Agenda Item No. 10
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Council Meeting: 26th June, 2013
Report of the Monitoring Officer
New Welsh Model Constitution: Appointment of Working Party
Purpose of the Report
1. To apprise Members of the issuing of a new Welsh Model Constitution and seek agreement to the establishment of a Working Party to draw up a revised draft Constitution for consideration by Council.
THAT a Working Party be established to draw up for consideration by Full Council a revised draft Council Constitution; the Working Party to comprise seven Members (3 Members of the Labour Group and 1 from each of the other four political groups).
Reason for the Recommendation
To facilitate the updating of the Council's Constitution, taking into account recent legislative changes and the issuing of a new Model Welsh Constitution.
2. The Council's existing Constitution (as, indeed, that of most Councils) is still largely based on the Model version issued by the (then) Welsh Assembly Government in 2001, with numerous updates having since been made to the Constitution in respect of specific issues. However, the former Association of Council Secretaries and Solicitors (Wales Branch) (ACSeS), now "Lawyers in Local Government", have commissioned the national law firm, Dickenson Dees, to produce a new "Model Constitution" for local authorities in Wales. The new Model version will be circulated under separate cover to all Members.
Relevant Issues and Options
3. Whilst the Council's current Constitution remains, in essence, "fit for purpose", ACSeS considered that the commissioning of a new "Model Constitution" represented an opportunity to improve on the format of the 2001 Model and, potentially, move towards a more simplified and "user-friendly" modular version. The Model Constitution is not to be seen as a "one size fits all" Model, but a framework within which the Council can incorporate its existing arrangements. Support for the Model Constitution has been received from both the Welsh Government and the Welsh Local Government Association. In addition, once an Exari version (i.e. capable of being populated by variables required by individual local authorities) has been issued, the WLGA have agreed to fund the Welsh translation of such.
4. Consideration of the existing Constitution and the drawing up of a revised version will entail a considerable amount of work and it is important that there is Member involvement in the process. With this in mind, it is proposed that a Working Party be established, comprising seven Members (3 Members of the Labour Group and 1 from each of the other four political groups) to look at the various components of the existing, and Model, Constitutions and draw up a revised version for eventual consideration by the Council. Given the importance of the Constitution in terms of the Council's operation and decision-making processes, it is suggested that the five Group Leaders should be Members of the Working Party. However, it will obviously be a matter for the Group Leaders to determine their representatives.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
5. Other than the extent to which officers and Members will need to devote time to this exercise, there are no direct implications arising from the report.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
6. There are no direct implications arising from the report.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
7. The Council is required to comply with the Local Government Act 2000 and subordinate legislation in the drawing up and subsequent operation of the Constitution.
Crime and Disorder Implications
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
10. The Constitution is part of the framework supporting the Council's commitment to provide a political leadership and active relationship and engagement.
Policy Framework and Budget
11. The adoption and subsequent changing of the Constitution is a matter for the Full Council.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
12. The monitoring and amendment of the Constitution is an internal matter and, therefore, no external consultation procedure is necessary.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
13. Corporate Resources.
New Model Welsh Constitution
Jeff Wyatt, Head of Democratic Services
Head of Democratic Services