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The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 19 October, 2015

Report of the Leader

Council's Response to Welsh Government's Draft Directions to the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales

Purpose of the Report

1.    To seek Cabinet endorsement of the draft Council response to Welsh Government's Draft Directions to the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales in respect of electoral arrangements for the proposed new local authorities in Wales.

Recommendations

1.     That Cabinet endorses the draft response attached as Appendix B.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.     To make known to Welsh Government the Council's views on the Draft Directions.

Background

2.    Welsh Government has published a consultation document, "Draft Directions to the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales" (Appendix A).  The Draft Directions relate to electoral arrangements for the proposed new local authorities announced by the Minister for Public Services in June 2015.  They address the issue of the numbers of Councillors considered appropriate for the new authorities and associated topics such as ward representation.  Responses to the consultation are required by 9 November 2015.  The Council's draft response is attached as Appendix A.

Relevant Issues and Options

3.    It is acknowledged by Welsh Government in the document that although the Draft Directions apply to the potential new authorities announced by the Minister, the legislation to establish those new authorities is not in place.  Indeed, the promised Local Government (Wales) Bill 2015 has not yet been published for consultation.  Furthermore, there is no certainty that the proposed legislation will be enacted.  This Council's view has been, and remains, that the Vale should continue as a Council in its own right.    

 

4.    That being the case, it is clearly premature to consult on arrangements for Councils whose existence is still hypothetical.  Questions such as the optimum ratio of Councillors to electors in respect of the proposed much bigger Councils have entirely different answers to those in respect of current-sized Councils such as the Vale of Glamorgan.  The same is true of the number and nature of wards.  However, there is no point in speculating - because that is what it would be at this stage.   

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

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

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

6.    There are no sustainability and climate change implications arising directly from this report. However, if the proposals subject to this consultation are brought into being they would have a significant impact on the ability of Councils to provide local and essential services.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

7.    The Minister for Public Services' intention following a period of consultation and enactment of the Local Government (Wales) Bill 2015 to set up the new Councils is to issue a further draft of the Directions for a "short formal consultation".  Once final Directions are issued, the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission "will be able to start work to identify the most appropriate electoral arrangements for the proposed new authorities in Wales".  The Commission's deadline for completing its electoral reviews will be 31 July 2018.

Crime and Disorder Implications

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

9.    There are no equal opportunities implications arising directly from this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

10.    The view of this Council has been, and continues to be, that the interests of the citizens of the Vale would be best served by the continuation of the present Council.  That stance will remain the basis of any responses to Welsh Government in relation to proposals to reorganise local government in Wales.  

Policy Framework and Budget

11.    This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

12.    The report applies to all wards, and as a consequence no ward Members have been consulted individually.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

13.    Corporate Resources

Background Papers

Draft Directions to the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales - Welsh Government Consultation

Document, August 2015

Contact Officer

Rob Thomas, Managing Director

Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team

Responsible Officer:

Huw Isaac - Head of Performance and Development.

01446 709760

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