16.2.1 The Process for reorganization proposals


  1. A local government reorganisation proposal may deal with any or all of the following matters [1]:

    • combining districts or regions

    • creating a new district or region, including a new local authority for it

    • abolishing a district or region, including the local authority

    • altering the boundaries of any district or region

    • transferring a responsibility, duty, power conferred by an enactment or a discretionary function from one local authority to another

    • a proposal that a territorial authority assume the responsibilities, duties and powers of a regional council

    • the performance and exercise by a local authority of the responsibilities, duties, and powers of a regional council in respect of a region and a territorial authority in respect of a district that constitutes a part only of that region

    • establishing one or more joint committees and the delegation of responsibilities, duties, and powers to those committees

    • establishing, abolishing or altering the boundaries of a local board area
    • combining two or more local board areas.

  2. Local government reorganisation applications are made to the Local Government Commission. There is a prescribed process for how the Commission must consider applications [2].  

  3. In the application stage, the commission first makes a decision whether to assess the application, before considering the affected area and whether there is community support for reorganisation. Alternative applications are called for and considered alongside both the original application and the existing arrangements, before the commission determines and notifies its preferred option.

  4. If the current arrangements are the preferred option, the process for that application ends.

  5. If the preferred option is something other than the current arrangements, the application progresses to the proposal stage. At this stage, the commission prepares and consults on a draft proposal before deciding whether or not to issue a final proposal; it may also issue a new draft proposal (which is then consulted on again). Final proposals are publicly notified, including notice to affected electors that they have the right by petition to demand a poll, in which electors will vote on the final proposal.

  6. If a poll is held and more than 50% of valid votes oppose the final proposal, it will not proceed. If more than 50% of valid votes support the proposal (or if no poll is called for) the final proposal will be confirmed by way of Order in Council; a transition agency is set up, and a reorganisation scheme prepared.

  7. Another option for reorganization applications available to local authorities is a 'local authority led reoganisation application' [3]. This empowers one or more local authorities to develop and publicly consulate on a reorganization plan, and submit the plan to the Commission for approval.
  8. Further information on the process can be found on the Local Government Commission’s website [4].



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