REPORT OF CHIEF EXECUTIVE
TO: MEETING OF COUNCIL
13th JUNE 2012
REVIEW OF THE COUNCIL’S CONSTITUTION.
Some minor typographical changes, changes in post designations and changes agreed previously by Council are not referred to with only the following changes recommended for adoption by the Council:
Part Two - Articles of the Constitution
Article 2 Members of the Council
Deletion of Councillor’s Job Profile and Person Specification which has been subsumed within the Councillors and Co-opted Members’ allowances Scheme
Article 4 The Full Council
Addition of reference to the Council being required to approve the Annual Pay Statement
Article 5 Chairing the Council
Deletion of the Chair’s Job Profile and Person Specification which has been subsumed within the Councillors and Co-opted Members’ allowances Scheme
Addition of the following statement regarding the interpretation of the Council’s constitution at meetings of Council:
The ruling of the Chair of Council as to the construction or application of this Constitution or as to any proceedings of the Council shall not be challenged at any meeting of the Council. Such interpretation will have regard to the purposes of this Constitution contained in Article 1
Article 6 Scrutiny Committees
Deletion of the Chair and Scrutiny Members’Job Profile and Person Specification which have been subsumed within the Councillors and Co-opted Members’ allowances Scheme
Remaining substantial changes are as detailed within Appendix 1 to this report
Article 7 The Executive Board
Deletion of the Leader, Deputy Leader(s) and Executive Board Members’Job Profile and Person Specification which have been subsumed within the Councillors and Co-opted Members’ allowances Scheme
Executive Board Members’ Portfolios will be amended to reflect the appointments made by the Leader at the adjourned annual meeting of Council held on 1st June 2012.
Article 8 Regulatory and Appeals Committees
Deletion of the Chairs’ and Committee Members’Job Profile and Person Specification which have been subsumed within the Councillors and Co-opted Members’ allowances Scheme
SCHEDULE 1: Description of Executive Arrangements
Deleted as descriptions appear elsewhere within the Constitution
Part Three – Functions / Delegation
1.Responsibility for Functions
TABLE 2 Local Choice Functions
Para 19 Appointment of Individuals
Formalising of the process where representation on an outside body requires the views of the Council to be represented as part of their decision making processes and their functions fall within those allocated to the Executive Board then the Executive Board will make the appointment.
TABLE 3 Committees of the Council
To remove the function of hearing of Home to School Transport Appeals and to delegate the hearing of Appeals to a Panel of Officers comprising representatives of the Legal Division, Education Department, Transport and Engineering Divisions of the Technical Services Department. Decisions made in respect of applications for home to school transport are only taken after a tachnical exercise and allowing appeals to be heard by a panel of officers would also speed up the process.
Audit Committee - revised functions.
(APPENDIX 2 highlights the proposed changes)
Democratic Services Committee - Functions
(APPENDIX 2 details the committee’s functions)
(APPENDIX 2 highlights the proposed changes)
Members’ Appointments Committee
Amended exclude appointments to outside bodies where representation requires the views of the Council to be represented as part of their decision making processes and their functions fall within those allocated to the Executive Board.
TABLE 4 Executive Board Functions
Addition - implementation and monitoring of the Council’s treasury management policies and practices
Addition - appointments to outside bodies where representation requires the views of the Council to be represented as part of their decision making processes and their functions fall within those allocated to the Executive Board.
2. General Scheme of Delegation to Officers
Addition to Treasury Management and Banking - The execution and administration of Treasury Management decisions in accordance with the Council's policy statement and Treasury Management Policies s and CIPFA's Standard of Professional Practice on Treasury Management
Social Care Health & Housing
Addition re Licensing Act 2003 and Gambling Act 2005 - Delegated authority to make representations on behalf of the Council acting in its capacity as a responsible authority
Regeneration & Leisure
To formalise the awarding of grants from the Dyfed Welsh Church Fund
Addition re Licensing Act 2003 and Gambling Act 2005 - Delegated authority to make representations on behalf of the Council acting in its capacity as a responsible authority
Amalgamation of grants awarded under Business, Community or Regeneration Related Programmes to a maximum of £5,000
Addition re Bylaws - Delegated authority to enforce the following byelaws:
1994 Carmarthen District Bylaws for the Regulation of Dogs on land fronting the beach at Llansteffan
1996 Carmarthen District Bylaws for the Regulation of Dogs on the seashore at Llansteffan
Addition - Delegated authority to enforce section 151 of the Highways Act 1980
Education & Childrens Services
Addition re Licensing Act 2003 and Gambling Act 2005 - Delegated authority to make representations on behalf of the Council acting in its capacity as a responsible authority
Part Four – Rules of Procedure
4.2 Access to Information Procedure Rules
4. Notices of Meeting
Addition - However, an exception will arise where the Council has received an application from the Police under section 53A of the Licensing Act 2003 for the summary review of a premises licence (The Council being required to decide on whether to take any preliminary measures within 48 hours of receiving the application), the Council may give less than 3 clear days notice of the meeting of the Licensing Committee meeting called to consider the application
12. Executive Board Forward Work Programme
Change to the way the Forward Programme is publicised in that it will no longer be published in newspapers but will be available to view on the Council’s website
4.5 Scrutiny Procedure Rules
Changes are as detailed within Appendix 3 to this report
Part Five – Codes and Protocols
Part 5.2 Code of Conduct for Councillors and Officers in Planning Matters
The existing document has been amended to reflect section 25 of the Localism Act as detailed within Appendix 4 to this report
Part 5.4 Officers’ Code of Conduct
15. Hospitality - Additions in respect of offers of Gifts or Hospitality
15.1 Offers of Gifts or Hospitality should immediately be reported to your Line Manager who will consider whether it is appropriate to be accepted. Any Hospitality or offer of Gift should only be accepted if properly authorised by a Line Manager and subsequently recorded on the appropriate register.
15.6 Gifts or hospitality accepted with a cash or in kind value estimated to exceed £25.00 should be recorded on the declaration form completed by your Line Manager / Head of Service / Director (as appropriate) and will then be forwarded to the Department’s Nominated Officer for countersigning and inclusion in the departmental register.
Part 5.5 Protocol on Member / Officer Relations
2. Member Officer Communication
2.1 Addition - Members should communicate with officers regarding policy and strategic matters at the appropriate level, which will normally involve the appropriate Director or Head of Service or other Senior Manager.
Members are encouraged to refer enquiries regarding electoral ward matters to the democratic services unit who will usually obtain a written response within a couple of days and within a maximum of 10 working days. This will ensure that issues are referred directly to the appropriate officer thus resulting in a saving of resources and time for the elected member in not having to personally chase up a response. (also included within para 5.1 of the section dealing with members’ access to information and to council documents)
Part 5.6 Protocol for Communication with Elected Members
The existing document has been amended as detailed within Appendix 5 to this report
Part 5.7 Councillor Call for Action and Local Crime and Disorder Referrals Guidance for Councillors
The existing document has been amended as detailed within Appendix 6 to this report to reflect changes brought in by the LG measure,The Localism Act and The Police & Justice Act 2006
Part 6.2 Management Structures
Amended as per decision making structure adopted by Council at its adjourned annual meeting held on 01/06/12
Schedule of Councillors’ Contact details
Details of the Composition of the Council’s Committees and Panels as adopted by Council at its adjourned annual meeting held on 01/06/12
Article 6 – Scrutiny Committees
6.1 There will be
Policy and Resources Scrutiny Committee
Corporate performance monitoring;
Cross cutting scrutiny issues.
Financial planning and resources finance;
Effective scrutiny of the Treasury Management Strategy and Policies.
Environmental & Public Protection Scrutiny Committee
+ 2 Non Voting Co-opted Members From Dyfed Powys Police Authority
(The Committee may also co-opt non voting employees, officers or members of Responsible Authorities or Co-operating persons or bodies in respect of its crime and disorder functions, subject to the provisions of the Crime and Disorder (Overview and Scrutiny) Regulations 2009)
Environmental services – Gritting Bridges
Streetscene – Highways, Lighting, Street Cleaning, Refuse Collection
Environmental Enforcement – Litter, Dog Fouling
Community safety issues identified in the Corporate Community Safety and Crime and Disorder Reduction Strategies, working with the relevant partners in the community including the Police, Fire Brigade and the Local Health Board, crime and disorder functions (to include a power to make a report or recommendations to the County Council and/or the Council’s Executive Board).
Social Inclusion; the community
Community Scrutiny Committee
Public and private sector housing;
Housing services including council housing repairs and maintenance.
Economic Development and Community Regeneration
Recreation and Leisure - Sport, Libraries,
West Wales European Centre
Social Care and Health Scrutiny Committee
Social Care - adult services
Adult Learning Disabilities
National Health Service
Education and Children Scrutiny Committee
+ 5 Voting Co-opted Members :
(3 elected parent governors
1 representative Church in Wales
1 representative Roman Catholic Church )
Inclusion / Special Education Needs
Welsh language (in the community)
6.2 Generic Terms of Reference for all Scrutiny Committees (except in the case of the Policy & Resources Scrutiny Committee and the Environmental & Public Protection Scrutiny Committee when exercising powers in relation to crime and disorder as referred to below in Paras. 6.3 and 6.4 respectively)
where a joint meeting of two or more scrutiny committees takes place:
In respect of matters which are relevant to their thematic and other responsibilities:-
To develop and publish an annual forward work programme, identifying issues and reports to be considered during the course of a municipal year, taking into account the Council’s Forward Work Programme
To review and/or scrutinise decisions made or actions taken in connection with the discharge by the Executive Board and or the Council of any of their functions and to make reports to the Council and/or the Executive Board in connection with the discharge of any functions.
