4 How to have your say
- We are consulting on our initial proposals for an eight-week period, from 8 June 2021 to 2 August 2021. We encourage everyone to give us their views on our proposals for their area – the more public responses we receive and the more local information that is provided, the more informed our decisions will be when analysing all the responses we have received.
- On our interactive consultation website, at www.bcereviews.org.uk, you can see what constituency you will be in under our proposals, and compare it with your existing constituency and local government boundaries. You can also easily submit your views on our proposals through that consultation website.
- When making comments on our initial proposals, we ask people to bear in mind the tight constraints placed on the Commission by the rules set by Parliament, discussed in chapter 2 and in our Guide to the 2023 Review. Most importantly, in the Eastern region:
- we cannot recommend constituencies that have electorates that contain more than 77,062 or fewer than 69,724 electors
- we are basing our initial proposals on local government ward boundaries (existing or – where relevant – prospective) as at 1 December 2020 as the building blocks of constituencies – although where there is strong justification for doing so, we will consider dividing a ward between constituencies (see the Guide to the 2023 Review for more detailed information)
- we have constructed constituencies within regions, so as not to cross regional boundaries – very compelling reasons would need to be given to persuade us that we should depart from this approach.
- These issues mean that we encourage people who are making a comment about their local area to bear in mind any consequential effects for neighbouring areas that might result from their suggestions. The Commission must look at the recommendations for new constituencies across the whole region (and, indeed, across England). What may be a better solution for one location may have undesirable consequences for others. We therefore ask everyone wishing to respond to our consultation to bear in mind the impact of their counter-proposals on neighbouring constituencies, and on those further afield across the region.
How can you give us your views?
- Views on our initial proposals should be given to the Commission initially in writing. We encourage everyone who wishes to comment on our proposals in writing to do so through our interactive consultation website11 at www.bcereviews.org.uk – you will find all the details you need and be able to comment directly through the website. The website allows you to explore the map of our proposals and get further data, including the electorate sizes of every ward. You can also upload text or data files you may have previously prepared setting out your views.
- We encourage everyone, before submitting a representation, to read our approach to protecting and using your personal details (available at www.bcereviews.org.uk). As these consultations are very much concerned with a respondent’s sense of place and community, when publishing responses (which the law requires us to do), we will associate the response with the general locality of the respondent’s address, but we will not publish a respondent’s name or detailed address with their response, unless they specifically ask us to do so.
- It is important to stress that all representations, whether they have been made through our website or sent to us in writing, will be given equal consideration by the Commission.
- As noted above, there will be an opportunity to make an oral response to our initial proposals – and comment on the responses of others – during the secondary consultation stage. We will therefore publish further details about these public hearings, and how you can make a contribution to one, closer to the dates of the secondary consultation period.
What do we want views on?
- We would particularly like to ask two things of people responding to our consultation. Firstly, if you support our proposals, please tell us so. Past experience suggests that too often people who are happy with our proposals do not respond in support, while those who object to them do respond to make their points. That can give a distorted view of the balance of public support or objection to proposals, and those who, in fact, support our initial proposals may then be disappointed if those proposals are subsequently revised in light of the consultation responses. Secondly, if you are considering objecting to our proposals, do please use the resources (such as maps and electorate figures) available on our website and at the places of deposit12 to put forward counter‑proposals that are in accordance with the rules to which we are working.
- Above all, however, we encourage everyone to have their say on our initial proposals and, in doing so, to become involved in drawing the map of new Parliamentary constituencies. The more views and information we receive as a result of our initial proposals and through the subsequent consultation phases, the more informed our consideration in developing those proposals will be, and the better we will be able to reflect the public’s views in the final recommendations that we present in 2023.
11 Our website has been designed to maximise accessibility for all users, in line with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.
12 The legislation requires our proposals to be made available in at least one ‘place of deposit’ open to the public in each proposed constituency. A list of these places of deposit is published on our website.