Legislation has established the Boundary Commission for England to keep under review the boundaries of Parliamentary constituencies in England. There are separate Commissions that review the Parliamentary constituencies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There is also a separate body that reviews local government boundaries in England.
Parliamentary Boundary Commissions are ‘arms length’ public bodies. This means they are ‘sponsored’ by a UK Government department (in our case, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities), but are outside of direct Ministerial control. The sponsor department provides funding and other resources (staff, accommodation, IT infrastructure, and often other ‘back office’ support), and monitors that those resources are being utilised appropriately and efficiently. However, Government Ministers and officials have no direct input or control over the substantive work of the Commissioners in the reviewing of constituencies and development of proposals and recommendations for change: decisions on those matters are taken by the independent Commissioners, working within a legislative framework of rules established by Parliament.
The Chair of the Commission is the Speaker of the House of Commons, but by convention he or she does not participate in the conduct of a constituencies review or formulation of the Commission’s recommendations.
The Deputy Chair therefore leads the Commission in the conduct of the review. The Deputy Chair must be a serving Judge of the High Court, and is selected and appointed by the Lord Chancellor. The Deputy Chair is supported by two other Commissioners, whose appointments are made following an open public appointments selection process.
You can read more about the Commissioners and their meetings.
At the request of the Commission, the Secretary of State has appointed 18 Assistant Commissioners to assist in the conduct of the 2023 Boundary Review. You can find more information about the Assistant Commissioners here.
The Commission is supported by a small team of civil servants provided by the Cabinet Office and led by the Secretary to the Commission. You can read more about the Commission’s corporate governance arrangements.
Read more about our progress report on the 2023 Boundary Review here.