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Parish council ‘clusters’ could manage county council services

Bucks County Council (BCC) is proposing to give parish councils greater powers as part of a new ‘clusters’ initiative it plans to implement.

The parish council clusters – of between five and 20 authorities – would manage services in each parish, rather than through the county council.

BCC has been working with 23 town and parish councils for several years to support them to take on a range of services.  According to the local authority, the main benefits of devolution are that it builds local ownership and enables parishes to take control over how services are delivered. It is now seeking to roll out the programme.

As well as taking control of services, BCC has set aside a budget of £900,000 in scope for 2015-16 for the services, and £700,000 in the following three years – with each town and parish council receiving a budget from this money each year.

A number of parishes have fed back to BCC that they will not be able to make decisions on ‘clustering’ by the end of August. The county council, however, has now agreed that where clusters wish to commence services from April 2015, it would like an informal commitment to proceed in September 2014.

Where clusters would be looking to commence services from April 2016, it does not yet need a formal response, although it would like to be kept up to date with the progress of discussions.

A BCC spokesperson told the Windsor Observer: “We have been going to different areas, holding meetings with the local area forums and parish councils, to discuss and put forward what the possibilities are and if they are interested in coming forward with it.

“It is not just a cost saving measure. It is passing control downwards so that they can do it when they want, and they can get a service that is more regular.”

To learn more about the devolution plans visit:

The portal has been set up to provide towns and parishes with all the information they need to effectively consider and plan for taking on devolved services

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Richard H Smith   11/08/2014 at 13:32

The Hertfordshire CC Locality Budget scheme gives each of 77 C Cllrs £100,000/year (£10k for community projects and £90k for highways local schemes) with strong emphasis on local member involvement - including with Parish/Town Councils. What member involvement would there be with the BCC proposed scheme?

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