Next week letters will be sent to all households in Swindon asking for their views on how often they would like to go to the polling stations to vote for their local councillors.

As readers will know, Swindon currently uses the ‘by thirds’ election model where a third of councillors are elected for a four-year term over a period of three consecutive years. We then have a fourth year when there are no elections.

Councillors from all parties voted earlier this year to ask residents if they would like to continue with this cycle, or move to a ‘whole council’ model instead where all councillors are elected every four years.

There are arguments for both models. On the one hand, the ‘by-thirds’ model maintains accountability and allows residents to regularly hold the administration to account.

On the other hand, it is more costly and, as I have found from my time serving on the Cabinet, the nature of 12-monthly elections means that it is more difficult to set a strategic direction and deliver on your priorities when you lose several weeks a year due to the pre-election period.

The majority of unitary councils across the country already use the ‘whole council’ model, but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily right for Swindon and because we are here to serve you, our residents, we want to hear what you have to say before we make a decision at the extraordinary Council meeting on Thursday, November 21.

From Monday September 16 each household will receive an envelope through the door that will contain a letter explaining the consultation along with an explanatory leaflet and a pre-paid envelope to return their opinion on the potential change.

If you meet the criteria to vote in a local election you will be asked to take part in the consultation. The whole process will be run independently of councillors through election specialists Electoral Reform Services so please use this opportunity to let us know which election cycle you prefer.

We are also keen to hear from local groups to gather as many views and opinions as possible. The consultation is open until Friday, October 25 so there is plenty of time to tell us what you think.

If you would like to find out more information or would like to submit further feedback to our Elections team you can do so by visiting the dedicated webpage