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Community Governance Reviews

2019-20 Community Governance Review for Cornwall

Parish and Town Councils are the first tier of local government. They play a vital role in engaging with local people and helping to shape their communities.

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Cornwall has 213 civil parishes each with its own governance body.  These include:

  • a city council
  • 28 town councils
  • 167 parish councils
  • a community council 
  • 16 parish meetings  

For convenience, they are generally referred to as “local councils” or “parish councils.”

Cornwall Council is currently undertaking a Community Governance Review for the whole of Cornwall. This provides an opportunity to review and make changes to governance arrangements at parish level. This is to ensure they are working as efficiently and effectively as they should be. It also ensures that they are reflective of the identity and interest of local communities. We will work closely with local councils and parish meetings and with the Cornwall Association of Local Councils (CALC) as part of this review.

What can the Community Governance Review change?

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

  • It can make changes to parish areas – including:
    • changes to boundaries between parishes
    • mergers of two or more parishes 
    • creating a new parish out of part of one or more existing parishes
  • It can make changes to electoral arrangements within parish areas – including:
    • changes to the number of parish councillors
    • introducing or changing parish warding arrangements
  • It can accommodate changing the name of a parish
  • It can accommodate the grouping together of parishes under a common parish council.

Why has Cornwall Council decided to undertake a review now?

  •  In 2018, the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE)’s review of Cornwall Council’s electoral arrangements decided there will be 87 Cornwall Council electoral divisions from 2021. As a result of the LGBCE electoral review, changes to ward boundaries within 29 parishes have been imposed by the Commission. It makes sense to provide an opportunity to review wider governance arrangements in those parishes.
  • The last time a full review of community governance arrangements has taken place across most of Cornwall was in the 1970s. Since then many towns and villages have grown. Many of these developments have crossed parish boundaries or have created new communities with their own local identity.
  • The role of parish and town councils has also developed significantly since the 1970s. The Government sees Community Governance Reviews as an opportunity to ensure communities have effective community governance in place, with parish and town councils that can effectively make use of their new powers and responsibilities.

Cornwall Council has to ensure that community governance arrangements are:

  • Reflective of the identities and interests of the community in that area

  • Effective and convenient (this relates to the ability of parishes to provide services for its residents).

Any proposed governance arrangements will need to be considered in that light.

How does the Community Governance Review work?

Under the Local Government and Public Health Involvement Act, 2007 Cornwall Council is responsible for carrying out Community Governance Reviews. This is in accordance with government guidance.

The conduct of the review will be overseen by the Council's Electoral Review Panel.

In December 2018 we wrote to all town and parish councils to seek their initial views on whether a review was needed in their parish. We also attended the Cornwall Association of Local Councils conference on 16 February 2019 to talk about the process.

In March we published the Terms of Reference and the timetable for the review. We have also published a range of supporting information. This has details about the current arrangements and information to help inform the review, including a Frequently Asked Questions document.

Between the end of March and July 2019 town and parish councils, local residents and other interested persons, groups or organisations, were able to provide a submission for any particular changes (including no change) they want to make to the current governance arrangements.

We published details of all submissions received and arranged a series of public engagement meetings to invite views from residents and parish council representatives around key proposals that would involve significant boundary changes and/or the creation of new parishes. The Panel also invited parish and town councils to provide comments in writing by 4 October 2019 on any submissions by third parties affecting their parish.

The Panel discussed the submissions and feedback received and put forward a set of draft recommendations which were discussed at an extraordinary meeting of Cornwall Council on 10 December 2019 and agreed with a number of amendments as the basis for public consultation.

We consulted on Cornwall Council's draft recommendations for the Cornwall Community Governance Review until 24 March 2020. We received over 1,000 responses from local residents, town and parish councils and other interested groups or organisations.

Please visit our Community Governance Review Consultation Page to find out more about the proposals and the consultation.

The original timetable for the review was set to ensure the agreed changes could be implemented in good time so they can take effect at the 2021 local council elections. The review was keeping up with this timetable up until the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. This unfortunately meant work had to be paused. In July the Electoral Review Panel decided to proceed with as much as possible of the review in time for the May 2021 elections. Some of the issues inevitably remain complicated and controversial. This means it is very likely that parts of the review will need to be completed following the May 2021 elections.
 
The Panel is currently considering the detailed results of the public consultation. It will make recommendations with regards to any changes to the draft proposals. This will be done at three meetings of the Electoral Review Panel - on: 

  • Wednesday 23rd September
  • Thursday 1st October
  • Tuesday 6th October

The Panel is expected to recommend either a change, no change, or a deferral of the decision relating to each parish. Cornwall’s Full Council will then consider these recommendations at an extraordinary meeting on 3 November 2020.

The meetings of the Panel can be followed live. A recording of the meeting will be available afterwards. If you have comments on the recommendations, please contact your local Cornwall Councillor as soon as possible ahead of the Council meeting on 3 November 2020.

Indicative Timetable for the Cornwall Community Governance Review 2019-2020

StageActionDates
Terms of Reference Publish Terms of Reference and timetable for review and provide supporting datasets via the CGR website 25.03.2019
Stage 1 Initial submissions invited 26.03.2019 to 17.07.2019
Stage 2

Council considers submissions received and formulates draft recommendations

18.07.2019 to 10.12.2019
Stage 3 Draft recommendations published and comments sought through a public consultation 11.12.2019 to 24.03.2020
Stage 4 Council considers contributions received and formulates final recommendations to Full Council. Consequential matters to be referred to Local Government Boundary Commission where required July to October 2020
Final recommendations Full Council makes final decision. 03.11.2020
Next steps

Re-organisation Order made for changes agreed by Council.

Cornwall Council to consider deferred issues, following May 2021 elections

From December 2020

 

More information

If you have any comments or queries please email the Community Governance Reviews mailbox: CGRs@cornwall.gov.uk