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Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009

Section 1 - Democratic arrangements of principal local authorities

16.Subsection (1) places a duty on principal local authorities to promote understanding of their functions and their democratic arrangements. “Democratic arrangements” are defined under subsection (3). The subsection also requires those authorities to promote understanding of how members of the public can take part in those arrangements and what taking part is likely to involve.

17.Subsection (2) expands on subsection (1)(c) to require principal local authorities to promote understanding of the role of councillors, how to become one, and the support that is available to councillors to assist them in their role.

18.Subsection (3) defines the principal local authorities on whom the duty is placed. This covers all county and district councils in England (including unitary authorities), London borough councils and the Common Council of the City of London, and county and county borough councils in Wales.

19.Subsection (3) also defines “democratic arrangements” to mean the arrangements for people to participate in or influence the making of decisions including where those decisions are made by the local authority in partnership or conjunction with any other person. This would include opportunities for people to participate in or influence decision-making such as by:

  • standing and serving as a councillor;

  • voting to elect representatives;

  • making representations to councillors and other directly elected representatives including by submitting petitions;

  • taking part in consultations, formal forums, panels and public meetings, including attending the public parts of council meetings;

  • taking on a civic role such as school governor or independent custody visitor.

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