Agenda Item No.
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN
CABINET: 9TH JULY, 2012
REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (CORPORATE RESOURCES): 26TH JUNE, 2012
PROPOSALS FOR A SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT BILL – CONSULTATION RESPONSE (CMT) –
Attached as Appendix – Report to Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources): 26th June, 2012
At the request of the Leader the Chairman of the Committee had agreed that the Sustainable Development Bill consultation document be discussed prior to Cabinet making a response, bearing in mind the consultation period was due to end on 18th July 2012. The attached was for consideration by the Corporate Resources Committee.
The Welsh Government (WG) had issued a consultation document on proposals for a Sustainable Development Bill which set out the WG’s proposals to develop and strengthen the approach to sustainable development in Wales. Also appended to the report was a draft consultation response which welcomed the proposals from WG to introduce legislation strengthening the approach to sustainable development but which also outlined some reservations. In addition to the creation of a new sustainable development body, the proposals also included a scrutiny function for the Auditor General for Wales. The response expressed concern that any new requirements did not lead to an overly bureaucratic process and that the legislation would not be too prescriptive, the view being taken that the outcome must be a framework which supported and encouraged organisations to embed sustainable development and not create a compliance culture which stifled innovation and directed resources away from delivering real outcomes.
The Head of Performance and Development emphasised that this Council took sustainable development very seriously, quoting as an example the fact that project managers were required to carry out a sustainable development assessment of all projects. The Council also had a Sustainable Development Working Group and reports on current developments and future proposals were made to this Committee on a six monthly basis.
Members took the view that since sustainability impacted upon every action undertaken by the Council, it should be mainstreamed. There was accordingly a discussion about whether it was appropriate to have two separate bodies both responsible for separate aspects of sustainability. Discussion also ensued as to the inclusion of a heading entitled “Sustainability” in Council reports in order, in part, to raise its profile. The Leader was invited to comment at this juncture, whereupon he indicated that this issue had been debated by the previous administration – the outcome of which had been to expand the categories under “Resource Implications” to include “Climate Change, if appropriate”. The Leader also referred to a report submitted some years ago to this Committee which had updated Members on progress in implementing sustainable development within the Council and sought agreement on priorities for the future. Members requested that a copy of that report be circulated to them for information. The Head of Service again stated that six monthly reports were submitted to this Committee as to the current position.
In conclusion, Members reiterated the need for the profile of sustainability to be enhanced not just within the Council but with external stakeholders, proposing that Cabinet consider ways in which to promote the same.
(1) T H A T the report referred to above be circulated to all Members of the Committee for information.
(2) T H A T it be noted that the latest sustainable development update would be submitted to this Committee for consideration.
(3) T H A T the views of this Committee on the proposed Bill be referred to Cabinet on 9th July 2012 for consideration prior to the end of the consultation period on 16th July.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) For information.
(2) For consideration.
(3) To inform Cabinet of the views of this Committee.