Community Governance Review consultation

Current governance arrangements

Consultation closed: 5pm, 1 February 2018

Wherever you live in Central Bedfordshire, you will have two councils providing services; us and a parish council.

We cover the whole of Central Bedfordshire and provides services such as social care, bin collections, road maintenance and planning.

The area is also divided up into 71 parish councils and 8 parish meeting areas. A parish council serving a town may be called a town council but it has the same powers, duties and status as a parish council.

The role played by parish councils varies. Smaller parish councils have only limited resources and generally play only a minor role, while some larger parish councils have a role similar to that of a small district council. Typically, a parish or town council looks after certain local facilities such as allotments, bus shelters, parks, playgrounds, public seats, public toilets, public clocks, village or town halls, maintenance of footpaths, cemeteries, village greens and various leisure and recreation facilities. However, the exact responsibilities vary between councils. Find out more about the role of town and parish councils.

Everyone in Central Bedfordshire pays the same council tax for us, police and fire and rescue, but the amount you pay for your local parish council can vary. Each parish council sets its own council tax (called a precept). Should changes in boundaries occur as a result of this review, please be aware that there could be a financial implication as the council tax for a different parish may not be the same.

Parish and town councils vary enormously in size, representing populations ranging from fewer than 100 (small rural hamlets) to 41,000 (Leighton-Linslade Town Council). Parishes with fewer than 150 electors are usually deemed too small to have a parish council, and instead will have a parish meeting; there are eight areas with parish meetings in Central Bedfordshire. You can see a map and a list of parish councils and meetings in appendices A and B of the consultation document (PDF 560.4KB) .

Councillors are elected to town and parish councils by the local community every four years.

Some of the larger town council areas and parishes have been divided into wards, each having their own elected representative on the parish council. This helps to ensure that the views from the whole parish are represented on the council. There are nine parishes in Central Bedfordshire that have been divided into wards, these are shown in the list of parishes in appendix B of the consultation document (PDF 560.4KB) .