1. Torbay Council (‘the Council’) has resolved to undertake a community governance review (‘the review’) of the whole area of Torbay.
  2. The review will consider whether any changes should be made to existing community governance arrangements within Torbay, including whether new parishes should be created in all areas that are currently unparished and if so, whether new town or parish councils should be created for those areas and the electoral arrangements for those councils.
  3. In undertaking this review the Council will have regard to the Guidance on Community Governance Reviews issued in March 2010 by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and will comply with Part 4 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (‘the 2007 Act’), the relevant parts of the Local Government Act 1972 and regulations issued under those acts.
  4. These terms of reference set out information including the reasons for the review, its projected process and timescale, the matters that it will address and principles that the Council considers should guide the review. The terms of reference will be published on the Council’s website and in hard copy and will be made available at the Council offices and at other venues within the area under review.
  5. Town and parish councils are the most local tier of government in England. They are democratically elected and can play an important role in representing their local community, delivering services to meet local needs and promoting community wellbeing. They are a statutory consultee on planning applications. They may exercise a variety of powers and duties including the delivery of a number of specific local services and may also enter into discussions with the principal council (i.e. Torbay Council) about the transfer of services, budgets and assets subject to mutual agreement. Town and parish and town councils are funded principally through an annual precept – an additional amount added to the Council Tax in their area.

Reasons for the review

  1. The Council is undertaking the review at this time because it considers that the establishment of town or parish councils, which have the ability to raise income through the precept mechanism that is not currently subject to capping rules, could allow for the provision of local services that Torbay Council may be unable to sustain in the future due to resource and demand pressures particularly in the statutory services of Children’s and Adult Services. Town or parish councils may also promote community engagement and effective local government.
  2. In addition, Government guidance states that it is good practice for principal councils to conduct a community governance review every 10-15 years, except in areas with very low populations. No such review has been undertaken in Torbay since the establishment of Brixham Town Council in May 2007.

Community governance reviews

  1. A community governance review is a review of the whole or part of a principal council’s area to consider one or more of the following:
    • Creating, merging, altering or abolishing parishes;
    • The naming of parishes and the style of new parishes;
    • Whether a town or parish council should be established for a new parish area;
    • The electoral arrangements for parishes (the ordinary year of election; council size; the number of councillors to be elected to the council, and parish warding); and/or
    • Grouping parishes under a common parish council or de-grouping parishes.
  2. In accordance with the 2007 Act the Council will have regard to the need to secure community governance within the area under review which:
    • Is reflective of the identities and interests of the community in that area;
    • Provides for effective and convenient local government; and
    • Takes into account any other arrangements for the purposes of community representation or community engagement in the area.
  3. The Council’s principle reason for undertaking the review is set out in paragraph 1.6 above, however in accordance with Government guidance, when considering the above criteria the Council will take into account the impact of community governance arrangements on community cohesion and the size, population and boundaries of a local community or parish; and will seek to make recommendations that bring about improved community engagement, better local democracy and result in more effective and convenient delivery of local services.

Responsibility for the review

  1. As the relevant principal authority, Torbay Council is responsible for conducting any community governance review within its electoral area and for deciding whether to give effect to the recommendations of the review.
  2. In accordance with regulations issued under the Local Government Act 2000, functions relating to Community Governance Reviews are not to be the responsibility of an authority’s executive.
  3. The management of the review will be the responsibility of a project manager appointed by the Director of Corporate Services. The review will be overseen by the Community Governance Review Working Party to which Councillors are appointed by the Council. The Council itself will agree the draft and final recommendations and make any Reorganisation of Community Governance Order.
  1. In coming to its recommendations in the review, the Council will take account of the views of local people and stakeholders.  Legislation requires the Council to consult the local government electors for the area under review and any other person or body who appears to have an interest in the review, and to take the representations that are received into account by judging them against the criteria in the 2007 Act.
  2. In order to promote community engagement and transparency in the Community Governance review, the Council will:-
    • Publish these terms of reference;
    • Publicise the review as widely as possible using electronic means including social media and seek to engage the local media in reporting the issues under review;
    • Consult residents, business organisations, community groups, other local organisations, political parties and elected representatives for the areas under review and Brixham Town Council;
    • Make key documents available at the Council offices and at other venues in the areas under review;
    • Accept submissions by post or via e-mail or the Council’s website;
    • Take into account representations received in connection with the review; and
    • Publicise the draft and final recommendations and the outcome of the review.
  3. The Council will consider each matter under review on its merits and on the basis of the information and evidence provided during the course of the review.