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Annual Report 2020/21

Foreword from the Deputy Chair

The bulk of the 2020/21 year has been spent preparing for the formal launch of the 2023 Review of Parliamentary constituencies. This preparation phase culminated with our announcement in January 2021 of the formal start of that review process, as the electorates and consequential number of constituencies to be allocated across the UK were confirmed.

Whilst making our preparations, we watched with interest the progress onto the statute book of the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 2020, which made several changes to our work and the way we undertake it. In particular, the fact that public hearings will now take place in the secondary consultation period allows us to reflect on the best locations for those hearings, in the light of responses received during the initial consultation period. The 2020 Act also makes new provision for how the Commission’s recommendations
will be implemented, with the report containing the final recommendations now being submitted to the Speaker of the House of Commons, rather than to Government.

Another effect of the 2020 Act is that the timescale for the 2023 Review is shorter than it will be for future reviews. This meant we were keen to publish our initial proposals for new constituency boundaries and names in early summer 2020. We achieved that aim.

Both I and my fellow Commissioners are extremely proud of the way in which the Commission’s Secretariat (led by Tim Bowden and, prior to August 2020, Anthony Bellringer) has responded to the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. These included developing new ways of working and of disseminating our consultation materials.

The Commission’s progress has been greatly facilitated by robust IT software to support homeworking, a comprehensive Geographic Information System and the creation of an online consultation platform.

In short, the work in the period covered by this Report has laid the basis for delivering the 2023 Review. We look forward, during the course of the statutory consultations, to receiving the public’s views on our proposals.

Sir Peter Lane
Deputy Chair
30 July 2021

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