William Eichler 18 November 2019

Welsh teenagers set to get the vote in local government ‘overhaul’

Welsh teenagers set to get the vote in local government ‘overhaul’ image

A new law to give 16- and 17-year-olds in Wales the vote in local council elections has been unveiled by the Welsh government.

The Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill, which is due to be introduced before the National Assembly for Wales today, provides for the establishment of a reformed legislative framework for local government elections, democracy, performance and governance.

As well as giving the vote to 16- and 17-year-olds, the Bill also aims to empower Wales’ 22 principal councils to decide for themselves which voting system to use – First Past the Post (FPTP) or Single Transferable Vote (STV).

Described as the ‘biggest change’ in the Welsh electoral system for 50 years, the Bill will enable job sharing in the council executive and help councillors to remotely attend council meetings and have periods of family absence.

Principal councils will also be allowed to merge voluntarily.

‘We believe in strong local government,’ said the minister for housing and local government Julie James, who will introduce the Bill to the National Assembly later today.

‘We want it to thrive, we want the people of Wales to feel well-represented and supported by modern public services, and we want the relationship between local government and the Welsh government to be mature and focused on our shared agenda – delivering better public services for everyone, helping people who need support, when and where they need it most.’

The Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill will also enable councils to pilot reforms to local government elections, such as holding elections on different days and having polling stations in different places, after 2022.

Local government will move to fixed five-year terms between elections and all foreign citizens lawfully living in Wales will have the opportunity to vote in and stand in local elections.

Electoral Registration Officers will also be granted the power to automatically add people to the electoral register.

‘This bill is introduced at a time when austerity continues, and relationships and technology are changing the way public services interact with each other, and with the communities they serve,’ said Ms James.

‘So 20 years on from devolution, this is a significant Local Government Bill which reflects the journey of devolution and will deliver a major package of reforms, including local government electoral reform.

‘It aims to provide local government with new ways to support and serve their communities in these challenging times, while reinvigorating local democracy here in Wales.’

Safely into school image

Safely into school

How many plans can be made when it comes to transport to education settings? Liz Davidson reports.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

SEND Operations Assistant

Essex County Council
Up to £12.02 per hour
The SEND Operations Assistant provides administration and support to the statutory SEND processes such as the Annual Review Process, in particular at phase transfer, as well as providing a triage service for all contacts received by the SEND Operations Te England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Relief Resource Centre Worker - Nidderdale Children's Resource Centre - Award Winning Team

North Yorkshire County Council
The role of Relief Resource Centre Worker is invaluable, rewarding, complex and challenging; you will play an... Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Specialist Teacher

Birmingham City Council
Main/ Upper Pay Scale + up to full SEN Allowance
This exciting opportunity will be to join a well-established team supporting children and young people with communication and... Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: Birmingham City Council

People Analytics / Workforce Planning Lead

Essex County Council
Job Purpose This role will be responsible for carrying out data extraction, manipulation, research, analysis, and interpretation of data to provide me England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Building Surveyor

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£39774 - £42684 per annum + Essential Car Allowance
Hi All, I'm currently recruiting for this position. Please click on the job title below to view the Job Description and apply to it! England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue