Agenda Item No.
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
CABINET: 29TH JULY, 2013
REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (LIFELONG LEARNING): 24TH JUNE, 2013
" RELEASE OF PART II SCRUTINY REPORT: SCHOOL PLACES REVIEW (CLSO) –
Committee were advised in relation to the request to release the Part II report of the Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee School Places Review Task and Finish Group.
The Part II report of the School Places Review Task and Finish Group was considered by the Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee on 21st January 2013. The report and recommendations were approved and referred to Cabinet for consideration.
The report was considered by Cabinet on 4th February 2013.
Councillor Jarvie had now requested that the Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee consider releasing the Part II report.
It was reported that, building on the work of the Scrutiny Committee School Places Review Group, Cabinet was developing a range of proposals which it intended consulting upon in due course. Whilst it was accepted that the Scrutiny Committee’s report must be released at some point in the future, it was not considered to be in the public interest to do so at the present time for the following reasons:
· two sets of proposals would be in the public domain at the same time which was likely to cause confusion, and could prejudice the outcome of consultations
· it was possible that one or more of the recommendations put forward by the Scrutiny Committee would be taken forward by the Cabinet and the original reason for exemption (exemption 15: contemplation of consultations relating to labour relations matters between the Authority and employees of the Authority) was therefore still applicable. In essence, this meant that some proposals would have staffing implications and the release of the proposals prior to consultation could prejudice the outcome of consultation and negotiations with the Trade Unions.
Councillor Jarvie, in support of his Request for Consideration, felt that it was accepted that the report would be released at some time in the future and reminded Committee that some of the contents of the report were already in the public domain. Furthermore, Cabinet on 4th March 2013 had divulged the names of three of the schools subject to the report.
Councillor Jarvie expressed the view that the report should have been made available to the public when agendad for consideration by Cabinet. The view was also expressed that Cabinet was not giving the Scrutiny Committee the respect to which it was entitled, and that the Part II restriction should be rescinded with immediate effect.
Officers responded by stating that the reasons for the classification of the report as Part II were contained in paragraph 6 of the report. It was possible that, should Cabinet issue a set of proposals, then this could result in confusion to the general public.
Other Members of the Committee, in agreement with the views of officers, expressed the view that more than three schools had been subject to the report. Should the report be made public, staff morale could be affected and it was felt that the contents of the report should not be made public at the present time, although it was acknowledged that the contents could be made public in the fullness of time.
Another view expressed at the meeting was that Cabinet had been in possession of the report long enough to have dealt with it, and it was proposed that Cabinet be suggested a deadline to deal with the proposals and that if the report had not been dealt with by that time then the report be made public. Some consensus was expressed with this proposal, and discussions ensued as to what deadline could be set.
In considering the matter, the Chairman felt that the Committee had done what was asked of it, and had developed a set of proposals. It was not within the power of the Committee to bring the proposals to fruition – that was the responsibility of the Cabinet, but six months later there had been no progress.
Councillor Elmore, with the consent of the Committee, advised that Cabinet were continuing to consider the report and matters were moving ahead. It was a huge piece of work.
Councillor N. Moore, with the consent of the Committee, spoke of ownership of the report. At the time, he had made enquiries as to whether the report could be publicly released and had been advised that ownership of the report rested with the Scrutiny Committee. It was a matter for that Committee to decide whether the report should be made public. At the time, the names of three schools had become public, and it was for that reason that Cabinet had taken the decisions that it had.
Councillor N. Moore added that, whilst part of the report had been dealt with, there were still further issues for Cabinet to consider.
Furthermore, if the decision was taken to make the report publicly available, then consideration would need to be given by the Committee of the reason why its earlier decision to make the report Part II should be rescinded.
Following discussions, the motion, duly seconded, was put that Cabinet be informed that it was the wish of this Committee to release the report to the public on 2nd January 2014.
Following the taking of a vote, the motion was carried.
RECOMMENDED – T H A T Cabinet be informed that it was the wish of this Committee to release the report to the public on 2nd January 2014.
Reason for recommendation
To inform Cabinet of the Committee’s intention."
[N.B. At the meeting of Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) on 18th July, 2013 following consideration of the minutes of the meeting of 24th June, 2013, it was
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting of 24th June, 2013 be approved as an accurate record subject to the following amendment to Minute - Release of Part II Scrutiny Report: School Places Review:
"(1) T H A T the Part II restriction on the report be removed on 2nd January, 2014.
(2) T H A T Cabinet be informed of the above."
Attached as Appendix - Report to Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 24th June, 2013