Dorset Council is carrying out a Community Governance Review of parishes in the Dorset Council area during 2021 to 2022. 

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The public consultation period has now closed.  A Member Working Group will consider all the submissions received and will prepare final recommendations for consideration by Full Council at its meeting on 14 July 2022.

Any changes adopted by Full Council will take effect on 1 April 2024. The first elections under any new community governance arrangements will take place on 2 May 2024.

What is a Community Governance Review?

A Community Governance Review is a legal process where the council will consult with those living in the area, and other interested parties, on the most suitable ways of representing the people in the parishes identified in the review. This means making sure that those living in the area, and other interested groups, have a say in how their local communities are represented.  

What the review can and can’t change

The review can consider one or more of the following options:  

  • creating, merging, altering or abolishing parishes
  • the naming of parishes and the style of new parishes and the creation of town councils  
  • the electoral arrangements for parishes (for instance, the ordinary year of election; council size; the number of councillors to be elected to the council, and parish warding)  
  • grouping parishes under a common parish council or de-grouping parishes  
  • other types of local arrangements, including parish meetings

The review cannot:

  • change the number of councillors on Dorset Council
  • change Dorset Council ward boundaries
  • change the amount of money that a parish council raises through your council tax (known as ‘precept’)

Who carries out the review

Dorset Council is statutorily responsible for carrying out this Community Governance Review. Formal decisions as to the Terms of Reference for the Review and the recommendations arising from the Review will be made by Full Council.

Why we are having a review

The Guidance on Community Governance Reviews issued by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government published in 2008 recommends that principal councils should undertake a Review of its area every 10-15 years.  For some areas of the Council, a Review has not been undertaken for some time and, following the creation of Dorset Council, it is deemed appropriate to undertake a Review of all parishes within its area.  A Community Governance Review offers an opportunity to put in place strong, clearly defined boundaries, tied to firm ground features, and remove any parish boundaries anomalies that may exist. 

What the review will focus on

A Community Governance Review is required to take into account: 

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

The council is required to ensure that community governance within the area under review will:

  • be reflective of the identities and interests of the community in that area; and 
  • be effective and convenient

Any other factors, such as council tax precept levels, cannot be considered.

How the review will be carried out and how you can make representations

Before making any recommendations or publishing final proposals, the council must consult 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 council will therefore: 

  • publish a Notice and Terms of Reference
  • send a copy of the Notice and these Terms of Reference to all parish clerks and to the Dorset Association of Town and Parish Councils
  • send a copy of the Notice and these Terms of Reference to all local Members of Parliament
  • inform local groups and interested parties such as local businesses, local residents’ associations, local public and voluntary organisations such as schools or health bodies

The council recognises that the development of strong, sustainable communities depends on residents’ active participation in decision making in respect of the governance arrangements of parish councils, and the Council is therefore committed to engaging effectively with the diverse communities it serves and to enabling local people to participate meaningfully in the creation of effective community governance arrangements where all people feel able to take an active part in influencing service delivery. 

The timetable below sets out dates for 2 periods of public consultation. The first period of public consultation, based on the Community Governance Review consultation paper, ended on 28 October 2021 and you can view the initial submissions/representations received.  A report of draft recommendations was considered by Full Council at its meeting on 15 February 2022. The second period of public consultation, on the draft recommendations as agreed by Full Council at its meeting on 15 February 2022 ended on 23 May 2022.  

Timetable for the review

The council has to complete the Community Governance Review within 12 months from the day on which it publishes the Terms of Reference. A Community Governance Review is concluded on the day on which the council publishes the recommendations made by the Community Governance Review.

Following a decision made at the Full Council meeting on 14 December 2021, the timetable for the review has been adjusted. The updated timetable is shown below.

Timetable for the Community Governance Review
Action Timeline Details
Report to Full Council 15 July 2021

Council approves the principle of the Community Governance Review and its Terms of Reference. 

Publish Terms of Reference

22 July 2021

(The CGR must be completed within 12 months of the date of publication)

Publish Terms of Reference and notify stakeholders of the commencement of the Review. 

Prepare draft consultation document and invite initial submissions/representations 5 August 2021 to 28 October 2021 (12 weeks)

Initial submissions/ representations invited: 

  • town and parish councils 
  • Dorset Association of Parish and Town Councils (DAPTC) 
  • Member of Parliament 
  • local groups and interested parties such as local businesses, local residents’ associations, local public and voluntary organisations such as schools or health bodies. 
Consider initial submissions/representations received and prepare report for Full Council 29 October 2021 to 15 February 2022

Consider any submissions/representations made and prepare report of draft recommendations for consideration by Full Council at its meeting on 15 February 2022. 

Publish draft recommendations as agreed by Full Council, for further public consultation 28 February 2022 to 23 May 2022 (12 weeks)

Publish draft recommendations as agreed by Full Council, for further consultation with: 

  • all local government electors 
  • all town and parish councils 
  • DAPTC 
  • Member of Parliament 
  • local groups and interested parties
Consider further submissions/ representations and make final recommendations to Full Council 24 May 2022 to 14 July 2022

Consider any further submissions/representations and prepare final report of final recommendations for consideration by Full Council at its meeting on 14 July 2022. 

Publish final recommendations as agreed by Full Council

July 2022

Publish final recommendations as agreed by full Council and make Order. 

Further information

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