Agenda item

Agenda item

Community Governance Review

To consider undertaking a proposed Community Governance Review for Central Bedfordshire and approve the associated terms of reference.

Minutes:

 

The Committee considered a report which sought the Committee’s agreement to conduct a Community Governance Review for the whole of Central Bedfordshire.  Approval was also sought for the proposed terms of reference for the Review and the associated timetable.

 

The Committee noted that the Council was required to undertake a Community Governance Review under the terms of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 every 10-15 years.  Given the absence of any scheduled elections in 2018 at either national or local level (for Central Bedfordshire) staff resources were available to complete a Review by September of that year.

 

Points and comments included:

 

·         An introduction by the Democratic Services Manager who referred to the opportunity to deal with a number of electoral anomalies, including the disproportionate number of councillor positions on some small parish councils and the resulting difficulties in finding sufficient numbers of candidates to stand for election, as well as poorly drawn electoral boundaries.  The Democratic Services Manager circulated two maps to illustrate examples of the latter.

·         References by Members to issues relating to existing electoral boundaries and the impact of major residential development on electoral numbers in their own wards.  With regard to the latter, and given the pace of development, the Democratic Services Manager stressed that the outcome of the Review would represent a snapshot and was unlikely to provide a totally satisfactory outcome for all parties.

·         The Democratic Services Manager advising that information relating to parish councils’ range of powers would be included in the consultation document and would also be included in the material presented at the forthcoming Town and Parish Council conference in November.

·         A Member’s request that parish councils be reminded that the Review would not impact on existing settlement boundaries and did not provide an opportunity to review these.  Further, councils should also be reminded that, with regard to planning applications, these councils were not statutory consultees and therefore had no right to be consulted  although Central Bedfordshire Council did seek their opinions on such applications.

·         Members recognised the value in holding regular Community Governance Reviews at shorter, 5-10 year, intervals rather than the 10-15 years suggested in the guidance jointly issued by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Boundary Commission.

·         In particular Members were aware of the ongoing high level of residential development within Central Bedfordshire and the need to respond to any anomalies that arose with regard to the democratic process as soon as was reasonable.

 

 

RESOLVED

 

1          that a Community Governance Review be undertaken across the whole of Central Bedfordshire under the terms of Chapter 3 of Part 4 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007;

 

2          that the timetable for the above Review, as outlined in Appendix A to the report of the Democratic Services Manager, be approved;

 

3          that the terms of reference for the above Review, as set out in Appendix B to the report of the Democratic Services Manager, be approved;

 

4          that following the 2017/18 Community Governance Review such Reviews be held at 5-10 yearly intervals.

 

 

 

Supporting documents: