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Agenda Item No. 5

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Standards Committee: 15th April 2016

 

Council: 27th April, 2016

 

Report of the Monitoring Officer

 

The Local Government (Standards Committees, Investigations, Dispensations and Referral) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2016

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To consider the provisions of the Local Government (Standards Committees, Investigations, Dispensations and Referral) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2016, effective from 1st April, 2016 and which implement changes in the operation of the system governing Member conduct.

Recommendation

That the provisions of the Local Government (Standards Committees, Investigations, Dispensations and Referral) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 be noted.

Reason for the Recommendation

To inform the Standards Committee of the contents of the 2016 Regulations.

Background

  1. The 2016 Regulations amend the following:
  • The Standards Committees (Wales) Regulations 2001
  • The Local Government Investigations (Functions of Monitoring Officers and Standards Committees) (Wales) Regulations 2001
  • The Standards Committees (Grant of Dispensations) (Wales) Regulations 2001.

"To implement changes in operation of the system governing Member conduct with the aim of improving local democracy."

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The Local Government (Democracy) (Wales) Act 2013 enables two or more relevant Authorities to establish a Joint Standards Committee. Regulation 2 of the 2016 Regulations amends the Standards Committee Regulations to facilitate the operation of Joint Standards Committees and makes provision for the appointment of Community Committee, independent and executive members to the Joint Committee.
  2. Provision is also made within Regulation 2 of the 2016 Regulations amending the length of the term of office of members of Standards Committees, namely:
  • The term of office of a member of a Local Authority Standards Committee who is a Member of that Authority shall be no longer than the period until the next ordinary Local Government Elections for that Authority following the Member's appointment to the Committee (or, in the case of a Joint Committee, of a constituent Local Authority of that Committee)
  • The term of office of a member of a Local Authority Standards Committee who is a Community Committee Member shall be no longer than the period until the next ordinary elections for the Community Council of which he or she is a Member following his or her appointment to the Standards Committee (or, in the case of a Joint Committee, of a constituent Local Authority of that Committee).
  1. Regulation 2 of the 2016 Regulations also makes provision to exempt a Standards Committee or Sub-Committee from making a misconduct report or recommendations available for public inspection until misconduct proceedings under the Functions Regulations are concluded. The 2016 Regulations also set out the events that will signify the end of the proceedings and which give rise to the obligation to publish the materials as soon as reasonably practicable.
  2. The Functions Regulations 2001 set out the responsibilities of the Monitoring Officer and the Standards Committee in relation to an investigation, the production of a report and the outcome of an investigation.
  3. Section 69 of the Local Government (Democracy) (Wales) Act 2013 amended the regulation-making power of the Local Government Act 2000 so as to allow the Welsh Ministers to make provision enabling a Monitoring Officer or a Standards Committee to refer a report or recommendations relating to a misconduct investigation to the Standards Committee of another relevant Authority. Regulation 3 of the 2016 Regulations amends the Functions Regulations 2001 to set out the procedure to be followed when making such a referral.
  4. In relation to the right of a Member to appeal against the decision of a Standards Committee, Regulation 3 of the 2016 Regulations provides that an appeal may only proceed if the President of the Adjudication Panel for Wales, or a nominee, has first granted permission for the appeal to proceed. The procedure and timescales apply to an application for permission to appeal are also set out within the 2016 Regulations.
  5. Regulation 4 of the 2016 Regulations amends the Dispensations Regulations so an application by a Member for a dispensation can be referred to the Standards Committee of another relevant Authority for determination. The Regulation also makes provision for an additional category of general dispensation (Members were informed of this particular change ahead of it coming into force).
  6. Regulation 4 of the 2016 Regulations also places a duty on a Standards Committee of a relevant Authority to review any dispensation granted by the Standards Committee in accordance with Regulation 2(j) ("it appears to the Committee to be otherwise appropriate to grant a dispensation") and which remains in effect, once in every twelve month period from the date on which the dispensation was first granted. In conducting such a review, the Standards Committee must determine whether the dispensation should continue to have effect.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

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

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

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

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

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

Crime and Disorder Implications

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

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

Corporate/Service Objectives

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

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This matter is also being referred to Full Council.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. This is an internal matter and consultation is, therefore, not necessary.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. None.

Background Papers

The Local Government (Standards Committee, Investigations, Dispensations and Referral) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2016.

Contact Officer

Mr. C. Hope, (01446) 709855

e-mail: chope@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk

Officers Consulted

Head of Democratic Services.

Responsible Officer:

Ms. D. Marles, Monitoring Officer

 

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