To exercise the right to call-in
To monitor performance of the Executive Board/Authority in delivering key targets and objectives through the receipt of regular performance monitoring reports.
To scrutinise the development and implementation of service business plans including the monitoring of progress against specified actions and targets.
To monitor progress in the undertaking of
To undertake WPI or other reviews as requested by the Executive Board in response to issues highlighted by the annual risk assessment.
To participate in consideration of the authority’s budget-setting process.
To receive requests from the Executive Board / Executive Board Members to contribute to the executive’s decision making process by undertaking reviews of current policies/service provision and formulating views on proposed new policies or legislation.
To undertake independent research through Task and Finish Groups with the aim of supporting improvements in service delivery and contributing to the Council’s policy development and reviews.
To undertake further independent research with the aim of supporting improvements in service delivery (to also
To refer issues to Executive Board / other Scrutiny Committees for
To consider any matter affecting the area or its inhabitants with respect to their specific remit. ;
To question members of the Executive Board and/or Committees and Chief Officers and partners about their views on issues and proposals affecting the area.
6.3 SPECIFIC ADDITIONAL TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE POLICY AND RESOURCES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Where matters fall within the remit of more than one scrutiny committee
, to determine which of them will assume responsibility for any particular issue. to determine the issue following consideration of the Committees’ reports and presentations by the appropriate Chairs where the Chief Executive deems this appropriate. and To resolve any issues of dispute between scrutiny committees To receive requests from the Executive Board and/or the Council for reports.
To put in place and maintain a system to ensure that referrals from scrutiny committees to the Executive Board, either by way of report or for reconsideration are managed efficiently
. and do not exceed the limits set out in this Constitution. At the request of the Executive Board, to make decisions about the priority of referrals made in the event of reports to the Executive Board exceeding limits in this constitution, or if the volume of such reports creates difficulty for the management of executive business or jeopardizes the efficient running of Council business.
participate in contribute to the authority’s policy development and review process in respect of corporate and cross-cutting issues. including the proposing of amendments to the Executive Board and/or Council as appropriate and to provide advice to the Executive Board on a major issues before final decisions are made. To monitor progress in respect To contribute to the development and monitoring of the Corporate and Community Strategies.
and approve the Authority’s Improvement Plan including specified performance targets.
To scrutinise and monitor the Council’s overall performance against a set of key targets and objectives through receipt of regular performance monitoring reports
(including the progress against Performance Incentive Grants P.I.G.S.)
To consider and
input into contribute to the Council’s response to the Wales Programme for Improvement including the undertaking of cross-cutting reviews and scrutinising progress and issues emerging from the Whole Authority Analysis and annual risk assessment.
To monitor delivery of the Council’s efficiency programme.
To exercise the right to call-in, for reconsideration, decisions made but not yet implemented by the Executive Board or an individual member of the Executive Board or by an officer acting under delegated powers. To refer issues to Executive Board / other themed scrutiny committees
6.4 Specific additional Terms of Reference where the
To review and/or scrutinise decisions made or actions taken in connection with the discharge by the responsible authorities of their crime and disorder functions
To make reports and recommendations to the Council and/or the Executive Board with respect to the discharge of crime and disorder functions by the responsible authorities
To consider at a meeting of the committee any local crime and disorder matter referred to the committee by a member of the Council
To decide whether to make a report or recommendations to Council and/or the Executive Board in respect of a local crime and disorder matter, having regard to any representations made by that member as to why the committee should do so.
To notify the member concerned of its decision and the reasons for its decision in any case where the committee decides not to make a report or recommendations in respect of a local crime and disorder matter
To provide a copy of any committee report or recommendations to the member concerned (in respect of a local crime and disorder matter) and to such responsible and co-operating persons or bodies, as it thinks appropriate
To review responses to committee reports and recommendations, and to monitor action taken by responsible and co-operating persons or bodies in relation to the discharge of crime and disorder functions by the responsible authorities
The membership of each Scrutiny Committee will be drawn from amongst those Councillors who are not members of the Executive Board. The number of members for each committee is identified in Paragraph 6.1 of this Article. The Scrutiny Committee responsible for Education matters will include voting co-opted members who are elected parent governor representatives and church representatives as required by the Local Government Act 2000. The Environmental & Public Protection Scrutiny Committee may also co-opt members in relation to crime and disorder matters. The Council may also appoint, on the recommendation of Scrutiny Committees, other non-voting members to serve on those committees.
6.6 PROCEEDINGS OF SCRUTINY COMMITTEES
Scrutiny committees will conduct their proceedings in accordance with the Scrutiny Procedure Rules as set out in Part 4 of this Constitution, including where necessary consulting other committees, stakeholders or community groups.
These arrangements require that:-
Any member of a Scrutiny Committee may between meetings ensure that any matter relevant to the remit of their Committee is placed on the agenda of that Committee for discussion and decision as to whether the Committee wishes to consider the matter further
On receipt of such a request the Chief Executive will ensure that it is included on the next appropriate agenda
Each Scrutiny Committee will be subject to the political balance rules as set out in the Local Government and Housing Act 1989;
Scrutiny Committees will meet in public except in circumstances where the committee decides that confidential or exempt information are to be discussed;
6.7 CALL-IN PROCEDURES
A majority of members of a Scrutiny Committee can “call in” an executive decision(s)
( a majority comprises more than half of the membership of a scrutiny committee e.g. 6 members of a 11 or 10 member committee )
A decision can be “called in” provided:
i) that it is not an urgent matter (i.e. where there is a threat to life or where the Council’s financial or other interests, or the rights or interests of others, would be threatened if there were any delay).
ii) that it is not in respect of matters which have previously been called in, or
iii) that it will not result in unlawful delay in the making of the budget
Except in cases of urgency, a decision taken by the Executive Board or by an individual Executive Board Member will not take effect until three days after the decision is published and circulated via E mail to members of the relevant Scrutiny Committee(s),
This gives a majority of the members of the relevant scrutiny committee the opportunity to exercise the right to call in the decision by requesting the Chief Executive to call a meeting of their committee to consider the decision.
This is achieved by sending to the Chief Executive or his designated officer (Democratic Services Manager) within the three day stipulated period a requisition / e-mail signed by the requisite number of members asking that the matter be “called in”.
To exercise the right of “call in”, certain conditions must have been met and the Monitoring Officer has to advise the Chief Executive as to whether these conditions have been satisfied.
There must be serious and genuine grounds for “call in”. These grounds may include concerns about:
i) Non compliance with the budget and policy framework, or the decision being outside the functions of the Executive
ii) Failure to carry out adequate consultation i.e. had not followed agreed procedures on consultation (as set out in protocols adopted by the Council) before reaching a decision, or
ii) Failure to take account of legal obligations, including regulations or statutory guidance, or other guidance adopted by the council.
If the Monitoring Officer decides that there are grounds for calling in a decision then arrangements will be made for a meeting of the relevant scrutiny committee to be convened within 10 working days of receipt of the request to call the matter(s) in.
Following consideration of the matter(s) called in the scrutiny committee can decide:
i) Not to object to the decision, in which case it takes effect immediately;
ii) To refer the decision back to the Executive Board, relevant Executive Board Member or Officer (whichever is the original decision maker) for further consideration, who may then amend the decision or after re-consideration, implement it without amendment. The decision then takes effect immediately and is not subject to further call-in.
iii) Dependent upon the extent to which the scrutiny committee’s concerns relate to the specified circumstances identified above, to refer the decision to the County Council if, for example, the decision appears to represent a departure from a policy agreed by the Council
Scrutiny committees will have power to review and scrutinise decisions made, or other action taken, in connection with the discharge of functions by the Executive Board. The power to review or scrutinise a decision made but not implemented includes power to recommend that the decision be reconsidered by the person or body who made it (whether an individual member of the Executive Board, an Officer of the Council or the whole Executive Board; or to ask full Council to review the decision.) Certain restrictions will apply to the use of call-in powers. Referral of a decision by a Scrutiny Committee should be considered where there are genuine and serious grounds for doing so which shall include the following on advice from the Monitoring Officer:-
6.7 Operation of Call–In procedure
Except in case of urgency no decision will take effect until 3 days have expired since the notice of the decision was published. At any time before the decision is implemented a majority of members of the relevant Scrutiny Committee may call-in the decision by requiring the Chief Executive to call a meeting of their committee to consider the decision.
This may be done by a majority of the membership of a Scrutiny Committee forwarding E mail requests to the Democratic Services Unit requesting that the matter be called in, the unit will then consult the Monitoring Officer who has to advise whether the conditions for call in are satisfied.
The Scrutiny Committee will normally meet within ten working days of the decision being called in. They may refer the decision back to the decision making body (including an individual Executive Board Member) or on to the Council, dependent upon the extent to which their concerns relate to the specified circumstances identified above.
