Cheshire East moving towards finalizing community governance recommendations

February 14, 2022

Cheshire East Council is moving into the next phase of finalizing recommendations for the governance arrangements for town and parish councils in the borough.

It follows a 12-week consultation on proposals developed as part of a comprehensive review of community governance. By the end of the consultation on November 28, 2021, the council had received over 4,800 responses.

The views of all consulted respondents and key stakeholders are considered alongside a range of other important issues, including legislation, central government guidance and terms of reference for the review.

Once the responses to the consultation have been fully considered and the implications considered, Council Officers will make recommendations to the Council’s Multi-Stakeholder Community Governance Review Sub-Committee on April 4 and to the corporate policies on April 14. The final outcome of the review will be determined by a special meeting of the full board on April 27.

A borough-wide review has been undertaken as Cheshire East is responsible for governance and electoral arrangements for the borough’s 186 town and parish council wards in 135 town and parish councils.

The review, which follows guidance from the government and the Local Government Boundary Commission for England, aims to ensure that community governance arrangements continue to reflect local identities and facilitate practical and effective local administration.

As communities change over time, government guidelines recommend a review of town and parish governance every 10 to 15 years, to ensure arrangements are fit for purpose. ‘goal. The last was done before Cheshire East Council was established in 2009.

The review covers a range of issues, including city and parish boundaries, number of city and parish councillors, grouping of parishes and boroughs.

The Preliminary Report on the Community Governance Review made a series of draft proposals for consultation late last year, beginning with parishes where no changes are proposed, to other relatively minor proposals and , finally, to larger area or boundary changes – largely adjoining the borough’s urban parishes – which has a ripple effect on surrounding parishes.

This consultation stage gave people and stakeholders the opportunity to advocate for alternative proposals or approve the draft proposals as they were. This review, including extensive consultation and engagement with stakeholders, is an opportunity to ensure that city and parish arrangements meet local needs and are fit for the future.

A multi-disciplinary team of officers has been working on the review since 2019 and members of all council political groups will be involved in making decisions on the future governance arrangements of the borough’s municipal and parish councils.

Cheshire East undertook an initial pre-consultation survey between October 2019 and February 2020 on the scope of the review and the topics and proposals that should be included. Last June, a meeting of the full council agreed to hold a public consultation on the proposals.

There will be no change for change’s sake and nothing is decided. Any changes to be made would follow reflection on the consultation responses – including with city and parish councils and other stakeholders – and a decision by the full council.

This review of community governance does not include electoral arrangements for borough council or parliament seats. These would be the responsibility of Whitehall (the Local Government Boundary Commission and the Boundary Commission for England respectively) and are not currently on offer.

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