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Agenda Item No. 4

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Standards Committee: 15th April, 2016

 

Council: 27th April, 2016

 

Report of the Monitoring Officer

 

The Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (Wales) (Amendment) Order 2016

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To apprise Members of the provisions of the Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (Wales) (Amendment) Order 2016.

Recommendation

THAT the provisions of the Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (Wales) (Amendment) Order 2016 be noted and incorporated within the Members' Code of Conduct contained in the Council's Constitution.

Reason for the Recommendation

To ensure the Members' Code of Conduct reflects the provisions of the above Order.

Background

  1. The Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (Wales) (Amendment) Order 2016 amends existing subordinate legislation made under Part III of the Local Government Act 2000, consequential upon provisions in the Local Government (Democracy) (Wales) Act 2013 ("the 2013 Act"). The Order came into force on 1st April, 2016 and is required to be adopted by Council by 26th July, 2016.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The Order amends the Model Code of Conduct for Local Government Members (the existing provisions of which are reflected in the Members' Code of Conduct contained in the Council's Constitution). The main amendments are as follows:
  • The 2013 Act transferred responsibility for maintaining the Register of Interests of Members of Community Councils from the Monitoring Officer of the Principal Local Authority for the area to the 'Proper Officer' of each Town and Community Council with effect from 1st May, 2015. A number of consequential amendments are made to the Model Code to reflect this change.
  • The Model Code is also amended to clarify that, in terms of the Register of Members' Interests, any interest disclosed for the first time must be entered in the Register. This is not a change of policy, but clarifies the original intention. The exemption for Community Councillors from the requirement to register certain financial and other interests up front is maintained.
  • The obligation on a Member to report a potential breach of the Code of Conduct to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales is now omitted from the Code. However, there continues to be the obligation to report such matters to the Monitoring Officer.
  • Paragraph 18.3.1(K) of the Code is now omitted. This is to overcome unintended difficulties in the practical application of this paragraph in relation to participation in business relating to constituency interests. Nevertheless, a Member participating in the consideration of a Ward matter is still under an obligation to act objectively and in the wider public interest in accordance with paragraph 18.2.9 of the Code.
  1. Other minor changes have been made and they are also incorporated in the revised Members' Code of Conduct, at Appendix A. The amended sections are shown emboldened.

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. All relevant Authorities must within six months of the Amendment Order adopt a revised Code of Conduct. The Order was made on 27th January, 2016 and, therefore, the Council has until 26th July, 2016 in which to adopt a revised Code. However, it has been suggested that it would be sensible for Local Authorities to do so no later than at their 2016 Annual Meeting.

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 compliance with a statutory obligation.

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 Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (Wales) (Amendment) Order 2016.

Contact Officer

Jeff Wyatt, Tel: (01446) 709408

Officers Consulted

Head of Democratic Services

Responsible Officer:

Ms. D. Marles

Monitoring Officer

 

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