Frequently asked questions
Why has work on the 2013 Review ended now before submission of the final report?
In January 2013, Parliament voted to end work on the 2013 Review, postponing the report of a first Review under the new statutory rules until 2018. The reasons for this decision were set out during the debates on the relevant amendment to the (then) Electoral Registration and Administration Bill. Those debates can be read in the Official Record on the Parliament website (www.parliament.uk), the relevant dates being 14 January 2013 for the House of Lords and 29 January 2013 for the House of Commons.
How much has been spent on the 2013 Review?
As at the end of December 2012, the 2013 Review had cost the Boundary Commission for England £4.7 million. This contrasts with the £6.2 million that had originally been budgeted for the cost of the Review in England over the same time period and the £7.5 million that had been allocated for the entire life of the review.
Will the views I have submitted during this Review be taken into account in the next Review?
No. The next review will be based on new, initial, proposals and you will be invited to comment on these.
Will the representations submitted during this Review be available to the public, even though work on this Review has ended?
Yes. The representations from the initial and secondary consultation periods have already been published, and those from the revised consultation period will be made available in due course.
Can’t you just hold onto the final report you are already working on and submit it in five years time?
No. The Act of Parliament that governs the conduct of a Parliamentary Boundary Review requires the electoral register data used in it to be that in force two years and ten months before the date by which the final report of the Review is required to be submitted. The 2013 Review has therefore been conducted on the basis of electoral registers as at 1 December 2010, but the next Review – required to report by 1 October 2018 – will need to use electoral register data as at 1 December 2015.
Will the Commission be undertaking any reviews to realign ward and constituency boundaries before the next General Election?
No. The Commission does not have the power to undertake any such reviews, outside of a general review of all parliamentary constituency boundaries. There will, therefore, be no changes to parliamentary constituency boundaries before the next General Election in May 2015.
About the review
Why is a review being carried out?
The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 requires the four Boundary Commissions for the UK to undertake a review of constituencies and to submit final reports to the Secretary of State before 1 October 2013.
How is the Review being carried out?
We must follow the statutory rules set out in the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011. These rules have been significantly changed since the last review and will mean substantial changes to Parliamentary constituencies in England. These include:
- reducing the total number of constituencies from 533 to 502; and
- making sure that each constituency contains a similar number of registered electors.
What will be the impact of the new rules?
The new stricter limits on the size of the electorate in each constituency and the reduction in the number of seats will mean that the majority of existing constituencies are likely to have to change to some extent. It also means fewer options for creating constituencies than in previous reviews.
How do you work out the boundaries?
We first calculate the electoral quota. This is the number of registered electors in the UK divided by the number of constituencies (not including four exempt constituencies – please see A guide to the 2013 Review for more details on how the electoral quota is worked out). The current electoral quota is 76,641. Every constituency in England – except two covering the Isle of Wight – must have a number of registered electors within 5% of this figure.
Using this quota, we allocate the specified number of constituencies among the nine regions of England. However, within the regions it has not always been possible to propose whole numbers of constituencies to individual counties or local authorities.
In such cases, we looked at whether, and how, local authorities could be grouped into sub-regions. Where we could, we sought to respect their external boundaries and achieve obvious practical groupings. However, in some areas we have had to propose constituencies that cross county or unitary authority boundaries.
In our initial proposals, we have used wards as the smallest unit when creating constituencies. We do not consider that it would be appropriate to divide wards, in the absence of exceptional and compelling circumstances.
What figures are you using in your calculations?
We have published electoral statistics which give detailed information about the figures for electorate numbers that we are using.
Maps which show current constituencies and wards are available from Ordnance Survey’s election maps website.
How much will the 2013 Review cost?
The Government has estimated that the cost of undertaking the 2013 Review in England will be £7.5 million. The cost of the last general review of parliamentary constituencies in England was approximately £10.8 million.
When will you finish the Review?
The Review will finish when the final report of the Commission’s recommendations is provided to the Secretary of State. The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 specifies that this must happen by 1 October 2013.
The consultation on initial proposals – closed
Can I comment on the initial proposals?
The consultation on the initial proposals ran for 12 weeks from 13 September to 5 December 2011 and included people writing in with their views or giving them at public hearings which were held across all nine English regions between October and November 2011. All the comments from this consultation were published in March 2012 as part of the secondary consultation.
What will you do with my comments?
These were published on this website in March 2012
How many responses did you receive to the initial consultation?
During the initial consultation period, we received over 22,000 unique written representations on our initial proposals, plus several thousand more letters written with a standard text and a large number of petitions. In addition, over 1,100 oral representations were made during the course of the 36 public hearings we held across England. As we have stated previously, we give equal consideration to representations made orally or in writing.
