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Community Governance review - Dissolving a Parish Committee.

0 votes
The community Governance review is due by the 19th of this month and following a few years of unhappiness, lack of interest and general malaise it has been voiced that the time maybe right to dissolve our Parish Committee.

My question is to anyone with experience on this matter who could highlight and pros or cons for this choice.

The plan is be absorbed by another, willing, Parish who would take over the running of the Parish and in affect we would become a Ward. I need to be armed with as many pros and cons so that the Parish can make an informed decision and don't seem to be able to find definitive answers. All search engines come uo with is locals fighting with councils and wanting them dissolved, which isn't our case.

Any help, guidance or a good steer would be gratefully received.
by (380 points)

3 Answers

0 votes
No direct experience of dissolving a parish but some experience of the opposite process when a parish council was created following some extensive building which meant that the original parish consisted of two quite different and diverse wards which didn't work well together so a request was put in for the council to be split.  Was a lengthy, complicated process although worked out OK in the end but took some years.  I'd suggest you need to tread carefully here, find a neighbouring parish willing and able to take a new area on that would be willing to be warded and with an arrangement that benefits both parishes/wards as its easy for one to be dominated by the other.  Of course, you also need residents to agree too so I presume you've canvassed them?
by (4.2k points)
Thank you for the response. It is very much a case of treading carefully. I have no doubt there will be an element that doesn't want it to happen, but we find ourselves in the same situation as, probably, many other Parishes in that no one wants to be involved but doesn't want to lose it!

I have a meeting tomorrow to discuss the situation with this present and will then circulate the discussion electronically for this unable to attend to have their say!

If I can find someone to take over from me then all will continue as is, but I think that is highly unlikely and with a small window of opportunity it needs be dealt with else ill be Chair, Clerk and chief battle washer until the next governance!

I will ask around other parishes local to us wanted to get the Parishes backing before I did or didn't do too much leg work!

I can't find anything that lays it out in easy terms. For instance we don't have a Parish precept as it is always set at Zero, but I've been told that if we are taken over by another parish it will be one Precept that covers us all! I don't know how to confirm this or other things and have zero experience in the matter.
I'm following this with interest and not compeltely relevant to you . What does your local authority have to say? I ask because my LA is currently undergoing a Community Governance review with selected PCs. PCs are to be merged with neighbouring PCs as they are deemed to offer no value to the electorate. Some PCs have been unable to fill vacancies since 2019 ( last election) and some such as yours have zero precept.  Interesting times ahead.
As I've said, limited experience other than I can confirm that what happens in effect is that a single parish is created from the two (or more) that merge with a single precept covering the entire parish so yes it will result in a precept where there is none at the moment as the larger new parish will spread the cost of administration over the whole (new) parish.  I understand that on paper this doesn't look promising but this is an opportunity (the precept, not the merger) to pay for things to be done locally that your principal authority can't or won't pay for such as grass cutting. footpath repairs, local events and activities.  Maybe lack of interest locally is that without any funding at all, what on earth can you do?
I've spoken to my local council and it appears that Government want to get rid of Parish Committees and make everything a minimum of PC, which was an option I was given. The problem being that I was told I would need a minimum of 5 individuals to run it! I sense a huge change in the way local committees and councils are going to be run. As you say, interesting times ahead!
Our problem is, is that we have no facilities at all! No footpaths, no lighting and no facilities that the local council usually take care of! The church is looked after by its own volunteers and our village hall has its one committee. The road is the only obvious thing, besides the rubbish collection, that is taken care of by the council!

If there wasn't the 'Sword of Damocles' hanging over us with reference to the precept, I think it would be a done deal. Unless, of course, there is something in the background I am totally unaware of!

Thank you again for your continued comments.
But the parish council could be a wonderful support to existing organisations by providing on-going funding which is vital to keep local resources afloat (particularly at this point in time) with funding that is difficult to obtain from elsewhere.   It doesn't have to provide direct services to be of use to the community it serves.
0 votes
You need to do a google search for Statutory Guidance on Community Governance Reviews issued jointly by the Department for Communities and Local Government, and the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.  It was issued in March 2010.
by (2.7k points)
Thank you. I'll seek out the review and have a read.

Appreciate your reply.
0 votes
You are talking about dissolving a Parish Council by having it subsumed into a another Parish by a Community Governance review, so I don't know why you mentioned a committee.  Were  you referring to a Parish Meeting body?

There are several things you haven't told us.  Who initiated the review?  Will the Principal Authority be considering several new options or just keep things as they are against the New enlarged Parish? Will the Principal Authority be taking views prior to the decision or holding a referendum?

Not knowing the answers above, the PA may choose to come to their own view about what paid staff are needed so your views may not be taken into account.  They could also decided which PC will expand to incorporate your boundary, whether the PC wants it or not.

The big risk is that if residents suddenly find themselves precepted they might resent it if they aren't given a choice on what services they want and how much they are prepared to pay for them. They could potentially petition the PA for a New Governance review to be de parished down the line.
by (30.4k points)

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