Community governance review background

The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 Act provides for principal councils such as Slough Borough Council to undertake ‘community governance reviews’ of the whole or part of their area. Chapter 3 of Part 4 of the Act devolves the power to take decisions about matters such as the creation of parishes and their electoral arrangements to local government and local communities in England.

What is a Community Governance Review?

The council is required by the Act to ensure that community governance within the Borough area:

  • reflects the identities and interests of the local community and,
  • is effective and convenient.

In carrying out the review the council must also take into account:

  • the impact of community governance arrangements on community cohesion and,
  • the size, population and boundaries of a local community or parish.

It is for the council to decide how to undertake the review, but it must consult the local government electors for the area under review and any other person or body (including a local authority) which appears to the council to have an interest in the review.

The review is being conducted in accordance with agreed Terms of Reference. It covers the whole borough and may consider one or more of the following:

  • creating, merging, altering or abolishing parishes,
  • the naming of parishes and the style of new parishes,
  • the electoral arrangements for parishes (the ordinary year of election; council size,
  • the number of councillors to be elected to the council, and parish warding) and,
  • grouping parishes under a common parish council or de-grouping parishes.

A timetable has been agreed for the review. Any adjustments to the programme and timetable will be approved by the council and published here.

Following the review, the council must make recommendations on: 

  • whether a new parish or any new parishes should be constituted,
  • whether existing parishes should or should not be abolished or whether the area of existing parishes should be altered or,
  • what the electoral arrangements for new or existing parishes, which are to have parish councils, should be.

It may also make recommendations about:

  • the grouping or degrouping of parishes,
  • adding parishes to an existing group of parishes,
  • making related alterations to the boundaries of a principal council’s electoral areas.

In deciding what recommendations to make, the council must also take into account any other arrangements (apart from those relating to parishes and their councils) that have already been made, or that could be made, for the purposes of community representation or community engagement in the Borough eg neighbourhood forums, residents associations etc.

If the council implements the recommendations made in its review it will need to draw up a reorganisation order to give effect to its decisions. As soon as practicable after making an order, the council must inform all of the following that the order has been made:

  • the Secretary of State,
  • the Electoral Commission,
  • the Office of National Statistics,
  • the Director General of the Ordnance Survey,
  • any other principal council whose area the order relates to.

If you would like to know more about community governance reviews, guidance has been produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.