If the Scrutiny Committee does not object to the decision it takes effect immediately. Otherwise it is referred to the original decision maker. Subject to the requirement as to notice, the original decision maker may then amend the decision or after re-consideration, implement it without amendment. The decision takes effect immediately and is not subject to further call-in. Similar procedures will apply to decisions taken by individual members of the Executive Board and officers exercising delegated powers. The call-in procedure shall not operate:
6.8 Roles and functions of the Chairs, Vice Chairs and members of Scrutiny Committees
The Job Profile and Person Specifications for the Chair, Vice Chair and members of the Scrutiny Committees can be found in the Councillors and Co-opted Members’ Allowances Scheme (Part 6.1 of this Constitution )
EXTRACT FROM TABLE 3-COMMITTEES OF THE COUNCIL
Delegation of Functions
In relation to item 6 of Part I (Miscellaneous Functions) of table 1 above:-
Appeals by members of staff in respect of disciplinary matters which have led to dismissal, save for any dismissal relating to the Chief Executive, any Director or Head of Service.
Appeals relating to student awards.
Appointments Committee “A”for Directors
16 Members (Must comprise a majority of Non Executive Board Members)
In relation to item 6 of part I of table 1 above:-
(a)To make recommendations to the County Council in respect of the appointment of the Head of Paid Service.
(b)To appoint Directors.
Appointments Committee “B”for Heads Of Service
9 Members (Must comprise a majority of Non Executive Board Members)
In relation to item 6 of part I of table 1 above:-
To appoint Heads of Service.
All appointments below Head of Service level are to be dealt with in accordance with the Officer Employment Procedure Rules.
Delegation of Functions
+1 Co-opted Voting Lay Member
(1) to review and scrutinise the Authority’s financial affairs,
(2) to make reports and recommendations in relation to the authority’s financial affairs,
(3) to review and assess the risk management, internal control and corporate governance arrangements of the authority,
(4) to make reports and recommendations to the authority on the adequacy and effectiveness of those arrangements,
(5) to oversee the authority’s internal audit & risk management arrangements including:
(a)monitoring the adequacy & effectiveness of Internal Audit & Risk Management and the extent to which Management fulfil their responsibilities for ensuring an adequate control environment exists throughout the organisation;
(b) approving the Authority’s Audit Charter;
( c) receiving an Annual Internal Audit Plan from the Head of Internal Audit and monitoring progress against the Plan;
(d) receiving an Annual Internal Audit Report from the Head of Audit & Risk Management at the end of the audit year;
(e) receiving and considering major internal audit findings and recommendations;
Delegation of Functions
(f) receiving the minutes of the Authority’s Risk Management Steering Group and receiving reports in relation to significant risks identifying significant control failings or weaknesses, their potential or real impact and the corrective action required or being taken;
(g) monitoring Management’s response to major findings and the implementation of key recommendations
(6) to oversee the authority’s external audit arrangements, including
(a) monitoring the adequacy and effectiveness of the External Audit service and to respond to its findings;
(b) discuss with the external auditor the nature and scope of the audit of the County Council’s services & functions, and consider the external audit fee and terms of engagement;
( c) receiving and considering external audit reports and management letters and advising Full Council as appropriate;
(d) monitoring Management’s response to the external auditor’s findings and the implementation of the external auditor’s recommendations
(7) to approve the financial statements prepared by the Authority
Delegation of Functions
(8) to scrutinise the Authority’s Annual Statement of Accounts and any supplementary statements as required by the Accounts & Audit (Wales) regulations eg. Annual Governance Statement
(9) to approve the Dyfed Pension Fund’s Annual Statement of Accounts
(10) to consider and approve amendments to the Contract procedure Rules
(11) to consider and approve amendments to the Financial Procedure Rules
(12) to interview applicants for the position(s) of Lay Member(s) of the Committee and to recommend an appointment (s) to the Council.
Delegation of Functions
Audit Committee (contd.)
Delegation of Functions
Audit Committee (contd.)
Democratic Services Committee
1. to exercise the function of the local authority under section 8(1)(a) of the LG (Wales) Measure 2011 (designation of Head of Democratic Services),
2. to review the adequacy of provision by the authority of staff, accommodation and other resources to discharge democratic services functions, and
3. to make reports and recommendations to the authority at least annually in relation to such provision.
Delegation of Functions
+ 1 Permanent Substitute
Dyfed Pension Panel
To decide on all the policy matters and strategic direction relating to the investments of the Pension Fund.
To review and monitor the investment performance of the Fund.
To review and determine on all Pension Fund Valuation matters of the fund
To determine on Administering Pension Fund Authority policy and strategic matters.
Operational matters of both the Investments and Administration Functions are delegated to Director of Resources
Dyfed Welsh Church Fund
To decide on the strategic direction relating to the investments of the Church Fund.
To review and monitor the investment performance of the Fund.
PART 4.5 - SCRUTINY PROCEDURE RULES
1. What will be the number and arrangements for scrutiny committees?
The Council will have the scrutiny committees with the membership, powers and terms of reference as identified in Article 6.
2. Who may sit on scrutiny committees?
All Councillors except members of the Executive Board may be members of a scrutiny committee. However, no member may be involved in scrutinising a decision which he/she has been directly involved.
3. Non- Voting Co-optees
Each scrutiny committee shall be entitled to recommend to Council the appointment of a number of people as non-voting members, if considered appropriate. Co-opted members should be able to represent the interests of those who receive the services within a scrutiny remit or contribute expert knowledge and skills that will strengthen the scrutiny process. The number of co-opted members on a scrutiny committee should not exceed a third of the total membership of the committee.
Council will ensure that recruitment processes in relation to co-optees, whether on an individual or representational basis, are inclusive and fair to encourage people with a wide diversity of knowledge and experience to participate in scrutiny activity.
Appointment of co-optees may be for
i) The life of a committee;
ii) Until such time as Council decides to terminate the appointment; or
iii) For the purpose of a particular review or performance monitoring exercise.
4. Voting Education representatives
Each relevant scrutiny committee dealing with education matters shall include in its membership the following voting representatives:
one Church in Wales representative;
one Roman Catholic Church representative;
three elected parent governor representatives;
A relevant scrutiny committee in this paragraph is a scrutiny committee of a local education authority, where the committee’s functions relate wholly or in part to any education functions which are the responsibility of the authority’s executive. If the scrutiny committee deals with other matters, these representatives shall not vote on those other matters
5. Meetings of scrutiny committees
There shall be at least six ordinary meetings of each scrutiny committee in each year. In addition, extraordinary meetings may be called from time to time as and when appropriate and following the agreement of the Chief Executive in consultation with the Chair of the appropriate committee.
Scrutiny Committees will usually meet in one of the Council’s administrative offices but from time to time will meet in appropriate community facilities.
The quorum for a scrutiny committee shall be one third of the Members rounded up to the nearest whole number
8. Who chairs scrutiny committee meetings?
Chairs and Vice Chairs of scrutiny committees will be drawn from among the Councillors sitting on the committee and will be appointed by the council at its annual meeting in accordance with the procedure set out in the Council Procedure Rules in Part 4 of this Constitution.
9. Work Programme
Subject to overall co-ordination of the exercise by the
The programme itself will also be subject to ongoing review during the year as circumstances change. Updated work programmes will made available on the Council’s website throughout the municipal year
10. Agenda items
Any member of a Scrutiny Committee may, between meetings, ensure that any matter relevant to the remit of their Committee is placed on the agenda and considered at a meeting of that Committee by submitting a request in writing to the Chief Executive.
On receipt of such a request the Chief Executive will ensure that it is included on the next appropriate agenda.
At a meeting of a Scrutiny Committee any member under the agenda item ”Forthcoming Items” may request that an item be placed on the agenda of the next meeting for consideration. The committee will then consider the member’s rationale for the request and decide:
i) to approve or disallow the request
ii) that they require additional information prior to considering the request
Any member of the public may request that an item relevant to the remit of a Scrutiny Committee may be placed on its agenda. A formal request will need to be submitted to the Council’s Democratic Services Unit by a minimum of seven working days before the date of the Committee meeting. This will outline the nature of the item and why it should be considered at a Scrutiny Committee. The person submitting the request will be entitled to present this case in person. This request will be considered by the Scrutiny Committee at its next available meeting. The Committee will then decide whether the request is approved and included on a future agenda of a Committee or whether to reject the request. Feedback on the committee’s decision regarding the request and the outcome of any scrutiny debate will be conveyed to the person submitting the request.
11. Reports from scrutiny committees
Once it has formed recommendations on proposals for review,
12. Presentation of Task and Finish Group Reports
Task and Finish Group interim and final reports will be presented by the Group’s Chair to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration.
The final report will set out its recommendations in order of achievability with associated cost implications i.e. :
● What could be implemented immediately or in the very near future at none or very little cost
● What could be implemented in the middle term
● Long term goals
The recommendations would also identify the Lead/Responsible Officers for implementing the immediate/short term recommendations and for drawing up and implementing a programme for the medium/long term recommendations.
Following adoption of the Group’s final report and any further amendments or additional recommendations agreed by the Scrutiny Committee, the final report will initially be presented by the Chair of the Scrutiny Committee to Executive Board Members for an informal discussion. The Chair will give an overview of the task undertaken by the group and its findings and the Executive Board Members may provide an indication of any additional views they may have in respect of the report’s findings. This will provide the Chair and supporting Officers with an opportunity to obtain additional information prior to the report being formally submitted to the Executive Board for consideration.
At the formal meeting of the Executive Board the Chair of the Scrutiny Committee will formally present the final report for the Board’s consideration and provide the Executive Board members with an overview of the task undertaken, a brief description of the process followed and the findings.
