The Review of Local Boundaries for Northern Ireland is now complete and the Commissioner has submitted her Final Recommendations Report to the Department for Communities. It is now a matter for the Department to lay the Final Recommendations Report in the Northern Ireland Assembly, with or without modification.
Once any Final Recommendations, with or without modification, are passed into law by the Northern Ireland Assembly, this will trigger the requirement for the Northern Ireland Office to appoint a District Electoral Areas Commissioner to commence a Review of District Electoral Areas for Northern Ireland based on any new ward boundaries that have been passed into law.
District Electoral Areas (DEA’s) are the units made up of groups of local government wards, usually of around 5-7, which are used for the purpose of administration of local government elections and are also used to help District Councils develop strategy for service delivery. A DEA is a group of wards which have been grouped together based on things like proximity and a commonality of features (for example rural/urban).
The Northern Ireland Office, not the Department for Communities, is responsibile for appointing a District Electoral Area Commissioner to conduct a Review of new DEA’s, because a Review of DEA’s is part of Electoral Law, not Local Government law, and Electoral Law is not devolved in Northern Ireland.
Due to the limited time between my Review and the next council elections, The Department for Communities will not make an order to give effect to my Final Recommendations Report until after the next local government elections scheduled in May 2023. Therefore the establishment of an independent DEA Review process will not be commenced by the Northern Ireland Office until after May 2023.
If you have any future queries or need information on the progress of the next DEA Review, please contact Elections Policy Team, Northern Ireland Office, 1 Horse Guards Road, London, SW1A 2HQ or firstname.lastname@example.org