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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Standards Committee: 28th January, 2016

 

Report of the Monitoring Officer

 

Local Government (Wales) Bill - Draft for Consultation

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To consider that part of the Local Government (Wales) Bill, published by the Welsh Government which relates to the Standards Committee.

Recommendation

THAT any views of the Standards Committee be forwarded to the Welsh Government.

Reason for the Recommendation

To inform the Welsh Government of the views of the Standards Committee.

Background

  1. The provisions of the draft Local Government (Wales) Bill are intended to establish new counties and their Council's by the merger of two or more existing County or County Borough Councils and to establish a new and reformed legislative framework for Local Government democracy, accountability and performance and finance.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Part 4 of the draft Bill would impose duties on members of a County Council which relate to their performance and makes provision for the enforcement of those duties.
  2. A copy of the relevant Sections of the draft Bill is attached as at Appendix 1.
  3. In brief, Chapter 2 of the draft Bill requires a Member of a County Council
  • to attend all relevant meetings (Section 82)
  • to hold a surgery at least four times in every relevant 12 month period (Section 83)
  • to respond to all correspondence sent to his or her official address within 14 days of receipt (Section 84)
  • to complete all compulsory training courses (Section 85)
  • to make a report

-       about his or her abilities as a member of the council during the period of 12 months to which the report relates

-       setting out the result of those activities, if known to the member (Section 86).

  1. A person may make a complaint about a possible breach by a Member of a County Council of the above requirements to the Monitoring Officer of that Council (Section 87). The Monitoring Officer must refer the matter to the Chairman of the Standards Committee and they must together consider whether the matter should be investigated (Section 88).
  2. Following an investigation, the Monitoring Officer must provide the Standards Committee with a report on the investigation and made recommendations to the Standards Committee that the Monitoring Officer considers appropriate (Section 89).
  3. Section 98 of the draft Bill provides that a Leader of a political group of a Council must take reasonable steps to promote and maintain high standards of conduct by the Members of the Group. The provisions in Section 109 of the draft Bill place a duty on a Standards Committee to make an annual report which will include the Committee's assessment of the extent to which Leaders of political groups on the Council have complied with their duties.
  4. A copy of an extract from the draft Explanatory Memorandum issued by the Welsh Government is attached at Appendix 2 for the information of the Committee.
  5. Comments on the draft Local Government (Wales) Bill must be made by 15th February, 2016 at the latest. In referring to Part 4 of the draft Bill, the Explanatory Memorandum, published with the draft Bill specifically invited (but not exclusively) answers to the following questions:
  • Do you have any comments on any of the provisions in Part 4 of the draft Bill?
  • Do you have any comments on the proposed duty on Leaders of political groups or the monitoring and reporting roles of the Standards Committee?
  1. To assist in its deliberations, I would draw Committee's attention to the meeting of the Standards Committee held on 26th February, 2015 at which a consultation document published by the Welsh Government entitled 'Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People' was considered.
  2. The consultation document included matters related to Standards Committees and a copy of the minute of the meeting of the Standards Committee held on 26th February, 2015 is attached at Appendix 3 for Members' information.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. None.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. None.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. As set out in the body of the report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. None.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. None.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. To ensure a Standards Committee is constituted in accordance with Welsh Government Regulations.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. Not applicable.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. Consultation is not necessary.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. None.

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer

Mr. C. Hope, (01446) 709855

e-mail: chope@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk

Officers Consulted

None.

Responsible Officer:

Ms. D. Marles

Monitoring Officer

 

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