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Community Governance Reviews

Stroud District Council are undertaking a community governance review pursuant to the provisions of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, and other relevant statutory provisions. The review is being undertaken for the following Parish/Town areas:
• Cam
• Dursley
• Eastington
• Frampton
• Horsley
• Hunts Grove
• Minchinhampton
• Nailsworth
• Standish
• Stonehouse
• Woodchester

The review will not automatically mean there are changes but it will see if there is a case for change. The council is not seeking a particular solution at this stage but wishes to get the views of residents and assess whether any changes are required. Changes will be made if they are necessary to reflect the identity and interests of local communities and ensure effective and convenient local governance. A further consultation will take place from the 1st March 2023 on any recommendations that are made as a result of the current consultation.

The review will have regard to the ‘Guidance on Community Governance Reviews’ issued by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE). The aim of the review is to ensure that the arrangements for community governance reflect ‘the identities and interests of the community in the area’ and are ‘effective and convenient’. The review will be conducted with the Terms of Reference contained in this document and agreed by Council. 

Have your say

The first phase of public consultation runs from the 31 October 2022 to 29 January 2023. 

Should you wish to make a submission to the review you can do this by:

  • Complete the online survey here: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/CGR22-23/
  • Email: your name, address and submission to elections@stroud.gov.uk
  • Phone: 01453 754886
  • Write: Please address your submission to -

Community Governance Review Electoral Services

Stroud District Council

Ebley Mill

Ebley Wharf

Stroud

GL5 4UB

 

A paper version of the survey is available upon request.

The deadline for submissions to the first phase of the consultation is 29 January 2023.

Timetable


Stage

Action

Timescale

Commencement

Publish terms of reference and timetable.

21 October 2022

Preliminary stage

Research - Consider consultation arrangements and electoral forecasts.

21 October - 30 October 2022

Consultation Stage 1

Initial submissions invited.

31 October – 29 January 2023 

Stage 2

Consideration of submissions received. Draft recommendations prepared.

1 February 2023 – 1 March 2023

Consultation Stage 3

Draft recommendations published and consulted on.

1 March – 26 April 2023

Stage 4

Consideration of submissions received. Final recommendations prepared.

May 2023

Final stage

Recommendations submitted to full Council for approval.

July 2023

Further information about the Community Governance Review can be found below:

What is a Community governance Review?

A Community Governance Review is the process used to consider whether existing parish arrangements should be changed in any way. This includes:

  • Altering the boundaries of existing parishes;
  • Changing the names of existing parishes;
  • Creating a new parish or abolishing an existing parish;
  • Creating or abolishing parish councils;
  • The electoral arrangements for parish councils (including the number of councillors and arrangements for parish warding);
  • The grouping or de-grouping or parish councils (and consequential changes to their electoral arrangements);
  • The ‘style’ of a new parish (enabling an area to be known as a town, community, neighbourhood or village rather than a parish)

 

Who is carrying out the review?

Stroud District Council is statutorily responsible for carrying out the review. The conduct of the review will be overseen by the Council’s Community Governance Review Members Working Group. Formal decisions as to the recommendations arising from the review will be made by full Council. The Terms of Reference for this review were agreed by Council on the 20 October 2022.

 

What areas are under review?

The Parish and Town Council Areas included in the review are:

Cam

Dursley

Eastington

Frampton

Horsley

Hunts Grove

Minchinhampton

Nailsworth

Standish

Stonehouse

Woodchester

 

 

We are particularly keen to hear from local people within these areas with proposals as to how they believe parish arrangements should be reviewed.

 

Why is the Council carrying out a community governance review?

A Community Governance Review provides the opportunity to consider whether changes should be made to parish arrangements in response to these and other issues raised by local people. It is intended that any new parish arrangements will take effect at the May 2024 local elections.

 

A full CGR took place across the whole of the Stroud district in 2019 and several changes were implemented across a number of parish and town council areas including the establishment of Hunts Grove Parish Council. When approving the final recommendations of the 2019 review, Council resolved for a further CGR to be undertaken for the parishes that contain the Great Oldbury development (Eastington, Standish and Stonehouse) by the end of 2023. The reasoning for this was that at the time of the last review, Great Oldbury was a new development and any decisions made may not reflect the identity of a community which was yet to have established.  

