Full text of "Cabinet"
Report of: Interim Chief Executive
Date: 17 May 2021
Cabinet Portfolio: Leader
SOUTH WEST WALES CORPORATE JOINT COMMITTEE
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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,
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.
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.
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
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
Finally, the CJC report is unlikely to impact on the Council’s obligations under the
Welsh Language Standard Regulations 2015.
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