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Clustering and Community Interest Companies

Organising centrally on behalf of smaller town and parish councils

Clustering allows one town or parish council to carry out tasks and services on behalf of other parishes. It also allows smaller town and parish councils to make the most of new powers granted in the Localism Act 2011.  

Clustering arrangements will depend on the objectives of individual town and parish councils, they work best if town and parish councils have common interests and are in geographical proximity to each other. They can be simple, informal arrangements or have a more formal structure, such as a Community Interest Company.

Benefits of clustering

Clustering could be beneficial for your town and parish council, it means that:

  • there will be more capacity for undertaking services and tasks
  • there will be more shared knowledge and experience
  • more of the local communities are looked after
  • concerns of several town and parish councils have an louder voice
  • there is a greater resilience
  • there are different funding opportunities due to there being the opportunity to undertake larger projects

Setting up a cluster

We've put together a list of things that you might want to consider when setting up a cluster group:

  • be clear about the reasons for clustering and have clear priorities
  • membership of the group depends on the objectives and common interests of town and parish councils
  • establish an appropriate leadership model for the cluster
  • consider the governance model you want; make sure it is proportionate to the objectives
  • the financial model to be adopted will need to be agreed
  • progress should be regularly monitored and reviewed against objectives

Community Interest Companies

A Community Interest Company is a more formal arrangement between town and parish councils, to carry out work on their behalf. There is more information on setting up a social enterprise on

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