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Agenda Item No. 14

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Council: 26th June 2013

 

Report of the Leader

Senior Management Reduction - Residual Issues:
Designation of Monitoring Officer/Deputy Monitoring Officer

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To ask Council to approve arrangements for the formal designation of Monitoring Officer and Deputy Monitoring Officer.

Recommendations

1.             That Council approve the recommendations as set out in 2 to 3 below subject to prior consideration and ratification by the Senior Management Appointments Committee.

2.             The designation of the Head of Legal Services as the Council's Monitoring Officer on a permanent basis together with the additional duties as set out in paragraph 18.

3.             The designation of the Operational Manager (Legal Services) as Deputy Monitoring Officer on a permanent basis.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To ensure compliance with the requirements of the Council's Constitution and to ensure sustainable arrangements in relation to the statutory role of Monitoring Officer.

2.             As above.

3.             As above.

Background

2.             Members will be aware that proposals to implement the senior management reduction arrangements were initially approved by Council on the 16th April 2012.

3.             The restructuring arrangements were subsequently implemented from 1st June 2012 and over the last year have seen a significant change to the Council's senior management team and the associated achievement of required savings targets.

4.             The main structural changes included the establishment of a new post of Managing Director and the reduction of Service Directors (including the Chief Learning and Skills Officer) from five to four.

5.             One of the issues that was not finalised at the time was the permanent designation of Monitoring Officer in accordance with Section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.

6.             Members will recall that the above was deferred pending a review of capacity in the Legal Section and a review of other options for meeting this statutory requirement.

7.             The Head of Legal Services was, however asked to cover the Monitoring Officer role on a one year interim basis (from 27 June 2012) and the Operational Manager (Legal Services) asked to cover the Deputy Monitoring Officer role for the same period.

8.             The above arrangements were approved by Council on 27 June 2012 subject to review at the end of the year's period.

9.             The purpose of this report is to ask Council to now approve a more permanent arrangement for the designation of such roles and following the completion of the one year interim period.

Relevant Issues and Options  

10.        It is suggested to Members that the interim arrangements for both the Monitoring Officer and Deputy Monitoring Officer have proved effective over the last 12 months and have ensured important continuity for the Council during a period of change.

11.        The effectiveness of the interim arrangements has been the result of the professionalism and expertise of the officers concerned. The situation has also been supported by a restructuring of the Legal Section in January 2013 which has helped to increase capacity within the team and strengthen management arrangements.

12.        Such arrangements have served to provide additional capacity for the Head of Legal and the Operational Manager (Legal Services) to fulfil the important requirements of Monitoring Officer and Deputy Monitoring Officer.

13.        The designation of the roles to postholders other than the Head of Legal Services and Operational Manager (Legal Services) would be technically possible as would the pursuit of collaboration with another local authority in the fulfilment of the duties. 

14.        Both of the above are not, however felt to be appropriate options for the Council. The legal and constitutional links between the Head of Legal and the Monitoring Officer role are clear, as are the advantages of ensuring an 'in-house' provision in terms of accessibility of advice and familiarisation with services and structures.

15.        In view of the above, it is recommended that the existing arrangements for the designation of the Head of Legal Services as Monitoring Officer be formalised by Council with effect from 26th June 2013 and in accordance with Article 12 (12.01) (c) of the Council's Constitution.

16.        It is also recommended that the arrangements for the designation of the Operational Manager (Legal Services) as the Deputy Monitoring Officer be similarly formalised by Council with effect from 26th June 2013.

17.        The role for the Head of Legal Services will continue to cover the statutory requirements as set out in Section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 together with the Proper Officer responsibilities in relation to the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Data Protection Act 1998 and Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

18.        The arrangements for the Head of Legal Services will also include the requirement for postholder to provide advice and support on council and constitutional issues and to provide professional supervision for the Council's Information Manager.

19.        As part of the proposals at paragraphs 15 and 16 the officers will be required to undertake duties in addition to their substantive roles of Head of Legal Services and Operational Manager (Legal Services) respectively. The grading implications of this are set out in the Part II report as attached to this Council agenda.

20.        As previously indicated, the officers have been undertaking the additional roles effectively since 27 June 2012 and the operational reasons for the continued designation are set out above.

21.        Proper consideration has been given to the options for the alternative designation of the statutory responsibilities. Such options have, however been discounted for the reasons as set out in paragraph 14 above

22.        Members will be also be aware that both officers would clearly claim a "match" if they were required to apply for the roles in a restructuring / redundancy situation.

23.        On the basis of the above it is not considered appropriate to now seek expressions of interest from other officers to undertake the additional duties and to pursue an open recruitment process. 

24.        It is, however important that the recommendations set out in paragraphs 1 to 3 are considered and ratified by the Senior Management Appointments Committee prior to final designation by Council on the 26th June 2013.

25.        The above is congruent with the principles as set out in Part 4 of the Council's Constitution and reflects external legal advice received on this matter. The approach reflects the corporate importance of the Monitoring Officer and Deputy Monitoring Officer and the existing status of both the Head of Legal Services and Operational Manager (Legal Services) as Chief Officers.

26.        The Senior Management Appointments Committee has been convened to meet on the afternoon of the 26th June 2013 and a verbal update will be given to Council.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

27.        The financial implications are set out in the report at Part II of the Council agenda.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

28.        There are no sustainability and climate change implications arising from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

29.        The statutory requirement for a Monitoring Officer is set out in Section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.  

Crime and Disorder Implications

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

31.        The equal opportunities implications are dealt with in paragraphs 21 to 23 above.

Corporate/Service Objectives

32.        The proposals within this report will continue to help meet the financial objectives as set out in the Medium Term Financial Plan and to ensure a sustainable management structure for the Council.

Policy Framework and Budget

33.        The senior management reduction proposals were approved by Full Council on 16th April 2012.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

34.        Consultation has taken place with the officers concerned.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

35.        Corporate Resources.

Background Papers

Council Report 27th June 2012

Council Report 16th April 2012

Cabinet Report 14th March 2012

Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) Report of the 11th October 2011.

Cabinet Report of the 21st September 2011.

Medium Term Financial Plan.

Council Report of the 28th February 2011.

Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) Report of the 24th January 2011.

 

Contact Officer

R. Bergman, Head of Human Resources - Tel: 01446 709357

 

Officers Consulted

See paragraph 34 above.

 

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies, Managing Director - Tel: 01446 709202