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Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021

Section 125 – Shadow councils and shadow executives

538.Merger regulations must include provision about the establishment of the shadow council for the new principal area. As discussed below, the shadow council will exist before the council assumes its full range of functions, and will exist concurrently with the principal councils it will eventually replace. The shadow council will take steps to ensure that the council will be ready, on the transfer date, to assume all of the functions of a principal council.

539.It is intended that in almost all voluntary mergers, the shadow council will be an “elected shadow council”, elected by local government electors in the areas of the merging councils. The shadow council would normally be elected in May in the year before the transfer date, and the shadow councillors take office on the fourth day after the election.

540.Exceptionally, the shadow council may be constituted of all the councillors of the merging councils (a “designated shadow council”). The designated shadow council will be established from a date specified in the merger regulations.

541.The merger regulations must provide for the shadow council (whether elected or designated) to be organised to have a shadow executive in the form of an executive leader and cabinet.

542.The shadow council and its executive will work alongside the councils and executives of the merging authorities during the period (“the shadow period”) from the election or designation of the shadow council until the specified transfer date. The functions of the shadow council and the shadow executive will be set out in the merger regulations.

543.Arrangements for the funding of the shadow council must be included in the merger regulations and these could include placing responsibilities on one or more of the merging councils, particularly in respect of administrating the shadow council’s finances.

544.In the case of an elected shadow council, on the transfer date the merging authorities and their councils will be abolished and the shadow council will automatically take over the full range of functions. No fresh elections will be held.

545.In the case of a designated shadow council, on the transfer date the merging authorities and their councils will be abolished and the designated shadow council will take over. For the initial period after the transfer date (“the pre-election period”), the council of the new principal area will continue to be constituted of the members who were elected to the old merging councils, albeit their old, merging councils will have been abolished on transfer day. Generally, the first elections to the new council will be held as soon as possible, probably on the first Thursday in May after the transfer date. The newly elected councillors will then take over on the fourth day after the elections and those who served on the designated shadow council will retire (albeit some may well have been elected to the new council).

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