What are community governance reviews?
Since February 2008, district councils, unitary councils and London borough councils (principal councils) have had responsibility for undertaking community governance reviews and have been able to decide whether to give effect to recommendations made in those reviews. In making that decision, they will need to take account of the views of local people.
Chapter 3 of Part 4 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 devolves the power to take decisions about matters such as the creation of parishes, changes to parish boundaries and electoral arrangements including warding and numbers of parish councillors from the Secretary of State and the Electoral Commission to Local Government and Local Communities in England.
The full text of the 2007 Act can be accessed at: Local government and public involvement in health act 2007.
Principal councils are also required to have regard to guidance on undertaking community governance reviews, which has been published by the Electoral Commission.
The guidance can be accessed at: Guidance on community governance reviews.
Why undertake a community governance review?
A community governance review can be undertaken in response to demographic changes such as a rise in population, for example as a result of a significant new housing development.
A review can also be triggered if a petition is presented to the principal council asking for a review to be undertaken as the 2007 Act places a duty on principal councils to respond to such a petition. Sections 39-43 of the act set out prescriptive criteria, which the petition must meet in order to be legally valid.
The objective of undertaking a community governance review is to ensure that local governance will continue to be effective and convenient and will reflect the identities and interests of local communities.
Terms of reference for community governance reviews
The 2007 Act requires principal councils to determine and publish the terms of reference under which a community governance review is to be undertaken. It also requires that the terms of reference specify the area under review. If any modifications are made to the terms of reference, these must also be published.
Who undertakes community governance reviews?
As the principal authority, Tewkesbury Borough Council is responsible for undertaking any community governance review within its electoral area.