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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 12 May, 2014

 

Report of the Leader

 

Future Generations Bill - Early Adoption

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To seek Cabinet approval for the request to the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) for support as 'early adopters' to take forward work that will be required through the Future Generations Bill.

Recommendations

1.         Cabinet endorses and approves the request to the WLGA for support as early adopters of the Future Generations Bill  with a focus on the building blocks of capacity building in the Council and service co-design with community and partners.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To enable the Council to prepare for the forthcoming legislation which will require that sustainable development is the central organising principle of the Council.

Background

2.         In 2012 there was a consultation on the White Paper proposals for legislation which places sustainable development at the heart of the Welsh Government and organisations delivering public services in Wales. The Council responded positively to the consultation on the Sustainable Development White Paper and this consultation has informed the proposed legislation.

3.         On 16 July 2013 the First Minister updated the 2011-16 Legislative Programme and this included the Welsh Government’s commitment to legislate to make sustainable development the central organising principle of the devolved public service in Wales and to create an independent body to provide advice, guidance and expertise.

4.         The Future Generations Bill (previously the Sustainable Development Bill) is due to be introduced in the summer of 2014 and the aim is for public services to make key decisions with the long term wellbeing of Wales in mind.  Legislation will be implemented from 2016 and will apply to local government as well as Welsh Government in the first year.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.         Funding is being made available for 2014/15 to assist in preparation for the forthcoming legislation and the WLGA have asked local authorities to identify the support they need if they are to become early adopters. Information had to be submitted to the WLGA by Thursday 17 April and the issue was discussed by Corporate Management Team (CMT) on the 16 April 2014 to ensure that a submission was made within the required timeframe. 

6.         As part of the support on offer consultants will be appointed to work with local authorities who are likely to form a cluster of those focusing on particular building blocks. Local authorities will also have the opportunity to access further support/resources by using their own resources to supplement the work.

7.         Ten building blocks have been developed to illustrate elements and characteristics of the change needed in local authorities to adopt sustainable development as a central organising principle.  They are not intended to be definitive or prescriptive but are intended to assist in thinking about the scale of change required and the range of local authority activity which needs to be addressed.  The building blocks are designed to help local authorities to respond to the Bill by focusing on the long term, developing integrated services, and adopting preventative approaches in local authority work.

8.         The ten Building Blocks are;

·               Long Term Strategy (2050)

·               Business Processes

·               Approach to Physical Development

·               Financial and Legal Systems

·               Service Co-design with Community and Partners

·               Sustainable Decision Making

·               Governance for Future Generations

·               Collaboration in the Authority Area and Across Administrative Boundaries

·               Capacity Building in the Council

·               Being Accountable to Future Generations

 

9.         Attached as Appendix A to this report are more details about the elements of each building block. 

10.      Councils were requested to express an interest in being early adopters and to identify potential support needs.  CMT agreed that it was important to submit a request and demonstrate the Council’s commitment to promoting sustainable development.  This would also enable the Council to access support and share learning with other local authorities and prepare for the forthcoming legislation.

11.      CMT considered the ten building blocks and agreed that the Council should request support for two building blocks around capacity building and service co-design with community and partners.  These two building blocks were selected as the preferred options for a number of reasons.

12.      Building capacity within the organisation is fundamental to the successful implementation of new duties under the forthcoming legislation.  It will enable the Council to build capacity at officer and member level and improve understanding across the board of what changes need to be put in place.  Improved capacity will remain relevant in the light of increased joint working, the creation of the joint Local Service Board and any changes arising from the Williams Commission.   Support has been requested for this building block as the approach to promoting SD within the Council has always been with the involvement of a range of officers, however with current pressures in terms of resources and a greater focus on partnership working access to external support and the opportunity to work with other local authorities would be beneficial. 

13.      Service co-design with community and partners was selected as although there are already strong relationships with the third sector and community it may now be opportune to progress this to the next level within the framework of the Future Generations Bill.  Within the Vale of Glamorgan there is a strong focus on place within projects such as Creative Rural Communities, Barry Regeneration, Communities First, the Renewal Area etc and the size of the Vale and the robust relationships with partners would lend themselves to further work in this area.  Support to develop a more strategic and integrated approach would be welcome. Within the submission we have expressed an interest in exploring how we can strengthen relationships with the community and voluntary sector for better services which are more sustainable and that meet the needs of the local community in both rural and urban areas of the Vale.

14.      There has been discussion about some of the other building blocks but it was felt that they will not engage the whole of the Council in the same way and may focus on areas where systems and procedures are already robust. Some of the other building blocks may also be more difficult to progress at this stage and may be hampered by debate around the Williams Commission and also the establishment of the joint Local Service Board which is in its infancy.  If the Council is able to improve capacity and relationships with partners then it can more easily tackle the other building blocks.

15.      Due to the tight deadline for submitting expressions of interest a submission was made to the WLGA on the 17 April and Cabinet are asked to consider the views of CMT and endorse the proposal attached as Appendix B

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

16.      There are no direct financial implications arising from this report.

17.      CMT will have a significant role in taking this work forward with the support of the Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group.  The group includes representation from all Directorates at a senior level and is chaired by the Head of Performance and Development who is the lead officer for sustainable development.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

18.      The purpose of the proposed legislation is for public services to make key decisions with the long term wellbeing of Wales in mind.  If the Council is successful in obtaining support to be early adopters then this will aid the Council in its preparations for the forthcoming legislation.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

19.      There are no direct legal implications arising from this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

20.      There are no specific crime and disorder implications associated with this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

21.      One of the key aspects of sustainable development is ensuring a strong, healthy and just society and the proposed legislation will place an increased focus on all aspects of sustainable development.

Corporate/Service Objectives

22.      This report is in line with Objective CL8 of the Corporate Plan 2013-17, which states that the Council will 'promote sustainable development ensuring that sustainability factors are taken into account in decision making and that the Council complies with forthcoming legislation on sustainable development.'

Policy Framework and Budget

23.      This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

24.      Consultation has been undertaken with all services through CMT.  This is a matter for the whole of the Council and therefore no ward member consultation has been undertaken.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

25.      Corporate Resources

Background Papers

Sustainable Development White Paper - Welsh Government December 2012

 

Contact Officer

Huw Isaac - Head of Performance and Development

 

Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team

Mike Walsh - Legal Services

 

Responsible Officer

Sian Davies - Managing Director