Council plans one election every four years

Echo: Nigel Holdcroft Nigel Holdcroft

SOUTHEND council will consider holding one election for all seats every four years in a bid to save up to £200,000.

The Tory leadership will reveal plans later this year to elect all councillors together rather than holding elections in three out of every four years.

The shake-up, which could save the council between £140,000 to £200,000, would not be introduced before 2015.

Council leader Nigel Holdcroft said: “The primary reason is that it obviously costs a significant amount of money to run an election in three years out of four.

“By reducing that and having an “all-in” election, particularly if it coincides with a national or European election, will significantly cut costs and make a saving.”

If the election is held at the same time as Parliamentary or European elections, the Government will stump up half of the cost.

My Holdcroft said the proposals, which many other councils already use, would allow the administration in power to work through its plans without facing disruptive elections.

Councillors start campaigning at Christmas before a May election, causing more politically motivated voting and debate.

Election rules prevent councils making announcements about any new or controversial government initiatives in the six-week “purdah” period before an election, limiting their power to act. But four-yearly elections may result in dramatic swings based on national political issues at the time.

Two-thirds of councillors would need to agree the change before it is passed but Mr Holdcroft has had preliminary discussions with councillors over the change.

Comments (9)

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1:33pm Fri 1 Feb 13

al coniston says...

not sure i like this idea - it's bad enough being lumbered with a bumbling baffoon as PM for 4 years . . . i think i'd like a more regular say over who governs (and directly effects me) with respect to local affairs

I don't think this is about saving money, more like ensuring that they protect their bums (thus continuing to milk the system) for a longer period than they can currently
not sure i like this idea - it's bad enough being lumbered with a bumbling baffoon as PM for 4 years . . . i think i'd like a more regular say over who governs (and directly effects me) with respect to local affairs I don't think this is about saving money, more like ensuring that they protect their bums (thus continuing to milk the system) for a longer period than they can currently al coniston
  • Score: 0

2:02pm Fri 1 Feb 13

Jodaius says...

"Mr Holdcroft said the proposals would allow the administration in power to work through its plans without facing disruptive elections." = We want to be able to get on with doing whatever we want to do without the inconvenience of being held accountable to the electorate on a regular basis.

£200,000 is a tiny proportion of the Council's total expenditure, especially if this saving is over a 4 year period (which isn't clear from the story). Well worth it to protect local democracy, in my opinion.
"Mr Holdcroft said the proposals would allow the administration in power to work through its plans without facing disruptive elections." = We want to be able to get on with doing whatever we want to do without the inconvenience of being held accountable to the electorate on a regular basis. £200,000 is a tiny proportion of the Council's total expenditure, especially if this saving is over a 4 year period (which isn't clear from the story). Well worth it to protect local democracy, in my opinion. Jodaius
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2:08pm Fri 1 Feb 13

maxell says...

Agree with above this is just a way to keep your seats longer as I think now there is a general feeling of dispondance with the council and I bet the four years will start from the last man in, lets start it from when crofty was elected, so he has only two or three to go, its about time he retired and move to aus as did meddle how do heads of departments retire so young just about 50 I think.still I suppose its easy on £750 a day I would like to know if the relationship between 750 man and the council if purely proffesional and not some long distant cousin
Agree with above this is just a way to keep your seats longer as I think now there is a general feeling of dispondance with the council and I bet the four years will start from the last man in, lets start it from when crofty was elected, so he has only two or three to go, its about time he retired and move to aus as did meddle how do heads of departments retire so young just about 50 I think.still I suppose its easy on £750 a day I would like to know if the relationship between 750 man and the council if purely proffesional and not some long distant cousin maxell
  • Score: 0

4:12pm Fri 1 Feb 13

jolllyboy says...

Good lord no - hardly democratic is it. stick to three years as is and change some gradually to all being the same year.I do not want to be stuck with the same ones having read how much extra low income WORKERS who normally get council tax rebate will have to pay. So now councillors want to get on with using our money without interuption and we do not have a say between 4 years. NO !
Good lord no - hardly democratic is it. stick to three years as is and change some gradually to all being the same year.I do not want to be stuck with the same ones having read how much extra low income WORKERS who normally get council tax rebate will have to pay. So now councillors want to get on with using our money without interuption and we do not have a say between 4 years. NO ! jolllyboy
  • Score: 0

9:04pm Fri 1 Feb 13

Devils Advocate says...

This would be great, providing they give the people who should be making that kind of decision, MR and MRS Joe Public, the right to kick any councillor who under performs out after a probationary period of 6 months, and also, that they would have to let the people who would live under their power write the rules of democracy instead of themselves, because that plainly was NOT democracy and now they are aiming to make it worse. How long before we all simply have to do as we are told by the self styled "Elite!"
This would be great, providing they give the people who should be making that kind of decision, MR and MRS Joe Public, the right to kick any councillor who under performs out after a probationary period of 6 months, and also, that they would have to let the people who would live under their power write the rules of democracy instead of themselves, because that plainly was NOT democracy and now they are aiming to make it worse. How long before we all simply have to do as we are told by the self styled "Elite!" Devils Advocate
  • Score: 0

9:15pm Fri 1 Feb 13

Cockle says...

