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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 24 February, 2014

 

Report of the Leader

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council Public Engagement Framework

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To seek Cabinet endorsement for the Vale of Glamorgan Council Public Engagement Framework (Appendix A) and associated action plan (Appendix B).

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet endorse the framework

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure that all public engagement work undertaken by the council is of a sufficient standard

Background

2.         Public engagement is the process by which organisations invite citizens to participate in deliberation, dialogue and action in relation to issues that they care about. When done well, it allows our residents to have a meaningful say in the decisions that affect them and provides us with a wealth of information that enables us to take important decisions.

3.         The Vale of Glamorgan Council is committed to improving the way in which we engage our residents and key stakeholders in decision making. The framework sets out how this will be achieved and offers guidance to staff.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.         There are a number of other drivers for improved public engagement: The Local Government Measure (2011) established the principle that service improvement must now be monitored by a number of indicators including residents’ views. This makes capturing meaningful feedback from residents vital.

5.         In May 2012 the Wales Audit Office published a report, Public Engagement in Local Government. The report concluded that “public engagement activity frequently lacks strategic direction and co-ordination; feedback is rarely provided to the public; and monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the public engagement are weakâ€. Following this, it is expected that there will be greatly increased scrutiny of the manner in which local authorities in Wales undertake consultation and engagement work.

6.         The specific Welsh regulations under the Equality Act (2010) require that consultation is undertaken by services in order to fulfil the specific duties relating to the requirement to collate and publish ‘Equality information’. There is therefore a legal obligation placed upon public sector bodies to build the collection of equality-related data and evidence into its service provision. Consultation should be one of the specific methods used to collect this information.

7.         The Williams Commission Report on Public Services Delivery and Governance notes that "Citizen engagement influences perceptions of service quality: those who feel they are kept informed of service performance and feel they can influence decisions are more likely to report they are satisfied with services; whereas those who feel uninformed or excluded from decision making are less likely to be satisfied. Re-shaping public services in ways we describe elsewhere in our report also depends critically upon effective engagement with the users of those services and with communities more generally."

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

8.         There are no resource implications arising from this report.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

9.         Empowering residents through meaningful citizen engagement is crucial to fostering sustainable communities.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

10.      In some circumstances the Council is under a legal obligation to undertake public consultation and where consultation is undertaken poorly, any decisions relating to the delivery of services taken as a result may be subject to legal challenge.

Crime and Disorder Implications

11.      There are no crime and disorder implications arising from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

12.      Enabling all stakeholders to participate is one of the national principles of public engagement that are central to the framework.

Corporate/Service Objectives

13.      Public engagement is one of the Core Values set out in the Vale of Glamorgan Council Corporate Plan.

Policy Framework and Budget

14.      This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

15.      No individual ward member consultation has been required.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

16.      Corporate Resources

Background Papers

None

 

Contact Officer

Robert Jones, Corporate Consultation Officer

 

Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team

Head of Performance and Development

Corporate Equalities Officer

 

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies, Managing Director