported at the meeting.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 10th July 2018 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
With regard to minute number 4 (Election Results), the Chair confirmed that a request had been made for a Member Seminar to be arranged in due course on the subject of Neighbourhood Development Plans.
The Electoral Services Manager advised, with regard to minute number 5 (Individual Electoral Registration – Progress Report), that a breakdown detailing the proportion of postal voters in each Ward in the Borough would be provided at the Committee’s next meeting.
The Committee received a report which provided a detailed update on the results of the Sprotbrough and Cusworth Parish Council – East Ward By-Election, Askern Town Council By-Election and the Armthorpe Neighbourhood Planning Referendum all held on Thursday 20th September 2018.
Armthorpe Neighbourhood Planning Referendum
The Electoral Services Manager summarised the results of the Armthorpe Neighbourhood Planning Referendum held on 20th September 2018, including the level of turnout. A full breakdown of the results was set out in Appendix A of the report. The Chair stated that it appeared from the figures in the report that this had been the highest turnout of voters to date for a Neighbourhood Planning Referendum.
In answer to a question, the Electoral Services Manager confirmed that the costs of holding Neighbourhood Planning Referendums were charged back to the Regeneration and Environment Directorate who, in turn, were able to claim back the costs from Central Government.
Sprotbrough and Cusworth Parish Council – East Ward
The Electoral Services Manager summarised the results of the By-Election held on 20th September 2018 to fill a vacancy for a Parish Councillor in the Sprotbrough and Cusworth East Ward. A full breakdown of the results was set out in Appendix B of the report. It was noted that the costs of this election would be charged to the Parish Council.
In response to a query, the Electoral Services Manager confirmed that, in the case of rejected postal votes, the postal voters were contacted and provided with an explanation as to why their postal vote had been rejected. Voters were also offered the opportunity, if they wished, to come to the Civic Office and inspect their rejected postal vote statement, so that they could see why the rejection had been made.
Askern Town Council
The Committee noted that a vacancy advertised and called by ten electors for Askern Town Council had received only one nomination, therefore the election was uncontested and consequently, the candidate was automatically elected.
It was noted that two further by-elections to fill vacancies on Askern Town Council and Sprotbrough and Cusworth Parish Council (Cusworth Ward) were due to be held on Thursday 6th December 2018. In addition, Members noted that one further potential by-election might be required to fill a vacancy that had recently arisen on Bawtry Town Council, if contested. The date of this by-election, if required, would be Thursday 10th January 2019.
In answer to a question as regards what would happen if a Parish Council ran out of money to cover the costs of holding a by-election, the Assistant Director of Legal and Democratic Services explained that, in that particular scenario, he would expect the Parish Council to meet the costs from its reserves, and then consider recouping the money when it next reviewed its precept level.
RESOLVED to note the contents of the report.
The Committee received a report from the Electoral Services Manager providing Members with an update on a number of key work streams being undertaken by the Electoral Services Team in relation to the Register of Electors and Annual Canvass. The report included, at Appendix A, a full breakdown of the responses received to the Household Enquiry Form (HEF) by return method in this year’s annual canvass in comparison to 2015 – 2017 inclusive. An updated version of this Appendix containing the very latest return statistics for this year’s canvass was tabled at the meeting for Members’ information.
In presenting the report, the Electoral Services Manager updated Members on the progress of the annual canvass, and outlined how the Electoral Services Team was being proactive to help increase the response rate by way of:-
During subsequent discussion, the Officers answered questions and Members made comments/observations on a range of issues including the following:-
· Members were pleased to note the large increase in the number of attainers on the Register achieved during this year’s canvass, and noted that this was largely due to closer working with schools and colleges to raise awareness, particularly through their social media links.