The numbers of city councillors in Birmingham will be cut by 20 following a review of council boundaries and elections.

Experts from the Local Government Boundary Commission for England found the city council needed just 100 elected members for effective leadership, rather than the 120 it has a present.

The loss of councillors will also cut at least £320,000 from the authority's wage bill.

The cut is in line with the one proposed by Government troubleshooter Sir Bob Kerslake in his damning report last year which found the city council crippled by poor quality of leadership and governance.

And the leadership responded by showing how a council could operate with fewer members - it has already cut the numbers of scrutiny committees by four because there was too much overlap.

Critics have said reducing the number of councillors will make it harder - especially as councillors already represent the largest wards in the country with an average of 9,000 people each.

The cut means they will be responsible for 11,000 each.

But Boundary Commission chairman Max Caller dismissed this argument, saying: "It is not a simple numbers' game. There is much more to it than that.

"We have concluded that 100 councillors will help the council address the failings of the past, reflect the process of change which is already under way as well as helping councillors and staff to deliver its ambitions for the future.

"The Kerslake report highlighted how the council needs to change.

"In particular, it described how the current quantity of councillors, committees and decision making bodies had not always translated into a high quality of representation for local people or allowed the council to develop a vision for the future."

Mr Caller added that the vote for a town council in Sutton Coldfield, and plans for similar votes in other communities throughout the city, would help.

Rather than looking at how many people each councillor represented, they looked at how many the council needed to carry out its various responsibilities.

They found the current, large three-member wards, with 27,000 people in each, were inefficient and proposed a larger number of smaller wards with one or two members.

And the commission is now looking to divide the city map into wards for the 100 councillors and is asking for residents help to decide how communities should be reflected in the new wards.

Consultation is open until September 28 via interactive maps at and and the draft plan of boundaries will be published on December 15.

Council leader Sir Albert Bore welcomed the commission's view and urged residents to play their part in drawing the new ward boundaries.

He said the new arrangements, combined with other changes, would create a "more streamlined, strategic city council".

"As I said in the submission on behalf of the executive to the commission, these changes would mean that we could operate in the future with no fewer than 100 members and this has been recognised," he added.

"I also said in that submission the city's scale and significance make it a potential pioneer in new local governance arrangements.

"We hope that government will now work with us as we take forward further changes to local democracy that could be of interest across the country."


- 120 councillors serving four-year terms

- 40 wards (approx 27,000 people in each)

- Three councillors to each ward

- Elections by thirds - three years out of four

After 2018:

- 100 councillors serving four-year terms

- Up to 100 wards (around 11,000 people for single-member wards)

- Variety of one, two or three members per ward, depending on community boundaries

- Elections once every four years