Agenda Item No. 5
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Community Liaison Committee: 20th October 2015
Report of the Managing Director
Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015
Purpose of the Report
- To provide Members of the Committee with an overview of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and recently published draft statutory guidance.
- That Members of the Committee note the draft statutory guidance .
Reason for the Recommendation
- To raise awareness regarding the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
- The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act became law in April 2015 and comes into force on the 1st April 2016. To assist with the implementation of the legislation, Welsh Government will issue statutory guidance and are currently consulting on draft guidance. The draft guidance is in four parts and was published on the 7th September and the deadline for responses to the consultation is the 16th November.
- The draft guidance sets out the expectations for public bodies and newly established Public Service Boards under the Act and the necessary timeframes for the different activities required. The four parts of the guidance are:
- SPSF1 - Core guidance
- SPSF2 - Individual role (public bodies)
- SPSF3 - Collective role (public service boards)
- SPSF4 - Collective role (community councils).
- The guidance is available on the Welsh Government website http://gov.wales/consultations/people-and-communities/shared-future-shared-purpose/?status=open&lang=en
- SPSF4 is attached to this report as Appendix A and provides specific guidance to community and town councils of their duties in relation to local well-being plans.
Relevant Issues and Options
- This report provides an overview of the implications of the Act for listed public bodies which includes the Local Authority, the setting up of Public Service Boards (PSBs) and their responsibilities and duties for community and town councils.
- The Act is about improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales. It is intended that the Act will make the listed public bodies think more about the long-term; work better with people and communities and each other; look to prevent problems; and take a more joined up approach.
- The public bodies listed in the Act are:
- Local authorities
- Local Health Boards
- Public Health Wales and Velindre NHS Trusts
- National Park Authorities
- Fire and Rescue Authorities
- Natural Resources Wales
- The Higher Education Council for Wales
- Arts Council for Wales
- Sports Council for Wales
- National Library for Wales
- National Museum of Wales.
- The Act sets out seven well-being goals against which the listed public bodies must set, and publish well-being objectives. These objectives must be designed to maximise the public body's contribution to the achievement of the well-being goals.
- The Well-being goals are:
- A more prosperous Wales
- A resilient Wales
- A healthier Wales
- A more equal Wales
- A Wales of cohesive communities
- A Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language.
- A globally responsible Wales.
- The Act aims to improve well-being in accordance with the sustainable development principle - ensuring that the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
- The sustainable development principle is made up of five key ways of working that public bodies are required to take into account when applying sustainable development. These are:
- Looking to the long term so that we do not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs
- Taking an integrated approach so that public bodies look at all the well-being goals in deciding on their priorities
- Involving a diversity of the population in the decisions that affect them
- Working with others in a collaborative way to find shared sustainable solutions
- Understanding the root causes of issues to prevent them from occurring.
- The guidance sets out the timetable by which public bodies must publish their well-being objectives and their well-being statements, and specifies that both the objectives and statement may be published within the Local Authority's Corporate Plan. Under the Act, public bodies must also produce an annual report that details progress made against achieving the body's well-being objectives. These objectives must be published no later than March 2017.
Public Service Boards
- The Act also establishes Public Service Boards (PSBs) and although the PSB will be similar in many ways to the existing Local Service Board and builds on work already undertaken there are some differences. The Act will place a statutory duty upon the Local Authority, Local Health Board, the Welsh Fire & Rescue Authority and the Natural Resources Body for Wales to attend as members of the PSB. In addition the board must invite as 'invited participants'; the Welsh Ministers, the Chief Constable of the police force in that area, the Police and Crime Commissioner, a person required to provide probation services in relation to the Local Authority area, and a body representing voluntary organisations in the area. The PSB can also invite 'other' partners and this includes community councils. The guidance sets out the different roles and responsibilities between 'members' and 'participants' and other partners. The guidance also sets out specific requirements in terms of the local assessment of well-being and the subsequent Wellbeing Plan.
- The PSB must publish a Local Well Being Plan which must be informed by a local well-being assessment which assesses the state of economic, social, environmental, and cultural well- being of the area. The guidance sets out the process by which PSBs must produce an assessment of the state of well-being in the PSB area, this assessment must be published twelve months before the publication of the PSB's local well-being plan. The PSB must publish a set of Well-being objectives within the Well-being Plan and these must be designed in such a way as to maximise its contribution to the achievement of the well-being goals.
- In contributing to the achievement of the seven well-being goals, each PSB is to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of its area in accordance with the sustainable development principle. The plans are intended to provide a more holistic, citizen focused approach to the planning and delivery of public services and can also be used as a vehicle to fulfil other statutory duties. The first plans must be published no later than 12 months following the Local Government elections. The next plans will need to be published within 12 months of subsequent elections.
- PSBs will also be required to produce an Annual Report setting out the steps taken to meet its objectives.
- The work of the PSB must be scrutinised by a designated Local Authority Scrutiny Committee although the guidance acknowledges it will be legitimate for a subject Scrutiny Committee to scrutinise the work of the PSB in relation to a particular issue.
Community and Town Councils
- A community or town council with a gross income or expenditure of at least £200,000 for each of the three financial years preceding the year in which the well-being plan is published has a duty to 'take all reasonable steps towards meeting the local objectives included in the local well-being plan".
- If a community or town council is subject to the duty, it must publish a report annually detailing its progress in meeting the objectives contained in the local well-being plan.
- Community or town councils which do not meet the criteria but still wish to contribute towards meeting the local objectives in the local well-being plan are welcome to do so on a voluntary basis.
- Community and town councils subject to the duty will need to liaise closely with the PSB for their area on the objectives in the local well-being plan. The PSB must consult all community and town councils on the local assessment and well-being plan.
- Each community and town council subject to the duty must form its own judgement of what steps it would be reasonable for it to take towards meeting the local objectives in its area, on the basis of its own knowledge and consideration of the circumstances and characteristics of its area.
- If a community or town council is subject to the duty, it must publish a report for each relevant financial year, detailing the progress it has made in meeting the objectives contained in the local well-being plan.
- The proposed planning cycle for community and town councils is set out on page 9 of the SPSF 4 guidance attached as Appendix A. Further guidance on mainstreaming local objectives into community and town council forward plans is detailed on page 10 and includes sections on integrating objectives, funding implications, engaging with the community and agreeing steps.
- The Future Generations Commissioner for Wales is due to be appointed shortly and their office will be operational from April 2016. They will provide support to public bodies and PSBs and community and town councils will also be able to seek the advice of the Commissioner about how they can comply with their duty to take all reasonable steps in their areas towards meeting the local objectives in the local well-being plans.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
- Organisations will need to consider the resource implications of the legislation.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
- The Act places specific sustainable development duties on public bodies including the Council and on some community and town councils.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
The Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act received Royal Assent and became law on the 29th April 2015 and comes in to force on the 1st April 2016. The Act strengthens existing governance arrangements for improving the well-being of Wales to ensure that present needs are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Crime and Disorder Implications
- The wider definition of sustainability adopted by the Council includes ensuring a strong, healthy and just society which is linked to community safety issues.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
- The wider definition of sustainability adopted by the Council includes social justice, and will require a continued focus on equality and fairness.
- Sustainable development has links to all corporate priorities and activities included in service plans for 2015/16 reflect commitments in the Corporate Plan 2013/17.
Policy Framework and Budget
- This is a matter for Executive decision.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
- Not Applicable
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
- Corporate Resources
The Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act
Statutory Guidance for the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015
Rob Thomas - Managing Director