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Election / Election nominations open for west ward and community councils

An archive photo of ballot papers being counted. Photo: SIC

NOMINATIONS have opened for not only the Shetland West council by-election but also for community council elections too.

The Shetland West by-election, triggered by the resignation of John Leask, will take place on 17 November.

Meanwhile members will be elected to Shetland’s 18 community councils on 24 November, with postal ballots used.

However the term of office for community councillors elected at this election will be a reduced two years, until midnight on 20 November 2024, following a decision this week.

More details on how to submit nomination papers can be found here.

A report went in front of members of Shetland Islands Council on Wednesday with three options on community council elections and terms.

Following a move from Shetland West member Liz Peterson – and a subsequent vote – the decision was made to proceed with the election in November but have successful applicants serve a reduced term of two years.

During this time a “full and comprehensive review” of the local community council scheme will be undertaken – something that has not been done for many years.

It comes amid continued concern over the lack of uptake in community council elections.

A report from SIC legal chief Jan Riise said: “The review is likely to consider what more might be done as recent significant efforts to improve promotion and publicity around the work of community councils and the elections themselves have not changed the pattern in relation to those putting themselves forward to represent their communities.”

In 2018 a total of 119 community councillors were elected to a possible 163 seats, resulting in 15 community councils needing to hold a by-election.

Community councils were consulted in the proposals for elections, with mixed views on how best to proceed.

There were also differing opinions in the council chamber on Wednesday, but Peterson’s amendment won by ten votes to three.

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