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Agenda Item No. 6

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Community Liaison Committee: 8th July 2014

 

Report of the Head of Democratic Services

 

Localism Act

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To provide the Committee with a brief summary of the provisions of the Localism Act as far as they relate to Wales (following a request for such from Penarth Town Council).

Recommendation

That the report be noted.

Reason for the Recommendation

To apprise the Committee.

 

Background

2.         The Localism Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 13th December 2010.  Attached as Appendix A to the report is a paper prepared in January 2011 by the Members' Research Service of the National Assembly for Wales.  The purpose of the paper was to provide a guide to Welsh-related provisions in the Bill.

3.         The Act received Royal Assent on 15th November 2011.  

Relevant Issues and Options

4.         Many of the provisions of the Act do not apply in Wales.  However, as set out in the Appendix to the report, the Act gives the National Assembly for Wales legislative competence in respect of three matters:

·           Local referendums on proposed Council Tax levels

·           Planning applications and enforcement

·           The Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and Housing Revenue Account Subsidy (HRAS) system in Wales.

5.         The Act also contains two Wales-only provisions conferring a power for Welsh Ministers to decide the timing of Council Tax revaluations in Wales and the power for Assembly Ministers to give directions to Welsh Local Authorities who fail to produce new budget calculations after having their Council Tax capped. 

6.         A number of provisions apply to both Wales and England.  These include:

·           Ensuring that Councillors are not prevented from taking part in decisions where they have expressed a view on related issues ("predetermination")

·           Requiring Local Authorities to publish Senior Pay Policy Statements

·           Repealing duties for Local Authorities to promote understanding of local democracy and make schemes for handling petitions

·           Requiring ballots on all proposals for Business Rate Supplements and enabling Local Authorities to give discretionary business rate discounts

·           Changing the way local housing authorities may discharge the main homelessness duty under the Housing Act 1986.

7.         At the time of the Bill, certain provisions required a Legislative Consent Motion (LCM) in the National Assembly.  These included the Local Authority pay accountability provisions, the repeals relating to local democracy and petitions and the homelessness provisions.

8.         Further explanatory text regarding the clauses which are relevant to Wales are set out in sections 2-4 of the Appendix to the report.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

9.         There are no direct implications arising from the report.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

10.      There are no direct implications arising from the report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

11.      The Council will be required to comply with any provisions coming into effect as a result of the Localism Act.

Crime and Disorder Implications

12.      There are no direct implications arising from the report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

13.      There are no direct implications arising from the report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

14.      There are no direct implications arising from the report

Policy Framework and Budget

15.      This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

16.      No consultation has been necessary given that the report has been produced following a request from Penarth Town Council.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

17.      Corporate Resources

Background Papers

Localism Bill

Localism Act

National Assembly for Wales Members' Research Service Paper: January 2011

 

Contact Officer

Jeff Wyatt, Head of Democratic Services, Tel: (01446) 709408

 

Officers Consulted

Managing Director

Operational Manager - Legal Services

 

Responsible Officer:

Mr. J. Wyatt, Head of Democratic Services

 

 

 

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