Agenda item

Briefing Paper - Crewe Community Governance Review

The Sub-Committee is asked to discuss the briefing paper which sets out the proposed procedure for conducting the review, having regard to statutory guidance and criteria.



The Sub-Committee had been appointed by the Constitution Committee on 2nd June 2011 to conduct a Borough-wide review of community governance arrangements in order of the priority listed below:


a.      A review of the unparished areas of Crewe; in accordance with the Notice of Motion to Council on 14 October 2010


b. A review of the unparished areas of Macclesfield; in accordance with the representations made by the Macclesfield Civic Society


c.  A review of parishes in the Borough, with particular focus on areas where there is evidence that parish councils are not fully functional or not operating effectively; due to a lack of parish councillors being elected; or where very small parishes exist which may benefit from a grouping arrangement to facilitate the localism agenda


Members noted that as the Review moved around the Borough, the Sub-Committee’s membership would be reviewed so that Members of appropriate knowledge and experience could participate.


The Sub-Committee considered an initial briefing paper outlining the process to be followed in conducting a Community Governance Review (CGR). The paper was based on the ‘Guidance on Community Governance Reviews’ issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Electoral Commission. Copies of the Guidance were circulated at the meeting.


Since February 2008 the decision-making powers relating to the creation of parishes and their electoral arrangements had been devolved from the Secretary of State and the Electoral Commission to principal Councils.


Cheshire East Council could decide whether to give effect to the recommendations made arising from a CGR provided it took into account the views of local people.


It was anticipated that the Crewe CGR would take about 12 months.


A draft project plan for the Review had been circulated with the report. This was intended to be a initiating document to aid project planning. The time scales would be regularly reviewed and updated as appropriate.


The consultation stages of the Review would be critical to the process. The Sub-Committee therefore needed to:

?       agree a list of consultees

?       agree the methods of consultation to be used

?       agree the timing of the consultation stages


It was suggested that as with the Wilmslow Review, the Crewe CGR should begin with two public meetings to give interested parties the opportunity to express their views in a public forum. The meetings would comprise an Officer presentation followed by public questions. They would constitute a listening exercise in which public views would be gathered.


An explanatory leaflet would be prepared and distributed to consultees, outlining the details of the review and the options being consulted. A proposed list of consultees had been circulated. Examples of the explanatory leaflets used in previous Reviews were circulated at the meeting. Members felt it was important that organisations were asked to submit views relevant to the particular business or activity they were involved in. They should also be asked whether they thought that some form of local community governance would help or hinder service delivery in their communities.


The Cheshire East website would be used to encourage feedback online. It would also serve as the main source of information on the review.


Members commented that the information gathered from previous reviews constituted a valuable resource and should be used.


Following the initial consultation stage, a postal ballot of the electorate would be conducted. The Sub-Committee would need to consider the wording and format of the ballot paper. Examples of the ballot papers used in previous Reviews were circulated at the meeting.


In considering the results of the consultation and in formulating recommendations, Members would be required to ensure that the community governance within the area  under review would be:

?       reflective of the identities and interests of the community in that area; and

?       effective and convenient.


The guidance also indicated that as part of the review, other viable options should be considered to determine if they represented a better option in terms of addressing the criteria.


The Review would need to give consideration to the electoral arrangements that should apply in the event that a Parish or Town Council was established.






(1)   subject to amendment as appropriate to incorporate the decisions of the Sub-Committee set out below, the project plan and timetable for the Crewe Community Governance Review be approved and adopted;


(2)   the proposed consultation methods for the Review be approved and further consideration be given to the leaflet and publicity arrangements at the next meeting;


(3)   the proposed list of consultees be approved subject to the following amendments and to consultation with LAP managers:


a.      the following be added:

?       GPs Consortium

?       Crewe Alexander Football Club

?       Crewe Guardian

?       CAT FM

?       Market Traders

?       Ocean (Cheshire) Ltd

?       Crewe Urban Vision

?       A Voice for Crewe

?       Willaston Parish Council

?       Age Concern


b.      the following be deleted:

?       Wistaston Green Partnership

?       South East Cheshire Enterprise Ltd

?       LMR Sports Club


c.      the following be amended:

?       C&N Senior Voices be amended to Senior Voice


Any further amendments be notified to Lindsey Parton by 1st August.


(4)   public consultation meetings be held as follows:


Thursday, 15th September 2011 (evening)

Friday, 16th September 2011 (afternoon)


Venues to be confirmed.


(5)   further meetings of the Sub-Committee be held as follows:


Friday, 19th August 2011 at 1.30 pm

Thursday, 22nd September 2011 at 10.30 am

Tuesday, 8th November 2011 at 10.00 am


All to be held in Crewe if possible.


Supporting documents: