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Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021

Section 134 – Restructuring regulations: supplementary

588.Section 134 enables restructuring regulations to include provision in addition to that set out in sections 132 and 133 to help give effect to a restructuring of any description.

589.Subsection (1) enables restructuring regulations to apply specified provision which applies to voluntary mergers, as set out elsewhere in the Act.

590.Subsection (1)(a) allows such tailoring of the provisions in Chapter 4 of this Part (remuneration arrangements (see below)) so they are appropriate to, and practicable in, the circumstances of a restructuring which entails the creation of a new principal area (as provided for under section 131(b)).

591.Subsections (1)(b) and (1)(c) enables restructuring regulations to include provision which tailors the provision set out in section 127 (elections and councillors) and paragraphs 2 and 3 of Schedule 11 (membership and functions of transition committees (see below)) so they can be made appropriate to, and practicable in, the circumstances of all types of restructuring.

592.The discretion given in section 134(1) to tailor other provision does not enable the regulations to include completely new provision; it must be intended to achieve fundamentally the same objectives as the provision set out in the sections specified and any adaptation etc. is intended merely to accommodate the circumstances of the restructuring in question.

593.Subsection (2) enables restructuring regulations to include provision for the establishment of a committee (or other body) to provide advice and recommendations to specified persons about the transfer (from one principal council to another) of functions and liabilities etc..

594.Such a committee might be needed in the circumstances of restructuring regulations where a principal council was abolished and its area was allocated among several other existing principal councils. A transition committee as provided for in Schedule 11 (as would be established where a new principal area is created) might not be practicable and a committee (potentially including the abolished council and all the receiving councils) might be established under this provision to consider the range of issues involved.

595.Subsection (2) also enables restructuring regulations to include provision for the establishment of a body corporate with the responsibilities and powers described in paragraph (b). Such a body (known in practice as “a residuary body”) would not be needed where the area of the principal council under consideration, is merged in its entirety with the area of another principal council to create a new principal area and council. In a restructuring where the area of the council under consideration is allocated between two or more other principal councils, the appropriate successor council would not always be readily determinable. A residuary body might be established to take over the ownership and disposal of surplus property.

596.If, following consultation under section 129(4) or having received an abolition request, the Welsh Ministers decide not to make restructuring regulations, they must notify all the principal councils which have been involved in the process up to that point.

597.Subsection (4) effectively provides that, in specifying the voting system to be used at the first ordinary elections to a new principal council, established under restructuring regulations, the restructuring regulations may specify only the first past the post or single transferable vote systems.

598.The choice of voting systems reflects the systems set out in section 7 of this Act. Under section 175(6), the provisions relating to the choice of voting system come into force on 6 May 2022 (the day after the first scheduled ordinary local government elections taking place after the passing of the Act).

599.If the Welsh Ministers have given notice of their proposals in respect of a restructuring under section 129(6) before the choice of voting system provisions come into force, the first elections to the resulting new council will have to be held using the first past the post system (subsection (5)).

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Text created by the Welsh Government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of Senedd Cymru.


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