Executive Board Members will then have the opportunity to question the Chair on the report’s findings and consider the recommendations being put forward for consideration.
13. Reporting Executive Board and Council Decisions
Following consideration of a Scrutiny Committee’s report and recommendations the Executive Board’s decision will be reported back to the next meeting of the Scrutiny Committee.
In not adopting any recommendations submitted by a Scrutiny Committee the Executive Board should record the reasons for not doing so.
14. Rights of scrutiny committee members to documents
In addition to their rights as Councillors, members of scrutiny committees have the additional right to documents, and to notice of meetings as set out in the Access to Information Procedure Rules in Part 4 of this Constitution.
When dealing with crime and disorder matters, the Social Justice, Crime and Disorder Scrutiny Committee have a right to information from Responsible Authorities and Co-operating persons and bodies (as defined by Section 5 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998) on written request. Information provided will be normally be de-personalised and will exclude information likely to prejudice legal proceedings or current or future operations.
15. Members and officers giving account
Any scrutiny committee may scrutinise and review decisions made or actions taken in connection with the discharge of any Council and /or Executive Board functions. As well as reviewing documentation, in fulfilling the scrutiny role, it may
any particular decision or series of decisions; and/or
the extent to which the actions taken implement Council policy;
and it is the duty of those persons to attend if so required
Where any member or officer is required to attend a scrutiny committee under this provision, the Chair of that committee will inform the Chief Executive who will inform the member or officer in writing giving at least 15 working days notice of the meeting at which he/she is required to attend. The notice will state the nature of the item on which he/she is required to attend to give account and whether any papers are required to be produced for the committee. Where the account to be given to the committee will require the production of a report, then the member or officer concerned will be given an additional fifteen working days to allow for preparation of that documentation.
Where, in exceptional circumstances, the member or officer is unable to attend on the required date, then the scrutiny committee shall, in consultation with the member or officer, arrange a convenient alternative date for attendance.
16. Officer Attendance at meetings of Scrutiny Committees
There is no requirement for Directors or Heads of Service to routinely attend meetings of Scrutiny Committees. However, Heads of Service and/or other relevant officers, who’s attendance has been requested by the Chair, or who have produced materials for consideration by the Committee will be expected to attend.
Once an Officer’s item of business has been considered by the committee they will, with the Chair’s agreement, then withdraw from the meeting
17. Executive Board Member Attendance at meetings of Scrutiny Committees
There is no requirement for Executive Board Members to routinely attend meetings of Scrutiny Committees. Executive Board Members can only attend meetings of Scrutiny Committees as observers and should only take part in discussions or debates by the Committee if invited to do so by the Chair.
Executive Board Members will be expected to attend meetings of Scrutiny Committees when Committees consider their half-yearly and annual performance management reports. During consideration of the reports the Chair may invite the Executive Board Member(s) present to respond to any questions by members on the reports or to provide additional information.
Once this item of business has been considered by the committee the Executive Board Member (s) may then withdraw from the meeting if they so wish
18. Scrutiny Participants
A scrutiny committee may invite members of the public or representatives of other bodies to address it and to discuss issues of local concern and/or answer questions.
A member of the public may also request to submit either written or verbal evidence to a Scrutiny Committee, Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee or a Scrutiny Committee Task and Finish Group in support of a scrutiny topic or review or Call-in request (see Article 6.6 Call-in procedures).
A formal request will need to be submitted to the Council’s Democratic Services Unit by a minimum of seven working days before the date of the Committee meeting. This request will outline the nature and purpose of the evidence to be provided at the meeting.
The Chair in conjunction with the Monitoring Officer can decide to refuse a request if this is considered to be potentially vexatious, discriminatory, inappropriate or unreasonable. The justification for the refusal will be communicated to the person making the request.
The Chair will allocate a timeslot on the agenda for verbal evidence from the member of the public. The Chair will have discretion to stop a speaker at any time in proceedings if, in their view, a speaker is making comments that are, or appear to be, defamatory, vexatious, discriminatory or offensive.
Where evidence has been submitted, the outcome of the scrutiny debate or review will be communicated to the individual in question.
Council recognises the need to support participants invited to attend Scrutiny Committees and Scrutiny Task & Finish Groups and the valuable contribution that they will make to the scrutiny process.
A Charter and Guidance for Participants has therefore been drawn up which sets out:
what participants can expect when attending a Scrutiny Committee / Task & Finish Group meetings
the steps that will be taken to keep participants informed about the procedure, and
what will be expected of participants throughout the scrutiny process they are involved in .
The procedures for call in are set out in Article 6.6 of Part 2 of this Constitution.
20. Prohibition of whipped votes and declaration of party whips
When considering any matter in respect of which a member of a scrutiny committee is subject to a party whip the member must declare the existence of the whip and the nature of it before the commencement of the committee’s deliberations on the matter. The declaration, and the detail of the whipping arrangements, shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting
A member of a Scrutiny Committee shall not be allowed to vote in any matter if he or she is subject to a party whip in respect of that matter. If a decision made with a party whip declared is materially affected, it should be treated as if it has not been made.
21. Procedure at scrutiny committee meetings
Scrutiny committees shall consider the following business:
Declarations of interest
Declarations of prohibited party whips
Consideration of any matter referred to the committee for a
decision in relation to call in of a decision or other matters referred to the committee by members of the public and through the Councillor Call for Action and Local Crime and Disorder referral process
Responses of the Executive Board to reports and requests of the scrutiny committee on a quarterly basis
The business otherwise set out on the agenda for the meeting
Minutes of the last meeting
Where a scrutiny committee conducts reviews or considers other matters, the committee may
that the review will be conducted fairly and all members of the committee will be given the opportunity to ask questions of
that those assisting the committee by giving evidence will be treated with respect and courtesy; and
that the review will be conducted so as to maximise the efficiency of the process.
Following any review,
22. Matters within the remit of more than one scrutiny committee
Where a matter for consideration by a scrutiny committee also falls within the remit of one or more other scrutiny committees, the decision as to which scrutiny committee will consider it will be resolved by the
23. Referrals to Executive Board, Executive Board Members and other Scrutiny Committees
These should only be made:
if the committee is recommending that existing policy should be amended
if the committee is recommending that a new policy should be introduced
if the committee is drawing attention to new areas of risk
All recommendations should also be accompanied by details of the relevant implications e.g. policy, legal, finance, human resource etc.
24. Councillor Call for Action and Local Crime and Disorder Referral
Any member may refer a local government or crime and disorder matter that has not been resolved through any other avenue to the relevant Scrutiny Committee through the Councillor Call for Action (CCfA) and Local Crime and Disorder Referral (LCDR) procedure. The procedure for CCfA and LCDR are set out in Part 5 of this Constitution.
Code of Conduct for Councillors and Officers in Planning Matters
1.1 This Code of Practice is intended to guide the procedures by which Councillors ('Members') and officers of the Council deal with planning matters and to set standards of probity and conduct which the people of Carmarthenshire can expect of them.
1.2 As Planning affects peoples' lives and private interests, it can be very contentious. It is, therefore, important that the people of Carmarthenshire understand the system and have confidence in its integrity and transparency, and that Members and officers, involved in the 'planning' process, avoid impropriety or even the suspicion of impropriety. This approach is endorsed by the Committee on Standards in Public Life (the Nolan Committee), the District Audit and the Welsh Local Government Local Government Association.
1.3 Members must follow the Code of Conduct for Members of Carmarthenshire County Council (Part 3 of which covers such matters as declarations of interests, gifts and hospitality) and the Protocol for Member, Officer Relations. When dealing with planning matters they must act in accordance with this Planning Code of Practice.
1.4 A breach of this code, while not usually amounting to a breach of criminal law, may adversely affect the standing of the Council and the reputation of an individual member. It could result in a decision being judicially reviewed or in a complaint of maladministration, or an allegation of a breach of the Code of Conduct being made to the Local Government Ombudsman.
1.5 If Members or officers are in doubt about the application of the 'Code of Conduct for Members of Carmarthenshire County Council’ or of this Planning Code of Practice they should seek advice from the Council's Monitoring Officer.
2.1 Members and officers have different, but complementary roles in the planning process. Members of the Planning Committee have different roles to those of other Councillors.
2.2 Councillors who are Members of the Planning Committee determine the more significant and contentious planning applications received by the Council. In doing so these Members and the nominated substitutes perform a quasi-judicial role and are required to consider all planning proposals against the wider public interest.
Due to the quasi-judicial nature of the role of the Planning Committee and the requirement in Part 13 of this Code of Practice such Members and nominated substitutes should undertake training. The Council considers it not to be 'good Practice’ for Members, unable to attend meetings of the Planning Committee, to nominate another Member other than the nominated
substitutes to act on his / her behalf, and therefore the Council Procedure rules do not permit this. Other applications are delegated to the Head of Planning Services to decide, as described in Paragraph 2.10
Members of the Planning Committee
2.3 Planning Committee Members shall:
● Exercise personal responsibility in deciding whether to declare any personal and prejudicial interest (as defined in Part 3 of the Code of Conduct for Members of Carmarthenshire County Council) in any planning application that is before the Planning Committee for determination, and consider withdrawing from involvement in the decision. In the event that a Member has both a personal interest and a prejudicial interest under the code with regard to a particular planning application that Member will usually still be able to attend the planning committee in relation to that particular application but only for the purpose of making representations, answering questions or giving evidence in relation that application. A Member must then leave the meeting until the application has been determined by the Committee. Upon such determination the Member will then be permitted to take part in the remaining items on the agenda. If in doubt, Members should consult and seek guidance from the Monitoring Officer.
