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Agenda Item No. 6

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Democratic Services Committee: 9th October 2013

 

Report of the Head of Democratic Services

 

Local Government Candidates' Survey 2012

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To apprise Members of the results of the above survey.

Recommendations

1.             That the outcome of the Local Government Candidates' Survey 2012 be noted.

2.             That the information provided by the Local Government Data Unit in respect of the Vale of Glamorgan Council be analysed and details submitted to a future meeting.

Reason for the Recommendations

To inform the electoral process.

 

Background

2.             The Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 included a requirement that local authorities conduct a standardised survey of Councillors and unsuccessful candidates for election in their area. 

Relevant Issues and Options

3.             The survey undertaken had to include both county, and community, Councillors and asked a prescribed set of questions that included (but was not limited to) regarding gender, sexual orientation, language, ethnicity, age, disability, religion or belief, health, education and qualifications, employment and work as a Councillor.  The Vale of Glamorgan Council was one of a number of local authorities who commissioned the Data Unit Wales to undertake the work (the cost of which was funded by the Welsh Government) on the Council's behalf.

4.             The survey was designed mainly to provide information on the demographic profile of local authority Councillors and candidates, together with an analysis of trends over time, comparing against Electoral Reform Society and Welsh Local Government Association data from previous years.  The intention is that the survey be repeated at each ordinary election, thereby allowing for comparisons to be made over time. 

5.             The outcome report of the overall survey is attached as Appendix A.  The report summarises demographic characteristics of elected Councillors and unelected candidates, focusing particularly on diversity.  The Welsh Government envisages that the information provided will support both it, and political parties, in the development of policies to increase diversity of those who stand as county and community Councillors. 

6.             A summary of key findings is set out in page 3 of the report. 

7.             Information has also been provided by Data Unit Wales relating to the Vale of Glamorgan Council specifically.  It is suggested that the information be analysed within the Council and issued in an alternative format to all Members.

8.             The nature of the Survey as eventually conducted meant its parameters were narrower than those originally envisaged.  When the survey was originally envisaged / discussed) the intention was that it would be wider in scale.  The original concept was that the survey would seek to explore the factors which were deterring people from actually standing for election.  The eventual survey, given that it was limited to individuals who had actually decided to stand for election, by its very nature became narrower.  Whilst it is appreciated that it would have been a slightly more involved exercise, the original concept is still considered to have provided more value if the aim was indeed to identify “inhibiting†factors in terms of prospective future councillors.   This point has been made in a response prepared / submitted by officers to a series of questions asked by the Expert Group on Local Government Diversity in a Call for Evidence.  The full response is reproduced in Appendix B.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

9.             The cost of the survey was funded by Welsh Government.  There are no direct implications arising from this report.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

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

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

11.        The Council is required to comply with the provisions of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 with regard to the conducting of the above survey.

Crime and Disorder Implications

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

13.        The Welsh Government envisages that the information provided will support both it, and political parties, in the development of policies to increase diversity of those who stand as county and community Councillors.

Corporate/Service Objectives

14.        The Measure makes arrangements for changes to the political structure of local government in Wales and the way in which local government operates.

Policy Framework and Budget

15.        The terms of reference of the Democratic Services Committee include "to have regard to Welsh Ministerial guidance when exercising its function".

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

16.        No consultation has been necessary.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

17.        Corporate Resources.

Background Papers

Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011

Local Government Candidates' Survey 2012

 

Contact Officer

Jeff Wyatt, Head of Democratic Services

 

Officers Consulted

Managing Director

 

Responsible Officer:

Jeff Wyatt, Head of Democratic Services

 

 

 

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