Section 2 - Democratic arrangements of connected authorities
20.Subsection (1) places a duty on principal local authorities to promote understanding among local people of public bodies (referred to as ‘connected authorities’) which relate to the authority’s area. It requires principal local authorities to promote understanding of what these bodies do and their democratic arrangements, as defined in section 1(3). It also requires them to promote understanding of how members of the public can take part in those arrangements and what taking part is likely to involve.
21.Subsections (2) and (3) specify what the connected authorities are in England. These are public bodies or persons that have a strong local presence, making decisions that are directly relevant to local people in the principal local authority’s area and include:
fire and rescue authorities;
schools and Further Education colleges;
National Park and Broads authorities;
economic prosperity boards and combined authorities;
parish councils and meetings;
for a county council in a two-tier area, a district council;
for a district council in a two-tier area, a county council;
for London boroughs and the Common Council of the City of London, the Greater London Authority and Transport for London.
22.The inclusion of the chief officer of police as a “connected authority” means that the principal local authority is expected to promote understanding about the work of the police force itself, and not just the work of the police authority. This includes “neighbourhood policing” in which every area has a neighbourhood policing team and “the policing pledge” which sets out both locally and nationally the standards the public can expect from the police.
23.Subsections (4) and (5) specify what the connected authorities are in Wales. Subsection (4) largely replicates, in relation to Wales, the provisions of subsection (2), save that the connected authorities do not include Further Education colleges nor those bodies which operate only in England but include equivalent Welsh bodies where appropriate.
24.Subsection (6) enables the “appropriate national authority” (the Secretary of State for England and the Welsh Ministers for Wales) by order to:
add any person or body who has functions of a public nature to the list of connected authorities;
remove a connected authority from the list of connected authorities;
add or remove functions of the Secretary of State on the list of connected authorities.