● Act fairly and openly and avoid any actions, which would give rise to an impression of bias, avoid inappropriate social contact with applicants and their agents, objectors and other interested parties
● Approach each planning application/issue with an open mind, avoiding preconceived ideas.
● Not organise support or opposition to a planning application if they do not wish to affect their ability to vote at Planning Committee
● Carefully weigh up all relevant planning issues before making a decision
● Make decisions purely on planning grounds in the public interest and not favour, or appear to favour, any person, company, group or locality, (and whilst Committee Members have a special responsibility to their Electoral Division constituents, including those who did not vote for them, their Planning duty is to the whole community).
● Not decide how to vote on applications on the basis of a political 'whip', but only on the planning merits of each case, (subjecting a planning decision to the discipline of the political 'whip' could amount to maladministration and result in Ombudsman intervention).
● Give reasons/justification for their decisions and resolutions.
● Have regard to any relevant advice from the Council’s monitoring and Chief legal officer or their representatives.
Members of the Planning Committee who are also members of Community / Town Councils
2.4 Membership of a Community/Town Council provides an opportunity to listen to local views and does not of itself give rise to a conflict of interest for a Planning Committee Member provided he/ she maintains an open mind until all the evidence and arguments have been presented at the Planning Committee.
2.5 Legally a Member may speak and vote when a planning application is under consideration at a meeting of the Community/Town Council. In these circumstances it is necessary for a Member to make it clear at the Coummunity/Town Council meeting that he/she would consider the matter afresh at the Planning Committee, taking into account all relevant information. When the matter is then considered by the County Council a Member should make it clear that they are not bound by the views of the Community/Town Council. This does not apply when the application is from the Community/Town Council itself. In that circumstance the Member should consult the Monitoring Officer for further advice.
Non-Committee Members of the Council Officers
2.6 Members who are not on the Planning Committee represent their Electoral Ward and the County Council as a whole. They may, attend the Planning Committee and Committee site inspections relating to sites within their electoral ward and speak on any planning matter arising within their electoral ward(subject to declarations of interest), but may not vote. Such Members do not act in the quasi-judicial role performed by Committee Members, but shall: -
● Act fairly and openly
● Avoid any actions, which would give rise to an impression of bias or undue influence.
● Avoid inappropriate social contact with applicants and their agents, objectors and other interested parties
2.7 Such Members may express support for a particular opinion in advance of the matter being considered by the Planning Committee (or by the Head of Planning Services under delegated powers)
2.8 The function of officers is to support and facilitate the Councillors in their work and to implement lawful decisions.
Applications delegated to the Head of Planning for determination
2.9 The Head of Planning Services makes decisions with regard to all planning applications under delegated powers unless:
● A material planning objection has been received and not considered by the Planning Committee previously e.g. access at outline stage
● The Ward Member has given notification in writing or via e-mail that the application be referred to Committee stating reasons for such a request providing always that that request is received within the time period specified in the planning protocol
2.10 Duties of Officers
In considering applications and in advising Members and the public on planning policy, the determination of planning applications, enforcement and other planning matters, officers must: -
● Act fairly and openly
● Avoid any actions, which would give rise to an impression of bias.
● Avoid inappropriate social contact with applicants and their agents, objectors and other interested parties.
● Approach each planning application / issue with an open mind, avoiding preconceived ideas.
● Carefully weigh up all relevant planning issues.
● Make decisions purely on planning grounds having regard to the development plan and other material considerations.
● Give professional, objective and consistent planning advice.
● Provide a comprehensive and accurate analysis of the planning issues.
● Give a clear recommendation.
● Carry out the decisions of the Committee.
2.11 The Council's Legal Officers advise Members on legal and procedural matters. In doing so, they must: -
● Act fairly and openly
● Avoid any actions, which would give rise to an impression of bias.
● Avoid inappropriate social contact with applicants and their agents, objectors and other interested parties.
● Give professional, objective and consistent advice.
● Carry out the decisions of the Committee so far as they relate to the completion of any legal agreement, or instigation/defence of proceedings etc.
3. ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESSING ARRANGEMENTS
Planning application notification
Meetings with applicants and objectors
3.1 All Members of Council will be informed of the submission of all planning and related applications through the “Weekly List of Planning Applications “ placed on the web site, unless the member has requested notification directly via e-mail or post.
3.2 The weekly applications list and notification shall indicate the appropriate case officer who can advise whether when the application decision is to be made by the Planning Committee or by officers under the scheme of delegation
3.3 Local Members will only be sent a copy of any planning or related application or any documents relating thereto where they make a specific request. Local Members will not be informed of the submission of amended plans in respect of an application in their electoral division unless they make such a request.
3.4 Local Members will not be informed of, or invited by the Planning Department, to any meetings with applicants or objectors in respect of any application in their electoral division, although they may be invited by the applicant / objector. Should Members attend any such meetings they should be aware of the need to avoid any indication of prior determination.
3.5 Local Members will be informed of public meetings being held in respect of any application relating to land or property in their electoral division, which are either being organised by the Council or with which the Planning Department is involved.
3.6 Should a Member wish an application, designated to be determined under delegated powers, to be determined by the Planning Committee, he/she should make a request in writing to the Chairperson of the Planning Committee within 2 weeks of the issue of the 'Bulletin' or notification in which the receipt application is notified. The request should state the reasons why determination by the Planning Committee is necessary.
3.7 Members shall not put pressure on officers to make particular recommendations or decisions nor to change recommendations or decisions in respect of any application
4. PRE-APPLICATION / DECISION AND ENFORCEMENT DISCUSSIONS
4.1 Local Planning Authorities are encouraged to enter into discussions and negotiations, which can bring about improvements that can make an application acceptable or otherwise remedy problems, and thereby potentially speed up the process.
4.2 Such discussions will normally take place at officer level and Members shall, wherever possible, refer requests for such advice to the officers. If Members become involved in such discussions they should make it clear that their views are personal and provisional and they may wish to make a record of the discussion.
4.3 All officers taking part in such discussions shall:
● Identify the decision making process applicable to the application/issue under discussion
● Make it clear that only personal and provisional views can be expressed which will not bind the Council to reach a particular decision when determining an application.
● Express views in the context of the development plan and other material planning considerations.
● Be consistent in interpreting planning policies and Government guidance.
● Advise applicants and neighbours/objectors on procedural matters.
4.4 Occasionally local people or Community / Town Councils or the applicant or his agents will arrange public meetings to discuss a current application and may invite the applicants, Members and officers to attend. Given the need to avoid pre-determination, Members of the Planning Committee and officers who attend such meetings shall only use them for fact-finding; shall not express an opinion for or against the proposal and shall otherwise act in accordance with Paragraphs 2.2 to 2.6 and 4.2.
5. LOBBYING OF MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMITTEE
5.1 Lobbying is the process by which applicants; agents, neighbours, non-Committee Members and other interested parties may seek to persuade Councillors on the Planning Committee to come to a particular decision. It is legitimate for them to approach Members of the Planning Committee and such discussions may help Members to understand the issues and concerns. As stated in the “Nolan Committee Third Report”, it is essential for the proper operation of the Planning system that local concerns are adequately ventilated”
5.2 In responding to approaches of this kind, Planning Committee Members should exercise caution before expressing an opinion that may be taken to indicate that they not taken into account all relevant factors prior to hearing all the evidence and arguments, which will be presented at the Planning Committee. They should explain their position in respect of probity if they express an opinion on a proposal before consideration at the Committee. They should:-
● Explain the procedures by which representations can be made.
● Indicate that a decision will be taken only when all relevant planning considerations have been taken into account.
● Explain the kinds of planning issues that the Council can take into account.
● report issues raised to the officers or
● Direct the public to the Officers so that their views can be considered.
5.3 Decisions of Members of the Planning Committee are subject to the provisions of Section 25 of the Localism Act 2011 which states that a decision maker is not to be taken to have had, or appear to have had, a closed mind when making a decision just because:-
(a) the decision maker has previously done anything that directly or indirectly indicated the view that the decision maker took, or would or might take, in relation to a matter and
(b) the matter was relevant to the decision.
In the context of the planning committee, Section 25 applies to any legal proceedings which challenge the validity of the committee’s decision on the basis that the members of the planning committee were either bias or had predetermined the planning application. Where such a case relies to any extent on proving the member(s) of the planning committee had a closed mind, the party bringing the case
cannot rely on anything previously done or said which related to the member(s). This could include for instance statements made at public meetings, comments in the press or participation in Town or Community meetings by the members concerned. It is considered that Section 25 will make a challenge which relies on establishing bias or pre-determination by reference to a member’s prior comments or statements very difficult to prove.
