Neighborhood governance review aims to strengthen role of parish

The government is to carry out a review of ward governance in England, which could facilitate the establishment of a parish council under new plans revealed in the upgrade white paper.

Announced today, the government’s flagship policy includes the review which will examine ‘how to facilitate the coming together of local people and community groups’.

The review will specifically focus on the “role and functions of parish councils” and how to “make them quicker and easier to establish”.

For areas of England that do not currently have parish councils, the government will consider how the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) can be used to support neighborhood and community activities.

The CIL allows local authorities to charge for new developments in their area to raise funds that can be used to help municipalities provide the infrastructure needed to support development.

Justin Griggs, communications manager at the National Association of Local Councils (NALC), told LGC that the ward governance review is “really welcome” as it shows recognition of the “important role of parish councils in local government”.

He said the NALC hopes the review will open up new avenues of funding for parish councils, so they don’t have to rely so heavily on municipal tax funding.

“Parish councils do not have access to government funding in the same way as other levels of local government,” Mr Griggs said, “they should be able to access funds to be able to provide the range of things that parish councils are responsible.”

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