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CABINET 


Report of: Interim Chief Executive 
Date: 17 May 2021 


Cabinet Portfolio: Leader 


SOUTH WEST WALES CORPORATE JOINT COMMITTEE 


Purpose 


To provide an overview to Members on the requirement to establish Corporate Joint 
Committees (“CJCs”) and to seek delegated authority for officers to enter into 
discussions with the authorities referenced in this report to develop suitable 
proposals for the CJC arrangements in South West Wales. This is the first of a series 
of reports that members will need to consider. 


Background and Context 


Part 5 of the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021 (“the Act”) provides 
for the establishment, through regulations, of CUCs. This can be achieved by two 
routes: at the instigation of two or more principal councils; and at the instigation of 
Welsh Ministers, but only in relation to certain functions or functional areas which are 
specified on the face of the Act. 


The Welsh Government believes that CUCs have a role to play in bringing coherence 
to regional governance — strengthening local democracy and accountability by 
integrating decision making, with the goal to build wherever possible on existing 
regional arrangements. The wider purpose is to share resources and ensure all local 
priorities and requirements can be complemented by regional action, ensuring a 
sense of consistency, harmony and resilience permeates regional public investment, 
planning and accountability. 


Establishment Regulations have now been approved by the Senedd to establish four 
CJCs in Wales 


The Mid Wales CJC Regulations 2021 

The North Wales CJC Regulations 2021 

The South East Wales CJC Regulations 2021 

The South West Wales CJC Regulations 2021 (“the Establishment 
Regulations”) 


The Welsh Local Government Association political group leaders wrote to the 
Minister in March 2020 to set out the local government view that the footprint for 


CJCs should be based on the existing city and growth deals geography. Accordingly, 
Pembrokeshire County Council will be included in the South West Wales CJC, also 
comprising: 


The City and County of Swansea 
Carmarthenshire County Council 
Neath Port Talbot County Borough 
Brecon Beacons National Park 


Pembrokeshire National Park 


Governance will be a key element of CJCs and a number of factors must be 
considered by CJCs. 


Composition — each CJC will be comprised of a number of principal 
councils that, when combined, will form the area of the CJC. The CJC will 
be run by a committee of its members and it will be the CJC which will be 
responsible for delivering the functions exercised by it and taking the 
necessary decisions required to deliver those functions. A CJC will be 
accountable to its constituent principal councils and CJC members will 
report back to their principal councils and respond to questions and 
scrutiny. However, the CJC will have powers delegated to it and will make 
timely decisions without the need for ratification by its constituent principal 
councils. 


Membership — CJCs will comprise of the Leaders (senior executive 
members) of the constituent councils. The Leaders will decide whether 
additional representatives from the constituent councils or other 
organisations will be invited to be members of the CJC. The CJC will be 
able to co-opt such members (co-opted participants) to the CJC and 
determine/agree the terms of membership of any co-opted member (e.g. 
voting rights, role, funding contribution etc.). 


Meetings — the Establishment Regulations require that each CJC must hold 
its first meeting by Spring 2022. It will be possible for a CJC to meet as 
soon as the Establishment Regulations come into force, but CJCs are not 
expected be fully operational on day one as they need to take various 
decisions (e.g. election of chair & deputy chair; appointment of statutory 
officers) and implement governance & administrative arrangements. The 
frequency of meetings will be for each CJC to determine. 


Voting arrangements — CJCs will be established on a ‘one member one 
vote’ (OMOV) basis with decisions being taken by simple majority; 
however, CJCs will have the ability to adopt alternative voting procedures 
should they wish to do so. If a vote is tied, the matter is not carried and the 
chairperson will only have the casting vote in decisions relating to the 
exercise of strategic planning functions. The Establishment Regulations 
provide a limit on the number of co-opted members with votes, but only in 


so far as that the number of votes which may be cast by co-opted members 
may not exceed the number of votes cast by council members (plus 
National Park Authority members on strategic planning matters). They also 
provide for a quorum of no fewer than 70% of the voting members. 


Liability of members — CJCs will be corporate bodies in their own right and 
the members will be taking decisions on functions which are theirs and 
theirs alone. As a result, in the event of any claim or legal action, it would 
be inappropriate for liability to be allocated or apportioned to each 
constituent council. CUCs should therefore be required to indemnify their 
members for the decisions they take. The CJC should hold the liability, 
rather than individual members, employees or others discharging functions 
on their behalf. 


Sub committees — CJCs will be able to establish sub committees if they 
wish to do so and decide who sits on them. These could consist of 
members of the constituent principal councils other than those members on 
the CJC itself (e.g. relevant Cabinet Members). Other partner organisations 
may also be invited/co-opted to be sub-committee co-opted participants 
should a CJC wish to do so. 


Scrutiny — each CJC will be required to put in place appropriate scrutiny 
arrangements (at the discretion of the CJC) and have an Audit and 
Governance Committee. Scrutiny committees are expected to not include a 
member of the CJC (or one of its sub-committees) and could include 
members (including non-executive members) of the constituent principal 
councils, whilst also taking account of political balance in the constituent 
principal councils. 