5.4 However implementation of s.25 does not affect the wider legal requirements for Members of the Planning Committee to take into account all relevant and material planning considerations before reaching their decision. Members therefore need to be aware of these wider legal requirements other than bias and predetermination and any decision could still give rise to challenge on the grounds that relevant considerations were ignored. Members are also subject to paragraph 8 of the Members Code of Conduct which requires them to reach decisions on the merits of the circumstances involved and in the public interest, having regard to any advice provided by officers. The guidance from the Ombudsman identifies pre-determination and bias as relevant evidence relating to this provision and compliance. However S.25 of the Localism Act 2011 does not affect this requirement and members of the Planning Committee will still have to ensure that they take decisions in a way which complies with this paragraph of the Code. Members must also accept and follow advice from officers relating to issues affecting the procedural fairness of the committee and must not create an impression of bias or pre-determination as it is unlikely s.25 would protect the council where procedural fairness is an issue.
6. PLANNING APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED BY MEMBERS, COMMUNITY / TOWN COUNCILS AND OFFICERS
6.1 Planning Applications submitted by, or on behalf of, Members or officers employed by the Council, or by, or on behalf of a spouse, partner, parent, child or sibling or a Member or officer of the Council, where known, shall be decided by the Planning Committee and not, under delegated powers by the Head of Planning Services. This will also apply where the Member is acting as an agent for another party.
6.2 The affected Member(s) must disclose the existence and nature of the interest/relationship and withdraw from involvement in the decision.
6.3 The affected officer shall take no part in the processing of the application and any recommendation made to The Head of Planning under the scheme of delegation or to the Planning Committee.
6.4 Where a Community or Town Council submits a planning application, the County Council Members who are also Members of that Community or Town Council should disclose their interest and will then be permitted to attend the meeting for the purposes of making representations and answering questions relating to the application concerned. The Member must then leave the meeting until the application has been determined by the Committee whereupon the Member can rejoin the meeting to take part in the remaining agenda items.
7. PLANNING APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED BY THE COUNCIL
7.1 It is essential that the Council treat applications for its own development (or a development involving the Council and another party) in a similar manner to all other applications and that this is seen to be the case.
7.2 All such proposals will be subject to the same administration processes, including consultation, as private applications. Determination shall similarly take into account planning policy and any other material planning considerations.
7.3 In order to ensure transparency and openness in dealing with such applications, Council proposals (save for discharge of conditions) will not be dealt with under delegated powers, but will be determined by the Planning Committee.
8. OFFICER'S REPORTS TO THE PLANNING COMMITTEE
8.1 All Planning matters considered by the Planning Committee will be the subject of appropriate written reports by the Head of Planning (or, in the case of legal matters, the Head of Legal Services) incorporating his / her recommendations. Such reports shall be comprehensive, but succinct in setting out the key planning (or legal) issues to be considered (in terms of the provisions of the development plan and other material planning considerations), the substance of any representations received and any relevant planning history.
8.2 Members and officers shall not put pressure on planning officers to make particular recommendations or decisions nor to change recommendations or decisions in respect of any application
9. CONDUCT AND PROCEDURE OF PLANNING COMMITTEE
9.1 The Chairperson of the Planning Committee is responsible for the conduct of the meeting in accord with Council Procedure Rules and the protocol ( Appendix 1 and paragraph 9.3 below) and for the effective delivery of business in a professional, courteous and transparent manner. The Members of the Committee and officers shall respect that role and behave in a manner that is commensurate with the high standards of conduct and propriety that are expected in public office. At the outset of the meeting the Chairperson in conjunction with Democratic Services officers will ensure that all Members of the Committee are all seated in a designated area of the Chamber in order that they are sitting separately from members of the public and any other invitees also present.
9.2 The Chairperson will seek to ensure that Members and officers are treated in accordance with the Council's agreed Protocol For Member/ Officer Relations, with regard to:
● The political neutrality of officers.
● The independence of officers.
● Mutual respect, courtesy, civility and professionalism with respect to differing views.
9.3 Members of the public are permitted to address the meeting subject to the procedure in the protocol “Representations to the County Council on Planning Applications” See Appendix 1 . Where disturbance of the meeting occurs by way of public interference, the chairperson may suspend proceedings until matters are resolved or in extreme situations may close the meeting to the public.
9.4 The deliberations of the Committee will be confined to the published agenda plus any urgent items that have been accepted by the Chairperson in accord with the Local Government Act 1972. The order of business will generally be in accord with the agenda but the Chairperson will seek to bring forward items of business that members of the public or applicants have come to hear.
9.5 The Chairperson will ensure that meetings of the Planning Committee are conducted in accordance with the Council's Committee Procedure Rules and safeguard that appropriate debate is able to take place in a structured and professional manner, with Members being given the opportunity to raise material planning issues (normally through a single presentation). The Chairperson will seek to avoid repetition or irrelevant debate.
9.6 Members shall endeavour to give not less than 24 hours notice (preferably in writing) to the Head of Planning Services of questions requiring a technical or detailed response so that an appropriate response can be prepared for the meeting of the Planning Committee.
9.7 Each planning decision shall be by way of a majority vote, taken in accord with Council procedures and this Code of Practice.
9.8 Planning officer(s) will update the Planning Committee on each application in respect of submissions and other material matters not addressed in the main report and, through the Chair, will be responsible for responding professionally to Member questions.
9.9 Appropriate legal or administration officers will be responsible for advising the Chairperson and the Committee on matters of procedure and protocol.
9.10 Where officers advise the Chairperson of material professional concerns or potential consequences of a particular course of action (or of any potential liabilities or errors of fact) officers shall be afforded reasonable opportunity to concisely explain those matters to the Planning Committee before it reaches a decision. [ Similarly the legal officer present at the meeting shall also be permitted to intervene for the purposes of giving legal advice relating to matters of procedure and planning law at any point before the Committee reaches a decision.
10. PLANNING COMMITTEE SITE INSPECTIONS
Purpose of Committee site inspections
Requests for Committee site inspections
Criteria for agreeing to hold site inspections
Notification of site inspections
Attendance at site inspections
Conduct at site inspections
10.1 Committee site inspections are fact-finding exercises to allow Members to make a more informed decision than would be possible from reading the officer's report and considering the views expressed at the Planning Committee meeting.
10.2 The sole purpose of site inspections is to allow Members to look at the site and its surroundings. In conducting the site visit, the Members will not formally debate the application, express a prior opinion, lobby for any particular decision or come to any decision.
10.3 Requests by Members for site inspections in respect of Committee cases should
wherever possible be made to the Head of Planning as per Council’s resolution 11th December 2006 i.e. three working days before the Committee and in writing Such a request should indicate by reference to material planning conditions why a site visit is necessary and should cite the features Members should inspect while on site. The Head of Planning may present the request to the Committee who shall then decide whether to agree to the Member's request.
10.4 Site visits may also be arranged, upon the advice of the Head of Planning, where there are particular site issues which Members should be aware of prior to the meeting of the Planning Committee.
10.5 Members shall only make such visits where the Planning Committee cannot otherwise make an appropriately informed decision and the inspection would have substantial benefit. The Head of Planning will present G.I.S and photographic evidence in appropriate applications to avoid unnecessary sites visits. Examples where a site visit would
not normally be appropriate include where:
● Purely policy matters or issues of principle are involved.
● The Member simply disagrees with the conclusion reached in the report.
● The Member wishes to consider boundary or neighbour disputes,
● Any issues which are not material planning considerations such as loss of property values.
● Where Councillors have already visited the site within the last 12 months, except in exceptional circumstances.
10.6 All local ward Members will be notified of site inspections. The applicant will also be notified, to facilitate access to the site.
10.7 A list of site visits and times will be publicised in accordance with the normal arrangements and the statutory requirements for Committee meetings.
10.8 Members of the Planning Committee (together with any local Member.
Members in attendance at the site visit will be required to comply with any health and safety advice given in respect of the site. They will also ensure that they wear reflective jackets at all times and take any other safety measures as advised by the Head of Planning or other officer present.
10.9 Members may only enter onto the site with the permission of the site owner who has the right to remain in attendance, when required for organizational reasons
10.10 The site visit will be conducted in private. No representations from the public can be received by the Committee at or during visits to sites.
10.11 The Planning Officer will give a brief summary of the application and the site inspection issues at the beginning of each site visit. 10.12 Members of the Planning Committee attending the site inspection shall not make comments that would create an impression that they have already formed a view on the merits of the application.
10.11 The inspection will be chaired by the Chairperson or Vice Chair of the Planning Committee who will ensure that it is conducted as a single meeting and in an orderly fashion.
10.12 The Planning Officer will give a brief summary of the application and the site inspection issues at the beginning of each site visit.
10.13 Members of the Planning Committee attending the site inspection shall not make comments that would create an impression that they have already formed a view on the merits of the application.
10.14 Members of the Planning Committee shall not discuss the application, other than to clarify issues of fact, and shall not make a decision while on site.
10.15 The applicant when present in the circumstances for the reasons referred to in Paragraph 10.9 will not be permitted to address Members during the site inspection
10.16 Members may through the Chairperson, ask questions of officers and the Local Member, to clarify factual matters relevant to the site inspection. Any such questions put shall be put so that all parties can hear them.
10.17 If a request is received from a third party to inspect the site from a different location, the Members, as a group, should take the view whether to do so. Unless there are good reasons not to do so, such a request should normally be acceded to.
11. PLANNING COMMITTEE DECISIONS CONTRARY TO OFFICER RECOMMENDATION
11.1 From time to time the Committee will disagree with professional advice given by the officers and may decide to determine an application contrary to that advice. When this occurs the Chair of the Planning Committee will ensure that the following principles are followed: -
● Members shall clearly express the planning reason(s) for their decision (and these shall be minuted).
