Why Hartlepool Borough Council's local election cycle may change

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Plans are being lined up to change the council election cycle in Hartlepool to help provide budget savings and bring more "stability".

Currently elections are scheduled for a third of all councillors on Hartlepool Borough Council each year, except every fourth year when no election is scheduled.

A proposal was unanimously backed by Hartlepool Borough Council Constitution Committee this week to look at altering this to have all-out elections every four years.

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Council officers estimated this would provide an annual budget saving of £35,000, which would increase if the elections were combined with the Tees Valley Mayoral and Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner ballots, such as in 2024.

May's Hartlepool Borough Council election count.May's Hartlepool Borough Council election count.
May's Hartlepool Borough Council election count.

Denise McGuckin, the council’s managing director, said based on this year’s elections that the saving could be “at least £50,000, possibly even higher”.

Cllr Shane Moore, Hartlepool council leader, said: “The rationale behind this is not only does it provide a budget saving by moving to this cycle, but it also brings us in line with other local authorities within the Tees Valley.”

Labour’s Cllr Brenda Harrison said along with providing the savings, the revised cycle would be “more sensible”.

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She said: “The fact that you’ve got elections most years detracts in actual fact from your actual job as a councillor because you’re busy with campaigning as well.

Hartlepool Borough Council managing director Denise McGuckin.Hartlepool Borough Council managing director Denise McGuckin.
Hartlepool Borough Council managing director Denise McGuckin.

“I really do think that it’s a much more sensible approach.”

Cllr Moore, who represents the independent union, added: “Whatever group or whatever person is in control of the council, it adds that level of stability as well.

“It could quite literally change year on year, and in which case key decisions will never get taken because they may just get batted backwards and forwards.”

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Councillors on the committee therefore agreed to look at changing the election cycle from 2024.

Independent Cllr Paddy Brown said: “If the savings increase to £50,000 by moving it to 2024 then that would get my support every time. We need lots of savings.”

The decision will now go before a future full council meeting, who will then vote to pass a resolution to carry out a consultation on the change.

Yet this was due to new ward boundaries being agreed by electoral officials.