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

What is a Community Governance Review?

A Community Governance Review is a legal process whereby 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 can and can’t the Community Governance Review 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 this Community Governance 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 is the council undertaking 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 matters will the Review 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 will the Community Governance Review be carried out and how can I 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.

View the Community Governance Review consultation paper, which includes details of the projected electorate for each parish for the next 5 years and other electoral data. 

View the Community Governance Review consultation to make a representation or submission.

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.

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 5 August 2021 to 28 October 2021 (12 weeks)

Initial submissions 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 submissions 29 October 2021 to 14 December 2021

Consider any submissions/representations and prepare report of draft recommendations for Full Council on 14 December 2021. 

Publish draft recommendations 20 December 2021 to 28 February 2022 (10 weeks)

Publish draft recommendations for further consultation with: 

  • all local government electors 
  • all town and parish councils 
  • DAPTC 
  • Member of Parliament 
  • local groups and interested parties 

Publish draft recommendations on Dorset Council website. 

Make final recommendations 14 April 2022 Full Council meeting 

Consider any further submissions/representations and prepare final recommendations for report to Full Council. 

Publish final recommendations

May 2022

Publish final recommendations and make Order. 

Further information and useful links

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