● A member proposing refusal of an application for which the officer recommendation is approval shall state his/her reasons prior to the vote being taken. In some cases, when this occurs, the matter may need to be deferred for a further report.
11.2 Officers shall be given an opportunity to explain to the Planning Committee the planning and/or legal implications of their intended decision before the decision is confirmed.
11.3 Where the Planning Committee wishes to add or amend conditions/ reasons or attach a planning obligation, officers shall be given the opportunity to explain the planning and/or legal implications before the decision is confirmed.
11.4 The Committee shall ascertain officers' views in respect of paragraph
12. APPEALS AGAINST COUNCIL DECISIONS
12.1 Officers will organise and generally appear as witnesses at planning appeals and other proceedings on behalf of the Council. In some circumstances (such as where specialist evidence is required or where a Member decision is contrary to officer recommendation) it may be necessary to appoint consultants to appear for the Council.
12.2 In giving evidence Officers will present the best possible case on behalf of the Council while complying with the RTPI Code of Professional Conduct. The Royal Town Planning Institute Code of Professional Practice requires, inter alia, that Planning Officers who are members of the Institute do not make statements purporting to be their own, but which are contrary to their bona fide professional opinion.
12.3 In cases where the appeal is against a decision, which the Committee has made contrary to Officers' recommendation, the planning case-officer may be able to give evidence. However in some cases, another officer or consultants will be employed if the Head of Planning considers that the case-officer's previously stated views (or those of the Planning Services as a whole) might be unhelpful to presenting the Committee's position.
12.4 Members can have an important role to play in appeals and may, within set deadlines, make written representations to the Inspector and may also appear at informal hearings or as a witness at public local inquiries. In doing so they should state whether they are acting in their local Councillor capacity or, exceptionally, representing the Council's case.
12.5 Where planning officers are unable to defend decisions on appeal (due to requirements of the professional conduct rules of the Royal Town Planning Institute) the Planning Committee should be aware of this before the final vote is taken. In such cases, the Committee shall nominate (at least) two of its members who voted contrary to the recommendation to appear at any appeal and explain the Committee's decisions and the reasons for them. These should normally be the proposer and seconder of the proposal, which was contrary to officers' recommendation.
12.6 Planning and Legal Officers will support Members attending or wishing to make representations at appeals and advise them on preparing and delivering evidence. Legal Officers will attend Inquiries and / or assist in preparing representations when Legal representation is required
13. MEMBER TRAINING
13.1 The Council considers that Members of the Planning Committee should undertake training and that this opportunity be offered to all Members. Council Procedure Rules provide that only members who have attended appropriate training shall be appointed or allowed to continue as members or attend as substitute members
13.2 Members will be offered and expected to attend core training (normally within three months of appointment to the Committee). The subject matter will cover planning procedures, the development plan and material planning considerations, probity and other subjects determined from time to time by officers in consultation with the Members.
13.3 Other training will be available in the form of additional sessions, short presentations to the Committee and the circulation of briefing notes.
13.4 Attendance at training events will be recorded and will be monitored through the relevant Scrutiny Committee, member of the Planning Committee must receive annual training.
14. REVIEW OF DECISIONS
14.1 The Audit Commission's Report 'Building Quality' recommends that Councillors should visit a sample of implemented planning permissions to assess the quality of the decisions. The purpose of such a review is not to change decisions, but to assess and improve the quality and consistency of decisions and thereby strengthen public confidence and assist in reviewing planning policy.
14.2 The Planning Committee will undertake an annual review of a sample of planning decisions made by the Committee. The review will include examples from a range of development types (e.g. major residential proposals, listed building consents and enforcement cases) and, where it is considered appropriate and beneficial, include visits to the sites.
14.3 The Planning Committee will formally consider the results of the review and decide whether it gives rise to the need for new policies, procedures and practices.
14.4 The outcome of appeals against the decisions of the Council will be reported regularly to Planning Committee so that any lessons can be learned. The outcome of enforcement cases and legal proceedings will also be reported regularly so that the Planning Committee is kept up to date.
This Protocol explains how communication will take place with Members of the Council. It encompasses communication between Members themselves and between Members and officers of the Council.
It is intended to state clearly, to Members and officers:
● What information will be provided?
● What support will be provided?
● How it will be provided?
● Who is responsible for providing information and support?
The Protocol identifies three key areas:
● Information provision
● Support Services
All Members also have access to information through their respective Group Meetings, the Opposition Spokespersons Liaison Committee and by contacting Executive Board Members direct.
Members are looking for information within the following broad categories:
● Council, Executive and Committee Decisions
● Ward Information
● Contact Information
● Council News
● Access to Information (private & confidential)
Members want access to information about the decisions being made by the Council, Committees, Executive Board and Executive Board Members.
Under the new political arrangements Executive Board Members make decisions in two forums:
1) Executive Board Meetings, and
2) Executive Board Member Decision-Making Meetings.
1.1.1 Agenda and Reports
The Council will:
Executive Board Agenda at least three working days in advance of meetings
● Publish copies of all agenda and reports
are published on the Council Intranet and Internet
● Send E.mails
are sent to all Members, informing them that the Agenda are available to view on the Intranet ( an electronic link to the agenda will also be included in the message)
Hard Copies of agenda and reports are Provide a hard copy of agenda and reports to view and inspect in the Members’ Lounge at County Hall. . available in all Members Rooms
Council, Executive Board and Committee Meetings are held in public and members can attend as observers.
Members are entitled to have access to public committee papers and background information identified in a public report to Council, Executive Board or any committee.
Circulation of Exempt reports is restricted are only made available to the Members of the Committee considering that report. (See also Appendix 1 of this protocol regarding access to exempt /confidential information)
Executive Board Member Decision Meetings are not open to the public and press to attend
The Democratic Services Unit are responsible for the publication of all Agenda and accompanying reports.
Contact: Colin Davies, Democratic Services Manager 01267 224029 Int. Ext No. 4029
1.1.2 Minutes and Decision Notices
The Democratic Services Unit also produce and publish all Council and Committee Meeting Minutes and Executive Board and Executive Board Member Decision Notices
no more than three working days after the meeting,
The Council will:
● Copies of Decision Notices are published on the Council Intranet and Internet
● Send copies of the Decision Notices of Executive Board Meetings
are sent to all Members on the relevant Scrutiny Committee, by email, within three working days of the meeting and publish them on the Council’s intranet and website.
● Members of the relevant Scrutiny Committee
members then have an opportunity to “Call in” any decision within a further 3 working days where there are genuine and serious grounds for doing so, before the decision can be actioned.
(The procedures for call in are set out in Article 6.6 of Part 2 of this Constitution
● Copies of the minutes of Council and Committee Meetings are published on the Council Intranet and Internet within 10 working days of the meeting
● Decision Notices are then published on the Intranet for all Members to view ● Hard copies of Decision Notices are also available in all Members Rooms
The Democratic Services Unit are responsible for publication of all Council & Committee Meeting Minutes and Executive Board / Executive Board Member Decision Notices.
Contact: Colin Davies, Democratic Services Manager 01267 224029 Int Ext No. 4029
1.1.3 Press Releases
The Council will:
Publish Press Releases, relating to Agenda items and Decision Notices, in advance of, and after, the respective meeting.
● All press releases will be published in accordance with the Protocol for Dealing with the Press & Media
● All press releases will be published daily on the Council’s Intranet and Internet sites
● Weekly News Bulletin ‘Hot off the press’, will be sent to Members, in hard copy ● Weekly press cuttings will be sent to all Executive Board Members, Group Leaders, Chair and Vice-Chair and copies made available in all Members Rooms
The Communications Section are responsible for publishing all press releases.
Contact: Debbie Williams, Press Manager 01267 224037 Int Ext No. 4037
Members want to be kept informed about what is happening in their area.
The Council will inform local Members, by email, about:
● Planning Applications – the Council has a statutory responsibility to inform Members about applications
● New capital schemes – e.g. highway schemes, new developments or buildings
● Major work on Council property or facilities – e.g. housing repair schemes, school extensions
● Service developments/launch of new services or initiatives – e.g. grant schemes, environmental initiatives, road safety projects, extension to schools
● Closure of facilities or suspension of services – e.g. closure of a leisure centre, school or care facility
● Changes or disruption to service delivery – e.g. road closure, refuse collection
Heads of Service are responsible for ensuring that Members are kept informed of new developments within their electoral wards.
1.3 CONTACT INFORMATION
Members want an effective system for dealing with their enquiries/complaints and they want up to date contact information for key officers.
The Council will:
Publish a contact list of key officers, within each Department. This information will be published in hard copy,
updated quarterly, and will also be available on the Council Intranet.
Operate a Members Enquiry Service. Enquiries will be taken directly by the Democratic Services unit from members in person, via telephone, E mail or via the Enquiry Forms available on the Intranet.
Heads of Service are asked to respond to Members enquiries within a maximum of 10 working days but invariably will do so much sooner than this.
The Democratic Services Unit is responsible for Member Support and the Members’ Enquiry Service.
