Section 18 – Conduct of initial review
38.Section 18 makes provision for the conduct of an initial review of a proposed principal area by the Commission. When undertaking an initial review the Commission must seek to ensure effective and convenient local government, and directions and guidance issued under section 17 may specify what this means in practice.
39.In conducting an initial review, the Commission must aim to ensure that the ratio of local government electors to elected members for a proposed principal area is, as much as possible, the same in every electoral ward of the proposed principal area, resulting in each elected member representing the same number of electors. The Commission is also required to have regard to the desirability of fixing electoral ward boundaries which are and will remain easily identifiable, and of not breaking existing local ties when fixing those boundaries. Differences in the number of eligible electors and the actual number of persons registered to vote, along with any likely change in the number or distribution of local government electors (as defined in subsection (9)) within a proposed principal area that is likely to take place within 5 years of the recommendations of the report being published, must also be taken into account by the Commission.
40.If the Commission considers that “relevant consequential changes” (addressed above in relation to section 16) are appropriate in relation to communities which will be in the area of the proposed principle area, it must take account of considerations similar to those which apply in relation to its review of arrangements at the principal area level. The considerations in respect of such consequential changes are set out in subsections (5) to (8) of section 18.