The Full Council will meet on 17 November to debate proposals for moving from the current 'election by thirds' system - where a third of the council is elected each time - to ‘all-out’ elections where the whole council will be appointed at a single election every four years.
Following the debate a vote will take place in which councillors will be asked to keep the status quo or swtch to all-outs.
There are substantative arguments for and against both systems. Under the thirds model residents have an annual opportunity (three years in four) to express their approval of the Council administration or opposition groups. And parties can also take heed of public opinion and adjust course. Less radical change is likely as there will only be a third of councillors standing for election or re-election at any one occasion - this may be a good thing or bad depending on your point of view.
Moving to whole council elections every four years would save Elmbridge around £42,000 per year, and, might arguably free up parties to focus on long term decisions without constantly having an on the next May's elections.
This vote has come about because the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is carrying out a review of all the Elmbridge Council wards, led by Sir Tony Redmond. It will take soundings from councillors and residents and consider reducing a reduction in the number of councillors. The Elmbridge Conservative administration has recommended scaling down from the current 60 to 48 to reduce the cost of local government.
Any reduction in seats is likely to result in a redrawing of the council wards themselves. If election by thirds remains then the boundary commission's intention is to create three-member wards that could see some communities having parts sliced off or bolted on to neighbouring ones. However by switching to the all-out model of electing it will be possible to have two or even one member wards, thereby offering a greater likelihood that community cohesion can be maintained.
To take part in the consultation and read more of the arguments, please go to elmbridge.gov.uk. This closes on 2 November and submissions will be taken into account at the vote on 17 November.