THIS year’s election could be cancelled if Slough Borough Council decides to swap to all-out elections every four years.

An extraordinary full council meeting is to be held on Tuesday, January 18, where councillors are expected to vote on potential changes to the election cycle and internal ward boundaries that could be implemented in 2023.

Currently, a third of councillors are elected each year, with councillors serving four-year terms.

The swap to a four-year cycle was one of the many recommendations in Jim Taylor’s damning report into the council’s governance after it effectively declared bankruptcy in July.

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With this potential change on the cards, this could result in a different pattern of wards with a mix of representatives that will reflect the area’s communities.

If councillors approve the swap, it will not automatically mean this year’s local election will be cancelled. But the council could make a request to Michael Gove, the Secretary of State, to cancel the election where he will decide accordingly.

However, council leader James Swindlehurst (Lab: Cippenham Green) pointed out at November’s cabinet meeting that there will be an election in 2022 for the cohort of members last elected in 2018.

Residents had a chance to have a say for the borough having all-out elections via an online survey as well as through consultation letters.

Slough Observer: Cllr Wayne Strutton on election day in May 2021Cllr Wayne Strutton on election day in May 2021

In July, the Conservative leader Wayne Strutton (Haymill & Lynch Hill) called for an all-around election to give residents the chance to “slate” every councillor following the council’s bankruptcy announcement.

He said at a full council meeting: “I think this whole chamber, including all of those who were elected this year [2021], need to consider or resigning by the end of this political year and give this town an opportunity to slate every single one of us again in May.

“Not just the third, but everyone. And in doing so, we will actually add some savings to the budget by saving somewhere in the region of half a million [pounds] every four-year cycle.”

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However, Cllr Swindlehurst said there is a working party looking at the electoral timetable and will be set up subject to council approval.

A report which will provide further details on the potential elections and internal ward boundary changes are expected to be published on the local authority’s website on Tuesday, January 11.

In 2019, cash-strapped Northamptonshire County Council decided to cancel its planned district and borough elections as part of budgetary controls enforced by government.