Community governance review 2015

Review of community governance arrangements within the Borough of Swindon

Swindon Borough Council is conducting a Review of Community Governance Arrangements within the Swindon Local Authority area in accordance with Part 4 Chapter 3 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007.

The Council is required to have regard to the Guidance on Community Governance Reviews issued by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. This guidance was considered when drawing up these Terms of Reference (TOR).

What is a community governance review?

It is a review that can take place for the whole or part of the Borough to consider one or more of the following:

  • Creating, merging, altering or abolishing parishes;
  • The naming of parishes and the style of new parishes;
  • The electoral arrangements for parishes (the ordinary year of election; council size, the number of councillors to be elected to the council, and parish warding), and 
  • Grouping parishes under a common parish council or de-grouping parishes

The Council is required to ensure that community governance within the area under review will be:

  • Reflective of the identities and interests of the community in that area; and
  • Is effective and convenient.

In doing so the community governance review is required to take into account:

  • The impact of community governance arrangements on community cohesion; and
  • The size, population and boundaries of a local community or parish.

Why undertake this community governance review?

This review is taking place partly as a result of the electoral ward review undertaken in 2011 and also the current situation of some of the parish arrangements.

The Council believes that parish councils play an important role in terms of community empowerment at the local level and wants to ensure that parish governance within the Borough continues to be robust, representative and enabled to meet new challenges.

Furthermore, it wants to ensure that there is clarity and transparency to the areas that parish councils represent and that the electoral arrangements of parishes – the warding arrangements and the allocations of councillors – are appropriate, equitable and readily understood by their electorate.

To that end, the Council is also reviewing unparished areas of the Borough to obtain views as to enabling community empowerment at local level which could include the Council devolving power and responsibility to neighbourhood level and extending localism to those parts of the town that do not presently benefit from their own local councils.

Areas to be reviewed

  • Bishopstone
  • Blunsdon St Andrew
  • Castle Eaton
  • Chisledon
  • Covingham
  • Hannington
  • Haydon Wick
  • Highworth
  • Inglesham
  • Liddington 
    Nythe
  • South Marston
  • Stratton St Margaret
  • Stanton Fitzwarren
  • Wanborough
  • Wroughton
  • All unparished areas of the Borough

Who will undertake the review?

The Borough Council is responsible for conducting a review within its electoral area. The Director of Law and Democratic Services, in consultation with the Corporate Governance Review Working Group, will be responsible for making both draft and final recommendations during the process. The Council will be required to approve the final recommendations prior to the Community Governance Order being made.

A full consultation process will form part of the Review to take full account of the views of local people.

Next steps

The next steps in the Community Governance Review [CGR] are subject to decisions being made at a cabinet meeting on 16 June. A Cabinet paper referencing the CGR is available to download. It is available on the Modern.gov website entitled Future Direction - Transfer of Services to Parish Councils (PDF) along with Appendix 1 and Appendix 2. Section 4.0 refers to a copy of the Stage 1 submissions (PDF) that are available to view with personal information redacted.

Indicative timetable for the community governance review

The CGR timetable below is subject to revision pending decisions made at a cabinet meeting on 16 June. The proposed revised timetable is set out in Section 3.2 of the cabinet paper, available on the Modern.gov website entitled Future Direction - Transfer of Services to Parish Councils (PDF).

Action

Timeline

Outline of Action

Report to Cabinet / Council

October / November 2015

Timescale and Terms of Reference approved

Publication of the Terms of Reference

5 December 2015

Council publishes Notice of the Review and notifies stakeholders

First Stakeholder Meeting

16 December 2015

Meet with stakeholders to answer questions relating to the Terms of Reference

Stage 1

5 December 2015 – 30 March 2016

Initial submissions invited

Stage 2

31 March – 30 June 2016

Consider submissions. Prepare draft recommendations

Stage 3

23 Augst – 30 September 2016  *

Draft recommendations published and comments sought

Stage 4

19 September – November 2016

Consider final submissions and prepare recommendations

Final recommendations

November / December 2016

Publish Final recommendations

Implementation Order

January 2017

Council to make Order

* At the Cabinet meeting on 13 July, it was agreed that the Stage 3 consultation would commence on 23 August in order to accommodate a rearranged Cabinet meeting on 17 August, with Scrutiny Committee meeting on 22 August.

Electorate forecasts for the Borough

This Review will be conducted using electoral data taken from the December 2015 electoral register.

Representations

The consultation period for the first stage of the community governance review is now closed. The second stage of public consultation will start in July 2016. Please refer to the information above for further details.

If you have any questions of feedback please email: cgr@swindon.gov.uk

Further information

Last updated: 02 August 2016. Was this information helpful?

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