Currently, residents in Derby vote in ‘thirds’ at local elections.
This means local elections are held three times across a four year cycle, with 17 out of 51 council seats contested at each election.
Now, however, Derby City Council is asking residents and businesses for their views on changing this system so that the whole council is contested simultaneously, once every four years.
A spokesperson explained: “We are considering adopting a ‘whole council elections’ model, whereby one local election would be held every four years where all 51 seats are contested.
“There would be no other local elections during the intervening period, unless a by-election was required for a councillor resignation, retirement or other reason.”
If approved, the new system would begin in 2022.
Derby City Council previously consulted on adopting this system in 2016. Despite public support at the time, the motion did not receive the necessary two-thirds backing of councillors.
Since then, however, the council has changed significantly – with entirely different political and administrative leadership.
As a result, a resolution was made by councillors in November 2019 to revisit the decision.
As next year is a ‘fallow year’ under the current model, local elections will not be held in 2021 and therefore now is a logical time for any change to be considered.
If councillors approve the switch, the 2020 local elections this May will take place as normal (using the present election by thirds system) and then the council would have two years to prepare for its first whole council election in 2022.
There are 55 unitary authorities like Derby across England and the city is one of 17 which currently uses the elections by thirds model.
The remaining 38 councils use the whole council elections model.
So, what do you think about the proposed change?
Derby City Council would like to hear your views and a consultation will be open for residents and businesses until Monday 23rd March 2020.
Responses will be used to help councillors decide whether to continue using the current model or to introduce the new model.
Your questions answered…
What will happen next?
There will be a special council meeting to consider the proposal. At this meeting, if a two-thirds majority of councillors support a change to the election cycle then the motion will be passed and Derby will move to a system of whole council elections every four years.
What if they decide to change the system?
If the council opts to change to whole council elections, these would take place first of all in 2022 and then every four years after that.
What if they decide to keep the existing system?
If the current system is retained, there would be the usual ‘fallow’ year without elections in 2021 followed by elections in 2022, 2023 and 2024 (and so on, under that system).
How do I have my say?
You can take part in the consultation by Elections cycle consultation page on the Derby City Council website.