Can I view other people’s comments on the initial proposals?
Yes you can view them from the Representations page . You can either browse all the representations received or, if you are looking for a particular representation, you can search by one or more of the following filters:
- The reference number that was allocated to the representation by us
- The surname of the person submitting the representation
- Whether it was a written representation, or an oral representation at a public hearing
- If it is the official representation of a qualifying political party (as defined in the legislation)
- The status of the person making the representation (if written), e.g. MP, Councillor, public
- The date and location (if made at a public hearing)
What was the purpose of the secondary consultation?
The purpose of the secondary consultation was to provide an opportunity to see what had been said about our proposals by others during the ‘initial consultation period’ (which was between 13 September and 5 December 2011), and to let us know the extent to which you disagreed with or supported any of those earlier representations made by others.
The complete package of responses to our initial proposals and subsequent comments on those responses from the secondary consultation period were considered together in the process of deciding the extent to which our initial proposals needed to be revised.
Can I comment on people’s responses to the initial proposals?
All the representations received on the initial proposals were published on 6 March 2012 which initiated a second consultation that ran from 6 March until 3 April 2012, this gave people the opportunity to comment on what had been said.
What happened to my comments from the secondary consultation?
If you submitted any comments these have now been published and you can find them on the Representations page.
How many responses did you receive?
We received over 5,000 unique written representations for the secondary consultation.
Can I view other people’s comments?
Yes you can the Representations page
What was the purpose of the revised proposals consultation?
The purpose of this consultation was to let people see the extent to which our initial proposals for new constituency boundaries in England had been revised to take into account all views expressed in response to those earlier initial proposals. This was the last chance in the current Review for people to contribute, by telling us whether they agreed or disagreed with our revised proposals (and if they disagreed, how they would want them changed). We are considering all the responses to this consultation to see whether any final amendments to the proposals are justified, before we finalise our recommendations and formally submit them to the Government in 2013.
Can I comment on the revised proposals?
No, the consultation is now closed. You had the opportunity to comment on the revised proposals for an eight week period that ran from 16 October to 10 December 2012. This consultation was the last one of this review.
What will happen to my comments on the revised proposals?
All the responses we received will be published at the same time as the final report. All your views will be taken into consideration. The shape of the new constituency boundaries will be informed by your comments before the Commission makes its final recommendations to the Secretary of State by 1 October 2013.
How many responses did you receive?
We are currently processing the responses and will be able to give an accurate figure shortly.
Can I view other people’s comments on the revised proposals?
We will publish all other people’s comments at the same time as the final report, in Autumn 2013.
What happens next?
Now that we have completed all the consultation phases, we will be considering all the responses and will make our final recommendations to Government. We must do this by 1 October 2013.
Will my MP or constituency be affected by the boundary changes?
The new rules mean that there must be 600 constituencies in the UK, as opposed to 650 previously. This means the number of constituencies in England will be reduced by 31, from 533 to 502. We must also ensure that each constituency has a similar number of registered electors.
Both of these factors mean that there will be some changes to the majority of the existing constituencies. You can view maps of the proposed new constituencies by going to the What’s proposed page and choosing your county from the menu of regions.
Will the boundary changes have an impact on my council tax, local services or insurance premiums?
No. The boundary changes only relate to Parliamentary constituencies. Services and council tax charges in your local area are set by your local authority and these will not be affected. Insurance premium calculations are based on postcode so will not be affected.
Will recent ward changes be taken into account during this Review?
Under statutory rules, the Commission can only take into account local government boundaries as they were at the most recent ordinary council elections before the ‘review date’. The 2013 Review date is 1 December 2010, so we may only consider ward boundaries that were in place on 6 May 2010 – the last election date. However, in the limited circumstances (if any) where we have to consider whether we should divide a ward (as it existed on 6 May 2010) between constituencies in order to meet the statutory electorate range, and if so how it should be divided, we are prepared to take into account as appropriate any new ward boundaries introduced after 6 May 2010.
Is the Boundary Commission responsible for ward boundaries?
No, we not are responsible for ward boundaries. While we use wards as the building blocks for constituencies, we do not create them. The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is responsible for ward boundaries.
How many electors will there be in my constituency?
The electoral quota is 76,641 to the nearest whole number. The electoral quota is established by taking the number of the electorate of the UK (45,678,175) and dividing it by 596 (this excludes four constituencies, two in Scotland and two for the Isle of Wight, that have been made special cases in the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011).
Every other constituency the Commission recommends must fall within 5% of the electoral quota. This means the largest constituency electorate permissible is 80,473 and the smallest constituency electorate permissible is 72,810.