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OIC’s views sought on electoral arrangements

A consultation is asking for the council’s views proposed changes on electoral arrangements in Scotland’s islands groups.

A consultation has begun, asking councils representing Scotland’s three islands areas for their views on electoral arrangements.

The exercise is being carried out by the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland, with the information gathered provided by Orkney Islands Council, Shetland Islands Council and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, to be used as part of a wider review of electoral arrangements. A public consultation is to follow later this year

The consultation contains proposals around the use of one of two member wards, where a ward includes an inhabited island — an option made available under new islands legislation — as well as looking at the boundaries of wards.

As part of the review, the public’s views will be asked for this summer.

Responding to the launch of the consultation, a spokeswoman for Orkney Islands Council explained that, the commission are not recommending changes to the number of councillors but have proposed some changes to ward boundaries. Representatives from the commission are due to come to Orkney next month to discuss the proposals.

Speaking yesterday, Ronnie Hinds, chairman of the commission, said: “We are pleased to begin our consultation on electoral arrangements with the three councils today and I look forward to engaging with them on our proposals.

“It is important that electoral arrangements for Scottish councils are effective and that our proposals deliver on requirements for electoral parity and, as far as possible, take account of local ties and special geographical considerations.

“We also welcome the flexibility offered by the Islands (Scotland) Act to use one or two member wards and have used this flexibility as appropriate in our proposals. After completion of our consultation with councils we will be seeking public views on our proposals over the summer.”

The 2019 Review of Electoral Arrangements will make proposals for the six council areas specified in the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 – Argyll and Bute, Highland, North Ayrshire, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands.

The commission is conducting the review in two phases, focusing firstly on Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands, with the reviews of  Argyll and Bute, Highland and North Ayrshire to take place after the public consultation in the islands groups takes place.

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