Agenda Item No. 7

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

ANNUAL MEETING: 9TH MAY, 2018

 

REPORT OF THE MANAGING DIRECTOR

 

 

SCRUTINY COMMITTEES: APPOINTMENT, MEMBERSHIP, TERMS OF REFERENCE AND ALLOCATION OF CHAIRMEN POSITIONS

 

Council agreed at the Annual Meeting in 2015 the procedure to be used to determine the allocation of seats across Committees (as summarised in Appendix A).    

 

Appendix B is the calculation relating to the political balance requirement for Committees in accordance with the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.  The Regulatory Services Joint Committee has not been included in the list as Full Council previously appointed two specific Members to be the Council’s representatives.  Similarly, whilst the Public Protection Licensing Committee is included, the Statutory Licensing Committee is not as it does not need to be politically balanced (although it can be and, in fact, is) as it does not constitute a Committee created under the Local Government Act 1972.  Furthermore, the membership of both committees is the same and, as such, only one need count in terms of the overall political balance calculations.

 

Attached at Appendix C is an extract from Section 7 of the Constitution which sets out the terms of reference, general role and specific functions of the Scrutiny Committees. 

 

A requirement exists, under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011, regarding the allocation of Scrutiny Committee Chairmen positions.  In essence, any Group, or Groups, represented on the Executive are entitled (when taken together) to a proportion of Scrutiny Committee Chairmen positions equivalent to their total number of seats (when taken together) on the Council.  Once this calculation has been done, the remaining Scrutiny Committee Chairmen positions become the "property" of the non-executive Groups (again, to be allocated proportionate to the total number of seats held by the respective Groups on the Council). 

 

In calculating the above, the Measure provides that the figure relating to a Group, or Groups, represented on the Executive must, in all cases, be rounded down.  The figure for non-executive allocations is to be rounded up, or down, as appropriate to the nearest whole number, including zero.

 

As such, the allocation for the appointment of the five Scrutiny Committee Chairmen positions (based on each Group’s percentage of the Council) remains as follows:

  • Conservative – 51.06% = 2.55 = (rounded down) 2
  • Labour – 29.79% = 1.49 = 1 = (rounded down) = 1
  • Plaid Cymru – 8.51% = 0.43 = (rounded down) = 0
  • Llantwit First Independents – 8.51% = 0.43 = (rounded down) = 0

It can be seen from the above that two of the five Scrutiny Committee Chairmen positions therefore again currently stand unallocated.  The Welsh Government Statutory Guidance on the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 (issued in June 2012) provides for such a situation.  The Statutory Guidance provides that, should there be any unallocated Chairs following the use of the formula to calculate entitlement, then the position(s) is to be appointed by the Members of that Committee(s).  That will need to be done at the first meeting of the respective two Committees

 

The Leader of the Conservative Group has confirmed the Group will be retaining the Chairmen positions on the following Scrutiny Committees: 

  • Corporate Performance and Resources
  • Environment and Regeneration

The Leader of the Labour Group has confirmed the Group will be retaining the Chairman position on the following Scrutiny Committee: 

  • Learning and Culture           

As indicated above, the two remaining positions will then be determined at the first meeting of the respective Committees, i.e.: 

  • Homes and Safe Communities
  • Healthy Living and Social Care.

Council is recommended to endorse the allocation of specific Scrutiny Committee Chairman as notified by the relevant Group Leaders.

 

Council is also asked to consider the position regarding long-standing Co-opted Member and / or Observer vacancies on the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committees.

 

At the Council’s Annual Meeting on 24th May, 2017 Shelter Cymru and the Vale Housing and Homelessness Forum were appointed Committee as non-voting observers.  It has not, however, been possible to fill these positions during the course of the current municipal year, because the Vale Housing and Homelessness Forum was not currently active, and Shelter Housing have informed the Committee that they do not have the staffing capacity to provide a representative. The Committee is keen to have representatives from a wide range of organisations who can provide information on a range of matters discussed at meetings. Consequently, at its meeting on 18th April 2018, the Committee recommended -

 

1)        T H A T it be recommended to Full Council that the Co-opted Non-Voting Observer vacancies on the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee not be filled by the existing organisations.

 

(2)        T H A T the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee write to Cymorth Cymru, Glamorgan Voluntary Services and the Citizens Advice Bureau seeking their views on possible involvement in the Committee, including the option of becoming co-opted non-voting observers.

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T

 

(1)       The Scrutiny Committees, together with their Membership and Terms of Reference, be appointed for the ensuing municipal year.

 

(2)       The existing vacancies on the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee not be filled by the existing organisations, i.e. Shelter Cymru and the Vale Housing and Homelessness Forum.

 

(3)       The membership of the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee be amended to include (subject to the relevant organisations wishing to take up the positions) co-opted non-voting observers from Cymorth Cymru, Glamorgan Voluntary Services and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

 

(4)       The Council endorse the allocation of specific Scrutiny Committee Chairmen as notified by the relevant Group Leaders.

 

(5)       The two remaining Scrutiny Chairmen positions be determined at the first meeting of the respective Committees.

Background Papers

Council Constitution

Local Government and Housing Act 1989

Local Government (Committees and Political Groups) Regulations 1990

Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011

Contact Officer

Jeff Wyatt, Tel: 01446 709408

Officers Consulted

Monitoring Officer

Head of Democratic Services

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Managing Director