Issue - meetings

Reorganisation of Local Government

Meeting: 15/10/2020 - Council (Item 8)

8 Community Governance Review WBC20-025 pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Bittleston introduced a report which set out proposals for plans to be drafted for community governance in Woking.  It had been intended that the plans would be formally considered as part of a Community Governance Review if proposals for unitary authorities in Surrey were taken forward.  In recent days Surrey County Council had confirmed that it would not be pursuing its aims to create a single unitary authority across Surrey.  However, it was still considered appropriate to take the proposals forward.


That  (i)    preparatory work be carried out to form the basis of draft proposals for community governance structures in Woking;

          (ii)   the draft proposals arising from (i) above form the basis of a Community Governance Review if proposals for unitary authorities across Surrey are agreed; and

          (ii)   the Elections and Electoral Registration Review Panel be responsible for overseeing all work in relation to the pre-Review scoping exercise and the conduct of the Community Governance Review.

Meeting: 10/09/2020 - Executive (Item 7)

7 Reorganisation of Local Government EXE20-056 pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Reporting Person – Ray Morgan

Additional documents:


The Leader of the Council introduced the report which sought approval of the Executive to enable the Council to respond to the forthcoming proposals in respect of the Government White Paper on Devolution and Local Government.  It was reported that Simon Clarke MP, the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, had resigned on 8 September 2020 and had been replaced by Luke Hall MP.  The Leader of the Council set out the background to the paper and advised that Surrey County Council was pursuing a proposal to establish a single unitary authority.  It was noted that the Surrey Borough and District Councils were jointly investigating appropriate unitary arrangements.  The Executive was informed that each District and Borough Council had agreed to provide £30,000 towards joint work to investigate alternative proposals, and for communication and consultation with residents.

Following a question regarding the possible cancellation of elections next year, the Executive heard that the Secretary of State had the power to suspend elections up until mid-March without requiring an Act of Parliament.  The position regarding Covid would also be a factor in whether elections next year could be held successfully.

The possible effect of Local Government reorganisation on unfinished projects, such as the Victoria Square development, was raised.  The Director of Legal and Democratic Services reported that under every Local Government reorganisation which had taken place, all the rights, liabilities and obligations of any Local Government entity which had been abolished were transferred by Act of Parliament and statutory instrument to the successor authority.  Therefore the Council’s obligation to fund the Victoria Square development would pass to whatever unitary authority took over, if that was the result of the reorganisation.

The Executive noted that Officers would report on preparations for a Governance Review at Council on 15 October 2020.  The Governance Review would be to establish a Town Council and/or Parish Councils, as Woking did not have any Parish or Town Councils.  The Leader commented that Parish and/or Town Councils could form the platform of more local representation under any unitary arrangement in Surrey.  The role of Neighbourhood Forums would also be considered in the Review.


That  (i)    the current work in respect of unitary authority arrangements be noted;

          (ii)   the use of £30,000 of contingency approved under delegated authority be noted; and

          (iii)  preparations be made for a Governance Review and reported to Council for approval at its meeting on 15 October 2020.

Reason:   To enable the Council to respond to the proposals for unitary authorities.