 

Ahead of commencing this CGR, all Parish and Town Councils were asked if there had been any significant changes to their electoral arrangements since 2019 and whether their parish or town council areas should be considered for a CGR. Following this consultation with Parish and Town Councils the Council agreed to carry out a review in:

Cam

Dursley

Eastington

Frampton

Horsley

Hunts Grove

Minchinhampton

Nailsworth

Standish

Stonehouse

Woodchester

 

 

 

How will the review work?

We are carrying out two phases of consultations on parish arrangements in the areas specified. The first phase of consultation asks for proposals on changes to existing parish arrangements. The Community Governance Review Members Working Group will then use all responses received during this period of consultation to draw up draft recommendations for changes to parish arrangements in the district. We will then hold a second phase of consultation on these draft recommendations, during which time we will invite comments and any proposed alternatives to the areas where we have recommended a change.

  • The first period of consultation will take place from Monday 31 October 2022 to Sunday 29 January 2023.
  • Following the close of the first period of consultation, the draft set of recommendations will be published on Wednesday 1 March 2023.
  • These draft recommendations will then be the subject of a second period of consultation, which will run from Wednesday 1 March to Wednesday 26 April 2023.
  • Following the end of the second period of consultation, all comments received will be considered against the draft recommendations. The final set of recommendations will then be submitted to full Council in July 2023.
  • It is intended that the final recommendations, which will include any changes to the current parish arrangements, will be implemented in time for the May 2024 elections.

The Council will make a Reorganisation of Community Governance Order in order to implement any recommendations. The Order may cover ‘consequential matters’ required to give effect to the Order, such as the transfer of property or other assets, the setting of precepts for new parishes and staffing matters.

 

What matters will the review focus on?

The final recommendations made at the end of the review will seek to ensure that community governance across the district:

  • Reflects the identities and interests of the community in that area
  • Is effective and convenient

When responding to the consultation on parish arrangements, you should ensure that your proposal takes account of this criteria.

The Council also has to take into account other arrangements for community representation or engagement in the area.

In considering the electoral arrangements of the parishes in its area, the Council is required to consider any change in the number of distribution of electors which is likely to occur in the period of five years beginning with the day the review starts.

Unlike the Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s review of district ward arrangements, there is no provision in legislation that each parish councillor should represent (as nearly as possible) the same number of electors. However, the government guidance reiterates the Commission’s belief that it is not in the interests of effective and convenient local government to have significant difference in levels of representation between different wards in the same parish. The National Association of Local Councils does however provide guidelines on the number of councillors based on electorate figures which will be considered during the review. Additionally, any recommendations made by the review must adhere to the legal minimum number of parish councillors for any parish council, which is five. There is no legal maximum number of parish councillors.

 

Who will we consult?

The Council is required to consult with local government electors living in the Stroud District as well as any other individuals and organisations (including local authorities such as parish councils) who ‘appear to have an interest in the review’.

The Council must take into account all representations that it receives during the review’s periods of consultation and will make all representations available for public viewing.

 

How will we consult?

We will write to all parish councils and identified umbrella organisations (including Gloucestershire Association of Parish and Town Councils) at the start of the first period of consultation, inviting them to submit their views. The same process will be followed with the second period of consultation.

We have also publicised the review on our website through our internal communication channels and will ask the relevant Parish/Town Council to further publicise the review to help engage with residents, community groups and other stakeholders.

What is a community governance review?

A Community Governance Review is a way for district councils to make sure that, at parish level, governance arrangements are working as efficiently and effectively as they should be. This is achieved by asking the public, parish councils and any interested parties whether they feel their communities are suitably represented and whether parish councils would like to see any changes made to their current governance arrangements.

We have the power to undertake such reviews under Part 4 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 and the relevant national guidance document.

What can a Community Governance Review do?

A Community Governance Review can make a number of changes to parish councils when there is clear evidence to do so:

  • Creating, merging, altering or abolishing parishes;
  • Change electoral arrangements for parishes including the ordinary year of an election, number of parish councillors and changes to parish wards;
  • Convert a parish council to a parish meeting;
  • Change the name or the style of a new parish/town council or parish meeting; and
  • Group parishes together under a common parish.

Why are we doing a Community Governance Review?

Following a CGR undertaken in 2019 recommendations were agreed by Council that included agreement to undertake a CGR for the parishes which contain the Great Oldbury development (Eastington, Standish and Stonehouse) by the end of 2023. In 2019, the development of Great Oldbury was not well established and therefore the Working Group maintained that ‘time should be allowed for a community to develop so future residents can decide on the future electoral arrangements of their parish.’ The recommendation for a future CGR was also supported in 2019 by Eastington Parish Council and Keep Eastington Rural Residents Association, alternatively Stonehouse Town Council requested that Great Oldbury became part of Stonehouse Parish.

Government guidance states that it is good practice to conduct a full CGR at least every 10 to 15 years. The Council undertook a full review in 2019 and therefore a full CGR is not necessary. In advance of producing the Draft Terms of Reference all Parish and town councils were contacted to invite any further requests for a CGR. 

What can’t a Community Governance Review do?

A Community Governance Review cannot:

  • Change the number of district or county councillors;
  • Change a district or county council ward boundaries;
  • Change the amount of money that a parish council raises through your council tax (known as ‘precept’);
  • Change individual parish councillors; and
  • Create a unitary authority.

What are the timescales?

The terms of reference for the review were agreed by Council on the 20 October 2022. We now have 12 months to complete the review and agree on any proposed changes.

We are going to be undertaking two phases of consultation in Stroud:

  • 31 October 2022 to 29 January 2023 - Phase 1 Consultation: We will be writing to all Parish/Town Councils who are part of the review to explain what the review is, why we are doing it and to ask them whether they would be interested in making any changes. We will also be considering population growth forecasts and consulting with key stakeholders including local residents, Gloucestershire County Council, Cotswold District Council and the Gloucestershire Association of Parish and Town Councils (GAPTC);
  • February 2023 to March 2023 – Interim report writing: Following the closure of the consultation, we will develop an interim report that will include recommendations for changes to parishes;
  • 1 March 2023 to 26 April 2023 – Phase 2 Consultation: We will work closely with local parishes and residents to see what they think of our recommendations. We may make changes to our recommendations depending on the responses and evidence we receive during this round of consultation;
  • May 2023 to July 2023 – Final Report: We will develop a final report and set of recommendations after Phase 2 of the consultation. The final report and recommendations will be discussed and considered by full Council in July 2023. Following Council’s consideration of the final report, we will make an Order to give effect to any changes to local parishes which will come into force on 1 April 2024 in time for the May 2024 elections.

Who makes the final decision on any changes?

The Community Governance Review Members Working Group will need to consider any comments and evidence received as part of the consultation process and the Council will have the final say on any recommendations.

What if we don’t agree with the recommendations?

Whilst we will listen to all representations received, it is ultimately up to the Council to make the final decision in relation to how community governance should be undertaken.

What role do parish councils perform?

Parish councils are the most local form of government. They collect money from Council Tax payers (via the district council) known as a "precept" and this is used to invest in the area to improve services or facilities. Parish councils can take different forms but usually are made up of local people who stand for election as parish councillors to represent their area. They can be the voice of the local community and work with other tiers of government and external organisations to co-ordinate and deliver services and work to improve the quality of life in the area.

What are grouped parishes?

It may best be considered as a working alliance of parishes that have come together under a common parish council, with the electors of each of the grouped parishes electing a designated number of councillors to the council. It has been found to be an effective way of ensuring parish government for small parishes that might otherwise be unviable as separate units, while otherwise guaranteeing their separate community identity.

The council recognises that the grouping of parishes needs to be compatible with the retention of community interests and notes the government's guidance that "it would be inappropriate for it to be used to build artificially large units under single parish councils." A grouping order is permitted under Section 11 of the Local Government Act 1972.

What are Parish Wards?

Parishes or towns can be divided into wards for the purpose of electing councillors. Again, this could depend upon the size and make up of a proposed council. The government guidance requires that consideration be given to the number of and distribution of local government electors which could make a single election of councillors impractical or inconvenient or it may be desirable for areas within the town or parish to be separately represented.

The government's guidance is that "the warding of parishes in largely rural areas that are based predominantly on a single centrally-located village may not be justified. Conversely, warding may be appropriate where the parish encompasses a number of villages with separate identities, a village with a large rural hinterland or where, on the edges of towns, there has been some urban overspill into the parish."

