Agenda Item No. 6

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Standards Committee: 23rd November, 2017

 

Report of the Monitoring Officer

 

Public Services Ombudsman for Wales Annual Report and Accounts 2016/17

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To present to Members the Annual Report and Accounts of the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales for the year ending 31st March, 2017 ('the Annual Report').

Recommendation

That the contents of the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales Annual Report and Accounts 2016/17 be noted.

Reason for the Recommendation

To inform Members of the Standards Committee.

Background

  1. The Annual Report is a combined report addressing matters relating to the dual functions of the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales ('the Ombudsman'). Extracts from the Annual Report are reported to Standards Committee for information insofar as they relate to the functions of the Standards Committee.
  2. The link to the full Annual Report can be found at http://www.ombudsman-wales.org.uk/~/media/Files/AnnualReports_en/Annual%20Report%20and%20Accounts%20201617%20E.ashx

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. There are two elements to the role of the Ombudsman which are to consider complaints about public service providers in Wales and to consider complaints that members of local authorities have breached their authority's Members' Code of Conduct.
  2. With particular reference to Members' Code of Conduct complaints, the Ombudsman may consider complaints about the behaviour of :
  • County and County Borough Councils
  • Community Councils
  • Fire Authorities
  • National Park Authorities and
  • Police and Crime Panels.
  1. The Annual Report notes that all the Authorities have a Members' Code of Conduct which sets out in detail how Members must follow recognised principles of behaviour in public life. The Ombudsman further states that if a County Councillor wishes to make a complaint about another County Councillor in their own Authority, then he would expect them first of all to make their complaint to that Authority's Monitoring Officer as it may be possible to resolve the matter locally without the Ombudsman's involvement.
  2. Members' attention is drawn to pages 1 - 26 of the Annual Report which are attached at Appendix 1 to this report which provides a snapshot of the year 2016/17, the volume of complaints received and complaints caseload, the nature of complaints received, a breakdown of outcomes and decision time data.
  3. Annex B to the Annual Report, attached as Appendix 2 to this report, provides details of Code of Conduct complaints that have been closed, with a statistical breakdown of outcomes by Local Authority.
  4. The full Annual Report has not been reproduced in its entirety as the remaining sections refer primarily to internal governance arrangements and financial matters.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. None as a direct result of this report.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. None as a direct result of this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. None as a direct result of this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. None as a direct result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. None as a direct result of this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. This report relates to the role of the Standards Committee to promote and maintain high standards of conduct of Members as detailed in the Council's Constitution.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for decision by the Standards Committee

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. This report does not require consultation to be undertaken.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. None.

Background Papers

None

Contact Officer

Mrs. Karen Bowen, Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer, Tel: 01446 709856

Officers Consulted

None

Responsible Officer:

Ms. D. Marles, Monitoring Officer