2. Terms of Reference
Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007
We have received a petition signed by over 50% of registered electors in the Parish of Dunchideock, asking it to conduct a Community Governance Review (CGR) to consider abolishing the Dunchideock Parish Council. Any request for a CGR must be supported by a minimum of 37.5% of electors within the affected area. The request was supported by a valid petition signed by 57.48% of registered electors within Dunchideock, showing that a majority of residents would currently support this action.
The petitioners state:
“We are strongly of the view that community cohesion and effective community action would be best served by the formal abolition of the parish council and its replacement with an informal community forum”.
In order to dissolve and abolish an existing parish council, the principal council must provide evidence that this in response to "justified, clear and sustained local support" from the area's inhabitants.
In undertaking the review, we will be guided by Part 4 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, relevant parts of the Local Government Act 1972 and guidance issued by the Department of Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Boundary Commission in 2010.
Section 81 of the 2007 Act requires us to publish our Terms of Reference for the review which clearly sets out the focus of the review and timetable for the review.
We are required to have regard to guidance issued by the Government and the publication ‘Guidance on Community Governance Reviews’ issued by the Department of Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Boundary Commission for England in March 2010. This guidance has been used in drawing up the Terms of Reference and timetable for the review.
What is a Community Governance Review?
A CGR is a legal process whereby Principal Authorities can consider the following:
- creating, merging, altering or abolishing parishes
- the naming of parishes and the style of any new parish
- the dissolution of a parish council
- the electoral arrangements for parishes, i.e. the ordinary year of election, council size (the number of parish councillors) and parish warding
- grouping of parishes under a common council or de-grouping of parishes
A CGR must reflect the identities and interests of communities and should take account of the impact of community governance arrangements on community cohesion and the size, population and boundaries of a local or community parish.
What do Parish Councils do?
Parish Councils represent the most local form of government and can own assets, employ staff and provide services at a local level. This can include looking after community buildings, open space, allotments, play areas, etc. They can raise funds to meet the costs of administration and provision of services through setting a precept which forms part of council tax bills received by the council tax payers in the parish. Parish Councils can also provide a local voice for the community by responding to consultations and raising concerns with relevant organisations.
A Parish Council is made up of parish councillors elected by the local government electors in the parish, with elections taking place every four years. Vacancies within the four year term are filled by co-option or by election if 10 local government electors request it.
We will consider the effect of new and forecast development activity on existing parish boundaries. Parish boundaries should be easily identifiable and reflect the separation of settlements recognised locally as having their own identity.
These boundaries should generally reflect the areas between communities with low populations, or physical barriers such as rivers or man-made features such as railways or main roads. When reviewing parish boundaries we will aim to make sure that any changes reflect community identity, cohesion and interests.
Before making any recommendations, we will take account of any representations received.
We will publish the recommendations as soon as possible, and take such steps to make sure that anyone interested in the Community Governance Review are informed of the recommendations and the reasons behind them.
Council size (number of councillors)
The minimum number of parish councillors that a council can have is five. A quorum for a parish council is three or a third, whichever is the greater number.
National research guidance suggests the following levels of representation for parish councils:
|Less than 500||5 - 8|
|501 - 2,500||6 - 12|
|2,501 - 10,000||9 - 16|
|10,001 - 20,000||13 - 27|
|Greater than 20,000||13 - 31|
Government guidance is that each area should be considered on its own merits having regard to population, geography and the pattern of communities. We will pay particular attention to existing levels of representation and existing council sizes which have stood the test of time.
These terms of reference provide the aims of the review, the legislation that guides the process and the areas which we will consider as part of the review process. We will consult on the review including but not limited to:
- local government electors/residents of the parish
- relevant District councillors
- relevant County councillors
- Teignbridge District Council
- Neighbouring parishes (Ide, Shillingford St George, Kenn, Doddiscombsleigh, Dunsford, Holcombe Burnell)
- Devon County Council
- Devon Association of Local Councils
- Local Government Boundary Commission for England
Scope of the Review
The review will consider:
- whether or not Dunchideock parish council should be abolished
- what other form of local governance arrangements could replace Dunchideock parish council
- whether there would be any benefit in merging Dunchideock parish with another small neighbouring parish, or parishes
- whether there would be any benefit in grouping Dunchideock parish with another small parish, or parishes, to form a common council.
|Commencement of CGR – Terms of Reference published||16 October 2023|
|Initial consultation stage||19 October 2023 – 15 December 2023|
|Draft recommendations prepared||18 December 2023 – 23 February 2024|
|Draft recommendations published||26 February 2024|
|Consultation on draft recommendations||27 February 2024 - 30 April 2024|
|Final recommendations prepared||1 May 2024 - 28 June 2024|
|Final recommendations considered and decided by Full Council||by 30 August 2024|
|Conclusion of CGR||by 30 August 2024|
Reorganisation of Community Governance Orders and Commencement
The review will be completed when we resolve to accept the final recommendations and authorise completion of any Reorganisation or Community Governance Order(s) that are required.
Copies of any resulting Order(s) will be sent to:
- The Secretary of State for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
- The Local Government Boundary Commission for England
- The Office of National Statistics
- The Director General of the Ordnance Survey
- Devon County Council
- The Audit Commission
- Devon Association of Local Councils
Any Community Governance Order made following a Community Governance Review should, for administrative and financial reasons, take effect on the first day of April following the date on which the Order is made. New electoral arrangements will come into force at the first elections to any Parish Council following the making of the Order.
In the interests of maintaining coterminous boundaries of principal authority electoral areas and the boundaries of parishes, recommendations may be made to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to make related changes to the district and county electoral area boundaries.
Date of publication
16 October 2023.