Wales politics

Welsh local government boundary commissioners sacked

Carl Sargeant
Image caption Carl Sargeant has sacked three local government boundary commissioners

Three commissioners responsible for re-examining local council boundaries have been sacked after a report found their organisation was not "fit for purpose".

It follows concern about a series of reviews to make councillors represent similar numbers of electors.

It was claimed up to 200 councillors - or a sixth - could have been axed under proposals.

Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant said it was necessary to restore the commision's reputation.

The three members of the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales - chairman Paul Wood, deputy chair the Reverend Hywel Meredydd Davies and member John Bader - were relieved of their posts with immediate effect by Mr Sargeant on Wednesday.

An investigation was conducted on behalf of ministers by the former head of the Electoral Commission in Wales, Glyn Mathias.

Mr Sargeant said: "The most concerning finding... is the conclusion reached that the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales has lost the confidence of its stakeholders and because of this is 'not fit for purpose'.

"This is a most serious conclusion and I have decided to terminate the appointments of the three existing commissioners.

"I believe that the taking of this decisive step and the early appointment of suitable replacements is necessary to recover the reputation of the commission in the eyes of the public, local government and other interested parties."

The organisation's role is to carry out periodic reviews of the electoral boundaries within council areas.

Mr Sargeant is to appoint three temporary commissioners before new permanent appointments can be made.

The then minister, Brian Gibbons, launched the series of boundary reviews in January 2009, saying the aim was to try and restore a fairly even spread of councillors across the local population.

But their initial reports angered councils, with Cardiff Council leader Rodney Berman claiming the Commission had made major mathematical errors in working out the ratios between councillors and citizens.

More on this story