Standing Orders and Code of Conduct — all CJCs will be required to make 
standing orders for the regulation of their proceedings and business. They 
will also be required to adopt a Code of Conduct for its members and staff, 
and will fall within the future scope of the Public Service Ombudsman for 
Wales. 


A number of Statutory Instruments have also been laid alongside the Establishment 
Regulations to ensure that, from the point they are established, CJCs: 


are subject to appropriate standards of conduct and come under the 
remit of the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales 

are subject to appropriate accounting and financial management duties 
and come within the remit of the Auditor General for Wales 

are subject to the Public Services Equality Duty 

will be able to be subject to Welsh Language Standards 


Whilst the Act provides for improving education to be one of the functions that Welsh 
Ministers can specify a CJC on, this function is not provided for in the Establishment 
Regulations. Welsh Ministers have been clear that consideration of the role of CUCs 
in the area of improving education is something that would evolve over time and 
further discussion is required with principal councils about the desired approach. 


Three specific areas however are now expected to be incorporated into CJCs: 
e strategic development planning; 
e regional transport planning; and 


e the power to do things to promote or improve the economic well-being of 
the areas covered by the principal councils within the region. 


Strategic Development Planning 


The intention of the Welsh Ministers is to create a hierarchy of Development Plans in 
Wales with the National Development Framework at the highest level, and with 
Strategic Development Plans sitting between that and the Local Development Plan 
and with the requirement that all are in general conformity with each other. 


The requirement to prepare Strategic Development Plans is already contained in the 
Planning (Wales) Act 2015, allowing the option to produce Strategic Development 
Plans either on a voluntary basis (by two or more Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) 
or by Ministerial Direction. 


The policy intent in respect of Strategic Development Plans is to introduce a more 
strategic approach to plan making at a scale greater than individual Local 
Development Plans. There is an identified need to improve how the planning system 
addresses issues that cross local authority boundaries, to reflect how people live 
their lives today and in the future. Strategic Development Plans aim to provide a 
more consistent, cost effective and efficient approach to plan making, with key 
decisions taken once at the strategic level. This will allow larger than local issues 
such as housing numbers, strategic housing allocations, strategic employment sites, 
strategic green infrastructure routes, supporting transport infrastructure which cuts 
across a number of Local Planning Authority areas to be considered and planned for 
in an integrated and comprehensive way. The aim being a more efficient and 
effective planning outcomes for communities. 


Regional Transport Planning 


Section 108 of the Transport Act 2000 Act requires a local authority to develop a 
local transport plan which promotes safe, integrated, efficient and economic 
transport within the authority's area. 


The particular function to create this regional transport plan will now vest in the CJC. 

The aim of the CJC will help to reflect the overarching Welsh Government Transport 
Strategy which is also being reviewed and is currently at the consultation stage. 
Llwybr Newydd — the Wales Transport Strategy sets out the long term vision for 
transport in Wales. 


Economic Well-Being 


The Economic Wellbeing function is the power to do anything which the CJC 
considers is likely to promote or improve the economic wellbeing of its area. This will 


enable the principal councils, should they wish, to evolve the current regional 
approaches to the City and Growth deals into the CJC structures. 

It may be necessary for a CJC and its constituent councils to operate the powers 
concurrently. The CJC will need to agree a process with its constituent principal 
councils for agreeing how this might operate in practice including but not limited to 
the specific activities within the scope of the agreement, how agreement will be 
achieved, reviewed and how disputes may be resolved. This is a matter for each 
CJC in response to local and regional needs and is in line with the approach to 
enable flexibility and local determination where possible. The Welsh Government 
intends to provide guidance to CJCs and its constituent principal councils on this 
matter. 


Next Steps 


The Leaders of all four principal councils within the South West region are agreed 
that work should now commence to establish appropriate governance arrangements 
for the CJC. Welsh Government are making funding available, on a competitive 
basis, to create capacity to do this work. A prospectus was issued by Welsh 
Government on 24" March 2021 (Appendix 1) and an expression of interest has 
been submitted by the four Leaders in respect of this funding opportunity. The 
prospectus aims to set out the scope of the financial support available to support 
regional transitional planning arrangements and enable preparatory work to begin. It 
outlines a range of core areas associated with establishing and implementing CJCs 
which the Welsh Government could provide financial support towards, and includes, 
for example: 


e Programme resource to take the lead in each region to plan and oversee 
the transition from existing arrangements to CUCs 


e Dedicated resource / additional expertise to coordinate and /or develop 
appropriate constitutional and governance arrangements for the CJC; 


e Support for any meetings which may take place during the implementation / 
regional transitional planning phase 


e Expertise to develop approaches (potentially ‘once for Wales’ common 
approaches) to aspects such as scrutiny arrangements / standards / 
approaches to terms and conditions for staff 


e Other activity associated with setting up / establishing a CJC. 


