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Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021

Section 34 - Common community councils established after this Act is passed

204.Under sections 27E and 27F of the 1972 Act community meetings have the power to apply for an order grouping their communities together under a common community council.

205.When such a common community council is formed it is effectively a new council; even if it is comprised in full or in part of communities which previously had separate community councils (and this section of the Act only applies where at least half of the communities in question had separate community councils).

206.Although a new common community council may be able to meet the eligibility conditions relating to the proportion of elected members (since the order made by the principal council would make provision for an election) and could have a qualified clerk from the offset, it would be unable to satisfy the third eligibility condition of having two unqualified Auditor General audit opinions.

207.This could mean, for example, that the new council, despite being constituted of councils which had previously been able to resolve themselves to be eligible community councils, would not be able to do so for at least two years.

208.To ensure there is no disincentive to forming a common council where communities feel it would best serve the interests of their community, subsection (2) disapplies the eligibility condition set out in section 30(4) for a fixed period for certain common community councils.

209.A common community council in which at least half of the communities had separate community councils that, immediately before the order grouping them met the third eligibility condition, will not have to meet the third eligibility condition until it has received two Auditor General audit opinions (but if the first opinion is qualified, it will be treated as no longer meeting the eligibility conditions).

210.This section only applies to common community councils formed since the Act was passed. Any common community councils in place before the Act was passed have been in place for sufficient time to build up an audit record in their own right (though section 35(3) provides a more general power, not specific to new community councils, to modify or disapply eligibility conditions during the first two years after the Chapter comes into force).

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