The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) has published details of its plans for the Parliamentary boundary review slated to be conducted ahead of the scheduled 2020 general election:
24 February 2016
The 2018 review had formally launched, with announcement of the relevant figures (number of constituencies for each part of the UK, the electoral quota figure and the minimum and maximum permitted constituency electorates).
Publication of the ‘Guide to the review’ containing BCE’s policies and procedures for the review.
September – December 2016
12-week consultation on BCE’s initial proposals. The aim was to publish in between summer recess and the party conference season.
Four-week secondary consultation (on responses received to initial consultation).
October – December 2017
Eight-week consultation on BCEs revised proposals.
Publication of final report and recommendations to Government.
This is the timetable for England. The separate Boundary Commissions for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales all set their own timetables although they all have to reach the end point at nearly the same time given that their proposals are then combined into one piece of legislation.
The other important detail to note is the continuing move away from using local council wards as the basic building blocks for the boundary process:
The BCE was very conscious of the criticism generated from the last review, when it had a very restrictive approach to splitting of wards. It therefore proposed to be more open to the possibility of ward splitting at this review, although wards would remain the default building block of constituencies, and whole wards would be used as very much the ideal. If wards were to be split, BCE proposed to use polling districts as a recognised sub-ward unit of electoral administration. It did not propose to consider splitting a polling district. Polling district electorate data would be made available on BCE’s website, but only alongside the published initial proposals.
Hat tip: Tom Smithard.