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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet: 23rd July 2012

 

Report of the Leader

 

Pre-Cabinet Decision Scrutiny

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To consider means of increasing the level of pre-Cabinet decision scrutiny by relevant Scrutiny Committees prior to Cabinet determining matters.

Recommendation

That future Cabinet Forward Work Programmes be produced in a format that specifically indicates which items are to be subject to pre-Cabinet decision scrutiny and, if considered appropriate, public consultation.

Reason for the Recommendation

To provide for increased involvement of non-Executive Members in matters of policy development and other areas prior to such being formally determined by Cabinet.

 

Background

2.             In considering its Forward Work Programme for May to July 2012, Cabinet on 30th May 2012 resolved

 

"(3)        T H A T, where appropriate, Cabinet reports be subject to a pre- Cabinet scrutiny process.

 

(4)          T H A T in order to ensure Resolution (3) above is carried out, the Operational Manager (Democratic Services) submit a further report for consideration by the Cabinet on policy arrangements to facilitate such, including the scope for public consultation." (Minute No. C1725 refers.)

 

Relevant Issues and Options

3.             The new administration has already made clear its commitment to fully engage with relevant parties / stakeholders as much as possible in delivering services for residents of the Vale of Glamorgan.  This philosophy also extends to a desire to increase the involvement of the non-Executive Members on the Council in respect of Cabinet's Forward Work Programme.  An important element of pre-decision scrutiny is that it affords Scrutiny Committee Members the opportunity to participate in, and potentially shape, future policy development and Cabinet decisions.  Good practice suggests that this, in turn, provides Cabinet with a wider perspective on which to subsequently consider and determine matters. 

4.             Clearly, there will be instances when it is not practicable to engage the scrutiny process prior to a matter going before Cabinet.  Furthermore, it would be inappropriate to simply overburden Scrutiny Committees' own schedules and work programmes by systematically referring each and every matter coming before Cabinet to a Scrutiny Committee beforehand. 

5.             A balance needs to be achieved as far as pre-decision scrutiny is concerned.  The obvious starting point is for the Cabinet Forward Work Programme, when published, to incorporate specific reference to which items are to be submitted to the relevant Scrutiny Committee prior to Cabinet.  This is a simple administrative process which needs to be undertaken and scheduled into working arrangements accordingly.  Similarly, the Work Programme template should include scope for indicating where public consultation is intended.

6.             In addition to the above, thought should be given to a closer correlation between the Work Programmes of Cabinet and Scrutiny Committees when they are being drawn up. 

7.             The suggestions outlined above, whilst basic, are set out with the aim of reinforcing the message of scrutiny as a "critical friend" to Cabinet.  The involvement of the relevant Scrutiny Committee can help to air and, hopefully, resolve contentious issues at an early stage and, in turn, reduce the possibility of disagreement later on.  However, it will be necessary to seek to ensure that pre-decision scrutiny adds genuine value.  In general, the involvement of scrutiny is best done towards the end of the preparation of a report so that, in effect, Members are able to comment on the information due to go before Cabinet (rather than at the embryonic stage of the report or policy development).

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

8.             There are no direct implications as a result of the report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

9.             The Council is required to comply with the provisions of the Local Government Act 2000 and Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 with regard to its decision making arrangements, including the scrutiny process.

Crime and Disorder Implications

10.        There are no direct implications as a result of the report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

11.        There are no direct implications as a result of the report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

12.         

Policy Framework and Budget

13.        This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

14.        No consultation with Ward Members is required.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

15.        Corporate Resources.

Background Papers

 

Contact Officer

Jeff Wyatt, Operational Manager - Democratic Services.

 

Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team

 

Responsible Officer:

Jeff Wyatt, Operational Manager - Democratic Services.

 

 

 

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