Council by-elections to be abolished?

The Councillors Commission, chaired by the former Labour leader of Camden Council (Jane Roberts),ย is due to report to the Government on Monday and leaks to the media suggest some highly controversial proposals will be included.

The media coverage has led on proposals to significantly increase the money paid to councillors.

But in the leaks are two other hot potatoes: the suggestion that council by-elections should be axed (and instead any vacancies filled from a list of names) and the suggestion that term-limits should be introduced for local government elections.

The Commission was set up following the Government’s local government White Paper, which said there would be:

an independent review of the incentives and barriers to serving on councils.

Councillors should be supported in their contributions and service to their communities, not face disincentives to taking on the role.

The review will look at a range of issues, including the extent to which finding it difficult to get time off work discourages people from becoming councillors or serving in cabinets, the time commitments expected of councillors and cabinet members and allowances.

You can see the list of its members on the Councillors Commission website; they included three Labour politicians, one Conservative and one Liberal Democrat (Cathy Bakewell) alongside some independent members.

UPDATE: The Observer‘s coverageย includes other proposals from the report: encouraging people to vote by giving voters free entry into a lottery, lowering the voting age to 16 and “Encouraging participation with ‘political speed-dating'”.


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