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Devolution

3. Delivery models

The Cluster Model

Whilst not a requirement to signing up to Tranche 2 of devolved services we would prefer parishes and towns to work together in groups, or 'clusters', for a variety of reasons:

  • It is the best way for us to effectively manage devolution arrangements.
  • Clusters enable parishes to share resources.
  • Clusters can enable larger parishes to deliver services to smaller parishes, especially those who do not have the resources to manage service delivery.
  • Clusters empower parishes to identify the most suitable form of service delivery for their local area.

Towns and parishes are entirely free to work out which if any parishes to cluster with. Clusters are likely to be geographic, although some parishes have already indicated that they may prefer to work with more distant councils that they have more in common with.

Devolution in practice

Taking on devolved services with a cluster could involve very little work for an individual parish. Options that clusters could choose from include:

  • A larger town council delivering services within the town and in neighbouring parishes, using their own employees.
  • A parish council delivering services through a community interest company, which can then train and employ local people.
  • A parish council commissioning commercial subcontractors.

Our offer includes support to co-create the most appropriate model for each model, alongside the provision of resources to work out costs and methods of service provision.

Services in scope

Services are only being devolved where they are of minimum risk to parishes if delivered by the parishes themselves. The essential services included in every arrangement are:

  • Urban grass cuts (number of cuts to be set by the cluster).
  • Weed spraying of noxious and injurious (but not invasive) types (itemised in the First Schedule).
  • Siding of overgrown footways to reinstate full width (as shown in Annual Clearance maps provided for each local council).
  • Responsibility for ensuring hedge cutting is carried out by landowners.

Benefits of clustering for Parishes

  • Allows P&TCs to add value to their role and deliver outcomes that would not be possible working in isolation.
  • By sharing resources, experience and skills P&TCs can:
    • Increase their influence over decisions that affect their communities;
    • Attract more responsibilities, such as delegated services;
    • Lever in funding and resources through external programmes;
    • Achieve economies of scale (which assist the viability of individual councils; and
  • Act as a strong voice for local communities
  • Enhances P&TCs capacity, including:
    • Collaboration in service delivery and resource sharing;
    • Banding together to lobby the principal authority or other agency; and
    • Networking.
  • Sharing of:
    • Experience;
    • Knowledge;
    • Resources;
    • Equipment;
    • Training; and
    • Processes.
  • Gain greater engagement with a broad range of local people by informing, consulting and involving them
  • Ability to react in response to local circumstances
  • Increases the capacity of each P&TC
  • Economies of scale derived from sharing key functions
  • A louder, collective voice on common issues
  • Addressing area-wide issues in a coordinated way
  • Better representation and influence
  • Gaining service delegations which P&TCs would not have gained alone
  • Funding leverage, enabling more effective engagement with funded initiatives and projects
  • Networking and exchanging ideas:
    • Leading to mutual learning and support through exchange of information and an understanding that the solution rests in working together
  • Training:
    • Clustering can be a vehicle for P&TCs to identify and organise their own training requirements
  • Less time spent than individually managing devolved services
  • The (small) size of a parish will not limit their capacity
  • Strengthens the P&TC network infrastructure
  • Enhanced lobbying and influencing position:
  • Based on lessons and experience emerging from clustering
  • Lead Parish has main administrative responsibility
  • Group insurance rather than individual
  • Streamlined organisation of work
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Last updated: 16 March 2017

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