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New govemment guidelines will encourage flexibility in managing the review of local government structures and the p...
New govemment guidelines will encourage flexibility in managing the review of local government structures and the positive cooperation between local councils and other interests, which is necessary to complete the review of local govemment in the English shires, the Local Government Commission for England said today (Nov 22).

Welcoming new procedural guidance issued today by the Secretary of State for the Environment, the Commission's Chief Executive Martin Easteal said, 'The Department has been very helpful in giving the Commission a great deal of flexibility in managing the review. The new guidance also gives us a framework within which the Commission, local councils and other local interests can devise detailed arrangements for conducting each county review.'

'The guidance requires us to finish the review of the English shires within the next twelve months. This entails separate reviews in 29 counties, and therefore local co-operation between local councils and other interested parties, and between them and the Commission, is a vital ingredient in the successful completion of our work.'

'I am pleased to see in most of the review areas, examples of the local interests already talking to each other and sharing information, with a view to making an agreed submission to us. The Commission will do its utmost to facilitate this cooperation.' The Commission has today issued the timetable for the remaining reviews (see following LGCNet item 'LATEST REVIEW TIMETABLE AND TEAMS').

The Department of the Environment today (November 22), issued a Direction to the Commission to undertake the remaining reviews, and revised procedural guidance giving the Commission flexibility in the procedure it should adopt in each case, for the completion of each county review. The Department also endorses the Commission's timetable.

The guidance specifies a minimum nine weeks public consultation phase, but otherwise leaves the Commission freedom to agree detailed local arrangements.

The Commission was set up in 1992 to recommend to the Secretary of State for the Environment any changes to the structure, boundaries and electoral arrangements of local government in the English shires.

It is shortly to complete its recommendations for the first ten county areas to be reviewed: Isle of Wight (completed April 1993), Derbyshire (November), Cleveland/Durham (November), Avon/ Gloucestershire/Somerset and Humberside/Linconshire/North Yorkshire (both January 1994).

The review process in remaining areas will broadly follow a pattern of the Commission examining submissions made to it, and then publishing a draft set of recommendations for public consultation.

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