Why has a Local Government Boundaries Commissioner been appointed?

The Department for Communities has appointed a Commissioner because they are required to do so by law. The laws that apply can be viewed at www.lgbc-ni.org.uk/links

What are the local government boundaries?

There are 11 local government districts, or district councils, in Northern Ireland.  Each district is divided into a number of wards.  In most districts, there are 40 wards, however the Belfast district is divided into 60 wards.  It is these district and ward boundaries that are under review.

What is the Commissioner’s role?

The purpose of the Commissioner is to provide an independent review of the boundaries and names of the 11 local government districts in Northern Ireland, and the number, boundaries and names of the wards into which each local government district is divided.

What is the purpose of a boundaries Review?

Boundary reviews are intended to provide electoral equality, in that all the wards within a district should, as far as possible, have a similar number of electors.

Why is this Review happening now?

The Review is taking place now because the boundaries and their wards have to be reviewed by law within 12 years of the last review.

What is the basis of the Review?

The Review is based in law specifically the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972 governs the appointment of the Commissioner and the procedure that applies to the review and her recommendations. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/apni/1972/9(external link opens in a new window / tab)

When was the last Review?

The last Review was started in 2008. A final report was published in 2009.

Who will get a say in the new boundaries?

The Commissioner will give everyone an opportunity to have their say, including district councils, political parties, organisations and individuals.

When will we get a chance to have our say?

You can have your say at three stages, now by emailing the Commissioners at info@lgbc-ni.org.uk  or you can participate after the launch of the Commissioners provisional and final proposals.

What evidence will the commissioner use as the basis for any change?

The Commissioner will use electoral data provided by The Electoral Office NI to support any decisions for change.

When was the electoral data collected?

The electoral data that the Commissioner will be using was captured on 4 January 2021. This date is known as the Enumeration date.

Where are there maps available of the Council and ward boundaries?

You can access maps in the public OSNI Spatial NI - Map Viewer: https://maps.spatialni.gov.uk/(external link opens in a new window / tab)

There is an Add Data button that you can use to search for Wards 2012 and Local Government Districts 2012.

Will the Commissioner produce new maps to show her provisional and any revised proposals?

Yes.  The Commissioner’s team will work with a team from Ordinance Survey NI in Land and Property Services, Department of Finance, to produce new maps to show any changes to the current boundaries.

Is the Commission independent of Government?

The Local Government Boundaries Commissioner (LGBC) is completely independent of Government Departments and Ministers in making decisions.

What is the status of the LGBC in relation to Government in NI?

The Department for Communities (DfC) is the sponsor Department. LGBC will be utilising services within DfC for administration purposes only.

Will there be a change to the number of wards within a district?

The legislation allows the Commissioner to increase or decrease the number of wards by 5 if there is enough evidence to support an increase or decrease.

Will the Review include changes to the names of the districts or wards?

The Commissioner will give due consideration to any submissions regarding name changes.