What is a community governance order?

The review will be completed when the council adopts a Reorganisation of Community Governance Order. The Order will specify when it will take effect for financial and administrative purposes and when the electoral arrangements for a new or existing parish council will come into force.

Copies of this Order, the map(s) that show the effects of the order in detail and the document(s) which set out the reasons for the decisions that the council has taken (including where it has decided to make no change following a review), will be deposited at the council's offices and website.

In accordance with the guidance issued by the government, the council will issue maps to illustrate each recommendation at a scale that will not normally be smaller than 1:10,000. These maps will be deposited with the Secretary of State at the Department of Communities and Local Government and at the council’s offices. Prints will also be supplied, in accordance with the regulations, to Ordnance Survey, the Registrar General, the Land Registry, the Valuation Office Agency, the Boundary Commission for England and the Electoral Commission.

What do "electoral arrangements" mean?

An important part of our review will comprise giving consideration to electoral arrangements. The term covers the way in which a council is constituted for the parish. It covers:

  • The ordinary year in which elections are held;
  • The number of councillors to be elected to the council;
  • The division (or not) of the parish into wards for the purpose of electing councillors;
  • The number and boundaries of any such wards;
  • The number of councillors to be elected for any such ward; and
  • The name of any such ward. The government's guidance is that "each area should be considered on its own merits, having regard to its population, geography and the pattern of communities," and therefore the council is prepared to pay particular attention to existing levels of representation, the broad pattern of existing council sizes which have stood the test of time and the take-up of seats at elections in its consideration of this matter. The Aston Business School found the following levels of representation to the good running of a council:
  • Parishes wishing to increase numbers must give strong reasons for doing so. The number of parish or town councillors for each council must be not less than five but can be greater. However, each parish grouped under a common parish council must have at least one parish councillor.

Is there an ideal size for a parish council?

The National Association of Local Councils provides the following guidance regarding the number of Parish/Town Councillors:

Electors

Councillors

Electors

Councillors

1 – 900

7

3501 - 4400

12

901 – 1400

8

4401 - 5400

13

1401 – 2000

9

5401 - 6500

14

2001 – 2700

10

6501 - 7700

15

2701 – 3500

11

11,800 – 13,300

18

 

Viability

The government has a commitment to improve the capacity of the parish structure to deliver better services and to represent the community's interests. Therefore, the council is anxious to ensure that parishes should be viable and should possess a precept that enables them to actively and effectively promote the wellbeing of their residents and to contribute to the real provision of services in their areas in an economic and efficient manner.

Boundaries

It will be desirable for parish or town council boundaries to be readily identifiable. This can be by reference to physical features or may follow adopted electoral ward boundaries in the district. Any changes should also take into account population shifts or additional development that may have affected community identity.

The review will have regard to the ‘Guidance on Community Governance Reviews’ issued by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Boundary Commission for England. The aim of the review is to ensure that the arrangements for community governance across the district reflect ‘the identities and interests of the community in the area’ and are ‘effective and convenient’. The review will be conducted with the Terms of Reference contained in this document.

Stroud District Council Community Governance Review Order 2020

Following a Community Governance Review, The Stroud District Council (Reorganisation of Community Governance) Order 2020 was published on the 31 January 2020. This order came into force on 1 April 2020.

This Order gives effect to recommendations made by Stroud District Council for the creation of  Hunts Grove Parish Council and the alteration of the areas of the Parish Councils for Bisley-with-Lypiatt, Brimscombe and Thrupp, Chalford, Cranham, Eastington, Hardwicke, Haresfield, Minchinhampton, Nailsworth, Rodborough, Stonehouse, Stroud and Upton St Leonards.

The electoral arrangements were applied in respect of parish elections that were held on Thursday 5 May 2021.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England have made The Stroud (Electoral Changes Order) Order 2020 to reflect the amendments to the District Ward boundaries.   

Community Governance Review of the Stroud District – Final Recommendations

  

Further information realting to the 2018/2019 review

Notice of Community Governance Review

Community Governance Review Terms of Reference

Parish and Town Council Information and Electorate Details

Map of Parish and Town Council Areas

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