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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) 24 July 2012

 

Report of the Chief Executive

 

Welsh Government Consultation on the Promoting Local Democracy White Paper

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To seek Scrutiny Committee views on the Welsh Government's Promoting Local Democracy White Paper.

Recommendation

That Committee:

 

1.             Notes the proposed response to the Welsh Government on the White Paper as attached at Appendices A to D and refers any comments to the Cabinet meeting of 30 July to enable the Council to respond before the Welsh Government deadline of 3 August.

Reason for the Recommendation

1.             To ensure that the Council's views on the White Paper are made known to the Welsh Government.

Background

2.             On 17 May 2012 the Welsh Government issued a White Paper (Appendix E) seeking views on proposals for the Local Democracy (Wales) Bill.  The Bill is primarily intended to redesign the rules within which the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales operates and to change the structure and functions of the Commission.  However, the White Paper also includes other unrelated proposals relating to:

·         The Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011

·         Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales

·         Improving access to information about Town and Community Councils

·         Improving the effectiveness of electoral management in Wales in terms of its organisation and funding as well as encouraging high rates of voter registration

·         Enhancing the operation of the Local Government ethical framework to enable a more logical approach to the resolution of low-level complaints without immediate resort to the full investigatory role of the Ombudsman.

3.             The 44 specific questions contained in the White Paper are split into the following areas:

·         Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales

          -     structure / membership (Q1 - Q5)

          -     powers / electoral reviews (Q6 - Q23)

·         Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011: Amendments

          -     Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales: Powers (Q24 - Q29)

          -     Area Committees (Q30)

          -     Audit Committees and Democratic Services Committees (Q31 - Q32)

·         Access to Information: Town and Community Councils (Q33 - Q34)

·         Electoral Issues (Q35 - Q37)

·         Local Government Ethical Framework (Q38 - Q44)

Relevant Issues and Options

4.             The Council's proposed response to the consultation is attached at Appendices A to D, which are concerned respectively with Boundary Commission / Electoral Issues (Q1 - Q23, Q35 and Q36), the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales (Q24 - Q29), Democratic Services (Q30 - Q34) and Standards and Ethics (Q38 - Q44).  Appendix A sets out the views of the Association of Electoral Administrators, whose response to the Welsh Government this is.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

5.             No significant resources implications are envisaged as a result of this legislation.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

6.             Promoting good governance is an essential element of Sustainability, and the White Paper aims to make improvements in this regard.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

7.             As set out in the White Paper.

Crime and Disorder Implications

8.             None.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

9.             These issues will have been considered by the Welsh Government in drafting the White Paper

Corporate/Service Objectives

10.        The White Paper makes proposals for the promotion of local democracy and will have an impact on the way the Council works in this respect.

Policy Framework and Budget

11.        This is a matter for the Executive to determine.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

12.        Not applicable

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

13.        Corporate Resources

Background Papers

Appendix A.

Appendix B.

Appendix C.

Appendix D.

Promoting Local Democracy White Paper (Appendix E)

Contact Officer

Huw Isaac, Head of Performance and Development - 01446 709760

Officers Consulted

Clive Teague, Head of Financial Services (in respect of questions relating to the Independent Remuneration Panel)

Debbie Marles, Head of Legal Services (in respect of questions relating to the Ethical Framework)

Jeff Wyatt, Operational Manager, Democratic Services

Responsible Officer:

John Maitland Evans - Chief Executive

 

 

 

 

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