In Scotland, responsibility for making recommendations for parliamentary and electoral ward boundaries lies with two organisations: the Boundary Commission for Scotland and the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland. Both are supported by a shared Secretariat, which provides a wide range of mapping to underpin their work.
Before making recommendations to the Secretary of State for Scotland or to Scottish Ministers, the Commissions carry out extensive reviews and public consultations on their draft proposals. The Boundary Commission for Scotland is currently conducting its sixth review of UK Parliament constituencies and has introduced a new service that enables people to participate online. Public confidence in the review process is vital, so users must be able to easily find information and comment upon it. Flexibility and cost-effectiveness are also key considerations.
Using Ordnance Survey digital data supplied under the One Scotland Mapping Agreement (OSMA), the Secretariat provides a wide range of maps and information to support the review and consultation process. Raster products are used in the early stages, followed by more detailed OS MasterMap® data as the review progresses.
As members of the OSMA, the Commissions receive regular map updates ensuring that they are always working from the most up-to-date information available. Once approved, the updated boundary information is then supplied to Ordnance Survey for inclusion in Boundary-Line™, part of the OS OpenData™ portfolio of products.
The digital consultation portal and interactive mapping service developed for the sixth review of UK Parliament constituencies has streamlined the consultation process whilst also improving public understanding of the Commissions’ work and the reasoning behind the proposals. By displaying these on familiar Ordnance Survey mapping, people can easily zoom in and pan around the data or use a postcode to find their area of interest, add their own comments and read those that others have submitted. The map data can also be reused on other websites to further raise awareness.
The portal, which supports the Government’s Digital by Default agenda, is securely hosted on a cloud platform, enabling it to be cost-effectively scaled according to demand and minimising impact on the existing infrastructure.
In addition, the Commissions also enable political parties to effectively participate in reviews by providing them with specialist map-handling software, training and data.
- Delivers a flexible and cost-effective web-mapping facility with minimal impact on existing infrastructure or need for additional web server – a potential saving of £10 000.
- Savings of up to £12 000 in map-printing and other hard-copy communications as a result of the move to a digital consultation portal.
- Helps to boost public confidence in the review process and demonstrates the Commissions’ commitment to transparency and openness.
- Raises awareness and improves public understanding of the Commissions’ work and contribution to the electoral process.
- Meets public expectations by providing an easy-to-use mapping service.
- Streamlines the consultation process and avoids unnecessary duplication of data entry.
- Supports the Government’s Digital by Default agenda.
- Encourages submission of consultation responses in a form that can be easily analysed and assessed.