In drawing up proposals to Chief Executives of the four principal authorities will now 
establish the workstreams needed to progress the development of the South West 
Wales CJC. The relevant officers will work with their counterparts to develop suitable 
proposals. The associated documentation and strategies and reports will be brought 
back to members in due course for approval to proceed. 


In drawing up proposals to establish the South West Wales CJC chief executives 
will, inter alia, consider extant regional groups and activities to ensure the resultant 
proposal for the CJC is coherent with wider arrangements. It should be noted that 


the legislation sets out specific functions to be vested in the CJC vest other functions 
into the arrangement, by agreement. 


Financial Impacts: 


The Establishment Regulations do not prescribe any formula basis for funding of 
CJCs. It will be for each CJC to decide how the budget requirement will be met by 
the constituent principal councils (and the National Park Authority in the case of the 
strategic planning functions). In the absence of unanimous agreement on the amount 
payable, the regulations provide for the amounts payable by the constituent councils 
and National Park member(s) to be directed by Welsh Ministers. 


CJCs will be the accountable body for the funding provided by constituent councils 
and/or directly received from any other funding streams. CJCs will also be able to 
pay towards expenditure incurred or to be incurred in relation to carrying out its 
functions as it may determine, and to charge fees relating their specified functions. 
The Establish Regulations also enable CJCs to provide assistance by way of grant 
or contributions to support functions exercisable by them. The funding from 
constituent principal councils will be held and managed by CJCs and it is expected 
that they will be required to manage the funds under the same financial management 
arrangements as local government bodies in Wales. 


CJCs are new legal structures which include the ability to directly hold assets and 
budgets, employ staff, enact legal structures and undertake any other delivery and 
strategic functions vested in them. Any review will need to consider the impact on 
financial provisions, this includes understanding the costs and funding sources of 
any new frameworks required in order to meet and deliver agreed objectives. Welsh 
Ministers have made grant funding available to participant authorities to assist in the 
set-up of CJCs and an application will be made by the South West Wales group for 
such funding to assist in the scoping and governance work necessary to create this 
new body. It should be noted at this stage CJCs are unable to borrow to create a 
body corporate to achieve their aims. 


Comments by Director of Resources 

The financial issues are outlined in the body of the report and the Appendix. 
Comments by Head of Legal and Democratic Services 

The legal issues are set out in the body of this report. Extensive legal resource will 
be required to support the development of governance arrangements for the creation 
and operation of the South West Wales CJC. 


Comments by Chief Human Resources Officer 


The South West Wales CJC will have ability to employ its own staff, TUPE staff in or 
offer the opportunity to second staff in from LA s; this would therefore have the 


potential for quite complex staffing arrangements, so early discussions on preferred 
staffing structure would be advisable and HR resource required. 


We'd also have concerns on the potential strain this could impose on both 
councillors and officers especially for the statutory posts such as Head of Paid 
Service, Monitoring Officer and S.151 Officer. 

There is also the task of defining clear role and responsibilities in job design as there 
is the potential for overlay of functions at LA level. 


Impact Assessment 


The Corporate Joint Committee report has been considered against the five ways of 
working (long term, prevention, integration, collaboration, involvement) in the Well- 
being of Future Generations sustainable development principle. 


The establishment of a regional CJC is a long term legislative requirement designed 
to improve regional working by integrating existing regional partnerships, developing 
a more collaborative approach across the four local authorities and two National park 
areas, and involving wider stakeholders through the option to appoint co- 
optees. The CJC will help support improved coordination in line with a range of 
national well-being goals such as prosperity, resilience, healthier, more equal and 
cohesive. 


The CJC report is unlikely to impact negatively on any of the protected 
characteristics groups as defined within the Equality Act 2010 and the use of 
economic well-being powers should contribute to the Council’s wider socio-economic 
duty. 


Finally, the CJC report is unlikely to impact on the Council’s obligations under the 
Welsh Language Standard Regulations 2015. 


RECOMMENDATION: 


That: 


i Cabinet notes the work being undertaken and next steps needed in relation 
to the governance arrangements for the South West Wales CJC 


ii delegated authority be granted to the Interim Chief Executive (in 
consultation with the Leader) to agree an application for grant funding to 
be made to Welsh Government for funding to establish the South West 
Wales CJC; and to accept any grant offer that may be made by Welsh 
Government (whether made to this Council or to a participating Council in 
the Swansea West Wales CJC) 


iii delegated authority be granted to the Interim Executive (in consultation with 
the Leader) to enter into dialogue with authorities who will comprise the 
South West Wales CJC to develop proposals for establishing the South 
West Wales CJC; and 


iv a report be brought back to members for approval, once dialogue has been 
completed for members to approve the arrangements for the South West 
Wales CJC so far as they relate to Pembrokeshire County Council. 


REASON FOR RECOMMENDATION: 


To ensure compliance with the requirements of the Local Government and Elections 
(Wales) Act 2021 and ensure the needs of Pembrokeshire County Council are 
reflected in the development of these CJCs. 





Background Documents: Local Government and Elections Act 2021 
Council report 19 December 2019