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Annual Report 2019-20

Annual Report of the Boundary Commission for England, for the financial year 2019-20

Foreword from the Deputy Chair

I am very pleased to open this formal report of the Commission’s activities during the financial year 2019-20, having been appointed to the position of Deputy Chair of the Commission shortly after the end of the year in question.

I should first like to pay tribute to my predecessor, Sir Andrew Nicol. Though I
had no personal experience of his work with the Commission during his time as
Deputy Chair, the staff and Commissioners greatly valued his contributions, not
least in steering the Commission through the bulk of the last constituencies
Review, after taking on the role mid-project in difficult circumstances. I am
privileged to be following him.

The 2019-20 year has been the second of the ‘fallow’ years for the Commission
under the current legislative framework, which sees a constituencies Review
conducted every five years, in each case taking the best part of three years to
deliver (if one includes the preparatory scaling up and post-report winding down activities). The year has therefore been a very quiet one, with a skeleton staff maintaining the basic tasks of collating, checking and publishing the annual data on how Parliamentary constituency electorates change year to year, together with general administrative and governance activities. The main interest therefore lies in the latter part of the 2019-20 year, and the outline objectives set out for the current year, as we begin to plan, procure and recruit for the next constituencies Review, scheduled to commence around the end of 2020.

Adding challenge to the planning and preparation for that next Review is the
Government’s introduction of a new Parliamentary Constituencies Bill, currently being debated in Parliament. Ultimately, the Bill would result in the
recommendations of the 2018 Review not being implemented, as it would
change key aspects of how the next constituencies Review is to be conducted.
As drafted, the Bill changes the total number of constituencies for the UK, the
number of ‘protected’ seats, and the time allowed for delivery of the next Review.

Only once the legislative landscape is settled, shall we know the parameters
within which we must work in the coming Review.

Sir Peter Lane
Deputy Chair
17 September 2020

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