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Agenda Item No. 7

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Standards Committee: 1st June, 2017

 

Report of the Monitoring Officer

 

The Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (Wales) (Amendment) Order 2016 Town and Community Councils

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To apprise Members with an update of the responses received from the Town and Community Councils within the Vale of Glamorgan regarding compliance with the provisions of the Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (Wales) (Amendment) Order 2016 and Section 51(6) of the Local Government Act 2000.

Recommendation

That the contents of the report be noted.

Reason for the Recommendation

To note the current position and compliance with statutory obligations.

Background

  1. The Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (Wales) (Amendment) Order 2016 amends existing subordinate legislation made under Part 3 of the Local Government Act 2000 consequential upon the provisions in the Local Government (Democracy) (Wales) Act 2013 ("the 2013 Act"). The Order came into force on 1st April, 2016.
  2. 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 have until 26th July, 2016 in which to adopt the revised Code. However, it was suggested by Welsh Government that it would be sensible for Local Authorities to do so no later than at their 2016 Annual Meeting.
  3. Section 51(6) of the Local Government Act 2000 requires the Authority as soon as reasonably practicable after revising its Members' Code of Conduct:
  • To ensure that copies are available at an office of the Authority for inspection by the public at all reasonable hours
  • To publish in one or more newspapers circulating in the area a notice which states that the Authority has revised the Code and made it available for inspection
  • To send a revised copy of the Code to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. To assist with compliance by the Town and Community Councils, the Monitoring Officer has shared with the clerks to Town and Community Councils within the Vale of Glamorgan copies of associated reports submitted to the Standards Committee and the Vale of Glamorgan Council which detail the relevant legal obligations. In order to assess the level of compliance by the Town and Community Councils, the Monitoring Officer wrote to 26 Town and Community Councils in the Vale of Glamorgan on 13th October, 2016 requesting the dates when the following actions were taken by the respective Town or Community Council:
  • The adoption by your Council of the revised Members' Code of Conduct
  • When copies of the revised Members' Code of Conduct were made available at an office of your Council for inspection by members of the public
  • When your Council published in one or more papers circulating in the area of your Council notice stating that the revised Members' Code of Conduct has been adopted, that copies of the revised Members' Code of Conduct were available at an office of the Council for inspection by members of the public at such times as may be specified in the notice and specifying the address of the relevant office
  • When a copy of the revised Members' Code of Conduct was sent to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.
  1. At the Standards Committee meeting on 25th January, 2017, Members were informed that feedback was awaited from Sully and Lavernock Community Council and Michaelston le Pit with Leckwith Community Council, although both Councils indicated the recent joint notice being published on 19th July, 2017 was not in a newspaper in the area of their respective Councils.
  2. At the meeting on 25th January, the Committee agreed that Sully and Lavernock Community Council and Michaelston le Pit with Leckwith Community Council be requested to inform Standards Committee of the timescale by which they proposed to comply with the Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (Wales) (Amendment) Order 2016 and Section 51(6) of the Local Government Act 2000.
  3. I can now confirm that Michaelston le Pit with Leckwith Community Council has confirmed their revised Code was adopted at the Council's meeting on 1st November, 2016 and was published on the Council's notice boards, including where copies would be made available in November 2016 and the notices were also published on the Council's website in November 2016, including a download link to the actual document. A copy of the revised Code was sent to the Ombudsman in early January 2017 and a notice was published in the Penarth Times in February, 2017.
  4. For Sully and Lavernock Community Council, the Clerk has confirmed that the Community Council approved the Model Code at an extraordinary meeting held on 19th July, 2017 and a copy of the Code was forwarded to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales on 26th July, 2016. The notice of the adoption of the Model Code of Conduct was published in the Penarth Times on 19th January, 2017 and a copy of the Model Code of Conduct has been made available for inspection since approval by the Council and a copy has also been made available on the Community Council's website for inspection.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. There are no direct implications arising from this report other than officers' time spent in corresponding with Clerks at Town and Community Councils. Town and Community Councils were also informed to assist in minimising publication costs, that joint approaches be suggested.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

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

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. As detailed 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 compliance with statutory obligations. The Constitution is part of the framework supporting the Council's commitment to provide political leadership and active relationship and engagement.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. Not applicable.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

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

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. None.

Background Papers

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

Contact Officer

Mrs. Karen Bowen, Tel: (01446) 709856

Officers Consulted

None.

Responsible Officer:

Debbie Marles, Head of Legal Services and Monitoring Officer

 

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