No, no, no, no.

Basically what Holdcroft wants is for his party to be allowed to do what it wants for four years without having to worry about the tiresome process of having to answer to the electorate.
The average voter has trouble remembering what their councillor and his/her party has done a year or so in the past let alone four years ago. Be honest here, can you remember which councillors voted in things like City Beach, Victoria Gateway? All things which have happened in the last four years or so. No? Thought not; convenient, eh?
The quadrennial vote system also tends to encourage the domination of the party system to the detriment of individual independent councillors; coincidence here that the Tories have lost control due to the emergence of a strong Independent sector in Southend over recent years? Again, I think not. Regular elections allow Independent candidates to build an electoral base, how many of our Independent councillors were elected at the first time of trying?

Unfortunately, Mr Holdcroft, I think you are trying to take the same tack as your national leaders by dressing up policies and actions which are of benefit to your party and/or supporters as necessary 'in the current economic climate' and 'essential cost cutting measures'. Sadly for you many of us interested in LOCAL democracy are not quite as stupid as many of the national electoral ballot fodder and can see this for exactly what it is, a method of trying to nullify the Independent effect in your local council to the benefit of your party.

Sorry, Mr Holdcroft, we're not as stupid as you might think and on this one you've been rumbled. Thank God your party is in a minority and will have a struggle to get a two-thirds vote as required and get this gerry-mandering measure adopted.
No, no, no, no. Basically what Holdcroft wants is for his party to be allowed to do what it wants for four years without having to worry about the tiresome process of having to answer to the electorate. The average voter has trouble remembering what their councillor and his/her party has done a year or so in the past let alone four years ago. Be honest here, can you remember which councillors voted in things like City Beach, Victoria Gateway? All things which have happened in the last four years or so. No? Thought not; convenient, eh? The quadrennial vote system also tends to encourage the domination of the party system to the detriment of individual independent councillors; coincidence here that the Tories have lost control due to the emergence of a strong Independent sector in Southend over recent years? Again, I think not. Regular elections allow Independent candidates to build an electoral base, how many of our Independent councillors were elected at the first time of trying? Unfortunately, Mr Holdcroft, I think you are trying to take the same tack as your national leaders by dressing up policies and actions which are of benefit to your party and/or supporters as necessary 'in the current economic climate' and 'essential cost cutting measures'. Sadly for you many of us interested in LOCAL democracy are not quite as stupid as many of the national electoral ballot fodder and can see this for exactly what it is, a method of trying to nullify the Independent effect in your local council to the benefit of your party. Sorry, Mr Holdcroft, we're not as stupid as you might think and on this one you've been rumbled. Thank God your party is in a minority and will have a struggle to get a two-thirds vote as required and get this gerry-mandering measure adopted. Cockle
  • Score: 0

12:43am Sat 2 Feb 13

heartbeat says...

This is just opportunistic trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the naive! They are trying to secure their pig troughs at council tax payers' expense for four years at a time and having the nerve to try to dress it up as being for "help the taxpayer" reasons!!

Just how stoooopid do they think we are? I could think of plenty of other ways they could save that money which didnt involve lumbering council taxpayers with even less of a say in the running of things than now! I'm sure there are plenty of suggestions.....
This is just opportunistic trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the naive! They are trying to secure their pig troughs at council tax payers' expense for four years at a time and having the nerve to try to dress it up as being for "help the taxpayer" reasons!! Just how stoooopid do they think we are? I could think of plenty of other ways they could save that money which didnt involve lumbering council taxpayers with even less of a say in the running of things than now! I'm sure there are plenty of suggestions..... heartbeat
  • Score: 0

6:50pm Sat 2 Feb 13

Nebs says...

Have the election every year, make it an internet based ballot only to save the costs of hall hire and staff, and make a computer available at every library for those with no internet access.
Have the election every year, make it an internet based ballot only to save the costs of hall hire and staff, and make a computer available at every library for those with no internet access. Nebs
  • Score: 0

12:39pm Mon 4 Feb 13

perini says...

Nebs wrote:
Have the election every year, make it an internet based ballot only to save the costs of hall hire and staff, and make a computer available at every library for those with no internet access.
I 2nd that!
[quote][p][bold]Nebs[/bold] wrote: Have the election every year, make it an internet based ballot only to save the costs of hall hire and staff, and make a computer available at every library for those with no internet access.[/p][/quote]I 2nd that! perini
  • Score: 0

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