Research informs local government legislation in Wales
Research undertaken by Professor Michael Woods and team in Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University has directly led to changes in the powers and regulatory structures of town and community councils in Wales, through legislation (Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011) and new guidance to councils..
These changes have empowered town and community councils to play a greater role in service delivery and community development; promoted wider citizen engagement in community governance; and increased the democratic accountability of local councils.
Provisions introduced by the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 included changes to arrangements for establishing and dissolving town and community councils, community meetings and polls, appointing youth representatives (16-25) and a power for town and community councils to promote well-being in their area. These were directly based on the findings of a research study by Professor Woods and colleagues for the Welsh Government in 2002-3 (now known as the ‘Aberystwyth Report’) that involved a survey of local councils in Wales and detailed case studies. Related research by Professor Woods and team has also informed the development of the Quality Parish and Town Council Scheme in England.
“We welcome the provisions that relate to the promotion and improvement of well-being as a means of providing town and community councils with greater powers and responsibilities. This reflects the findings of the Aberystwyth Report, which recommended that community councils should be given broader powers.” Report of the National Assembly for Wales Legislation Committee 3 on the Proposed Local Government (Wales) Measure, December 2010, paragraph 344, p 102