Contact: Colin Davies, Democratic Services Manager 01267 224029 Int Ext No.4029 or the DSU Reception on 01267224028 Int Ext No. 4028
1.4 Council News Covered by 1.1.3 above Members want to be kept up to date with news and information relating to the Council and services. The Council will: ● Published press releases in accordance with the Protocol for Dealing with the Press & Media ● Publish all press releases on the Council’s Intranet and Internet sites ● Weekly News Bulletin ‘Hot off the press’, will be sent to Members, in hard copy ● Weekly press cuttings will be sent to all Executive Board Members, Group Leaders, Chair and Vice-Chair and copies made available in all Members Rooms The Communications Section is responsible for publishing all press releases. Contact: Debbie Williams, Press Manager 01267 224037 Int Ext No. 4037 1) Ensure that all policy/strategy documents have a concise executive summary. 2) Ensure that all Members Rooms [Carmarthen, Llanelli Town Hall, Ammanford and Llandeilo] provide a library of council information and access to computers.
1.4 ACCESS TO INFORMATION
The Council’s Constitution clearly states what information Members have a right to access.
Under the Data Protection Act there are restrictions on accessing personal information. For further details please see Appendix One of this protocol and Part 4.2 of the Council’s Constitution which contains the Access to Information Procedure Rules.
Members want to be consulted on matters affecting their ward.
The Council will:
● Consult Members on issues, concerning their ward, before the matter goes before Executive Board/Council/Committee for decision
● Consult Members, by
post or E.Mail, allowing at least five working days for that Member to respond
● The consultation document will include a brief overview/letter detailing the purpose of the consultation, an executive summary of any relevant documentation and details of where further information is available
● Where consultation meetings are being arranged for Members they will be sent a notice at least three working days in advance of the meeting
● A summary of the response from Members will be included on the report cover sheet distributed with the Agenda
● Consult Members through the following
number of forums:
● Scrutiny Committees – have a role in policy development and will be used to consult Members on policy developments and decisions being considered by the Executive Board/Council
● Area Committees – have a role in policy development and implications for local areas, and will be used to consult Members ● County Council – ‘first readings’ of new policies at County Council will be used to consult all Members.
● Advisory Panels – are forums established by the Executive Board to review existing policies and to develop new ones, they involve non-executive members as part of these groups.
for consulting members on policy development
● Where specific consultation meetings are being arranged for Members they will be sent a notice at least three working days in advance of the meeting ● A summary of the response from consultations undertaken Committees will be included on the report cover sheet distributed with the Agenda
Heads of Service are responsible for ensuring that Local Members are consulted on matters going before the Executive Board / Executive Board Members / Council and Committees for decision.
● IT Support
● Postal Service
● Council Diary
3.1 Information Technology Support
want require support in using IT and expect all Members are expected to use the IT Equipment provided by the Council as the initial point for accessing information.
The Council will:
3.1.1 Provide an IT Support Service during normal office hours
● 08:45 to 17:00 Monday to Thursday,
● 08:45 to 16:30 Friday, excluding all Public and Extra Statutory Holidays.
Provide IT support outside of these times for e-mail and Internet access. Support is available by contacting Careline on 01558 824283.
18:00 until midnight Monday to Friday;
08:00 to Midnight at the weekend. Excluding all Public and Extra Statutory Holidays:
3.1.3 Aim to resolve all technical problems within 10 hours and also, if there is a requirement, provide support after 6pm, provided a Help Desk Call has been made that day.
IT Services are responsible for IT support
Contact IT Services Help Desk 01267 246789 Int Ext No. 6789
Informal one to one IT training and advice is provided by Democratic Services Unit Staff
Formal IT Training for all Members, will be arranged by the People Management & Performance Division,
on a one to one basis, being proactive about encouraging Members to take advantage of the training available Provide access to ECDL Training to enable Members to achieve the European Computer Driving Licence.
Following each County Council Election there will be a comprehensive induction programme for all members over a range of subjects including IT which will be complimented by an ongoing programme of development and seminars
People Management and Performance is responsible for
IT Training supporting Member Development. Contact Caroline Blackburn 01267 246171 Int Ext No. 6171.
3.2 Postal Service
Members want to minimise the amount of information sent, to them, in the post.
The Council will:
Use email as the main method of communication with Members including sending notices of meetings and decisions
Provide Members with a hard copy of agendas for those Committees on which they serve
Provide each Member with a pigeon hole in the Democratic Services Unit at County Hall where non urgent mail can be collected in person
Post mail to Members at the end of each week, if it has not been collected from their pigeon hole
3.3 Council Diary of Meetings
Members want the Council Diary to be managed to minimise instances where meetings clash.
The Council will:
Ensure that all meetings involving Members are included in the Council Diary
Publish the Council Diary on the Internet and Intranet
Avoid arranging any meetings on the same day as County Council, to allow for Council meetings extending into the afternoon (The exception being All Member Development Seminars / Consultation events)
The Democratic Services Unit are responsible for managing the Council Diary of meetings.
Contact: DSU Reception on 01267224028 Int Ext No. 4028
Appendix 1 - Restrictions on access to information
The Council’s Constitution clearly states what information Members have a right to access:
“Members have a right to inspect Council documents, so far as their access to the documents is reasonably necessary to enable them to properly to perform their duties as a members of the Council. This principle is commonly referred to as the “need to know” principle…but a member has no right to a “roving commission” to examine documents of the Council. Mere curiosity is not sufficient”.
The decision, on whether there is a “need to know” basis for a member to access that information, must initially be made by the relevant Director and Monitoring Officer. In the event of a dispute, the matter may be referred to the relevant Executive Board Member(s) and Director, with legal advice from the Monitoring Officer.
Members do not have the right to access personal or confidential information relating to a resident or business. In these instances, individuals are protected by the Data Protection Act.
Access to personal or confidential information relating to a resident or business
Access by members to personal information held by the Council relating to a third party is a complex area of law and members are therefore advised to apply to the Council’s Monitoring Officer for the release of such information setting out their reasons for doing so. The Monitoring Officer will then consider each case on its merits and advise the member on how such information can be used and if it should be released by them to the public.
Members should also be aware that individuals are protected by the Data Protection Act. Severe penalties (£100k and more) have been imposed by the Information Commissioner on Council’s that have been found to be in breach of the provisions of the Act.
More detailed advice regarding Members rights to inspect Council documents can be obtained from the Monitoring Officer, Linda Rees Jones on 01267 224010 ext 4010.
1.1 The implementation of sections 19 and 20 of the Police and Justice Act 2006 in Wales has given local councillors the power to refer local crime and disorder issues to the Environmental and Public Protection, Crime and Disorder Scrutiny Committee. These new powers strengthen the ability of the Committee to scrutinise key partners in relation to community safety, as from 1st October 2009. This is known as a Local Crime and Disorder Referral (referred to as a LCDR in the remainder of this guidance).
1.2 The subsequent implementation of section 63 of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 gives local councillors the power to refer any local matter which relates to the discharge of functions of the Council to a relevant Scrutiny Committee, as from 1st April 2012. This is known as a Councillor Call for Action (referred to as a CCfA in the remainder of this guidance).
1.3 As part of their community leadership role, councillors have always attempted to resolve issues on behalf of their local residents. The CCfA and LCDR process provides an additional avenue for councillors to follow if the normal ways of resolving an issue have not been successful and the issue meets the criteria for a referral. It should be noted that a referral under this process should be seen as a last resort after all other avenues have been exhausted.
2 How should I normally attempt to resolve a crime and disorder issue or other issue in my area?
2.1 Local issues can be resolved in a number of ways by councillors on behalf of their residents, including:-
● Informal discussions with officers or other councillors
● Informal discussions with partner representatives
● Referral of matters to other “scrutiny bodies” such as Community Health Councils or internal audit committees
● Approach the relevant Neighbourhood Policing Team or monthly local Partnerships and Communities Together (PACT) meeting
● Local Anti-Social-Behaviour Groups
● Formal discussions with officers and councillors
● Write a formal letter to the Executive Board Member on behalf of constituents
● Ask a question at Full Council
● Submit a motion to Full Council
● Public meeting
● Freedom of Information request
● Communication with local MPs or AMs
● Web or email based campaigns
2.2 This is not an exhaustive list and councillors may choose different routes for specific issues. If an issue has not been resolved after exhausting all possible alternative routes, then a local councillor can refer it to the relevant Scrutiny Committee.
3 What is a Local Crime and Disorder Referral?
3.1 In order for the Committee to accept a CCfA or a LCDR as an agenda item for discussion at one of their meetings;
● a LCDR must concern crime and disorder and may include anti-social behaviour or other behaviour adversely affecting the local environment, such as the misuse of drugs, alcohol or other substances,
● a CCfA must be a local government matter which falls within the remit of a scrutiny committee,
● and, in both cases, must affect either all or part of a councillor’s electoral area or it must affect someone who lives or works in that area.
3.2 A councillor does not however need a referral from a constituent in order to start the process. It is important to recognise that a CCfA or LCDR is not guaranteed to solve a given problem, though it can provide a method for discussing such problems and, through discussion, attempt to overcome them.
3.3 A councillor may wish to use this process, for example, where multi-agency discussion and work has taken place in relation to a particular issue but the action taken is not seen to be working. Despite complaints to the appropriate agencies, problems continue to occur in the area.
4 How and When should I make a CCfA or a LCDR?
4.1 A flowchart showing the process is provided at Appendix 1. A councillor may initiate the process by completing the form at Appendix 2. Further copies are available from the Democratic Services Unit. It is important that the local councillor specifies what outcome is expected from the referral. After completion the form should be returned to the Democratic Services Unit, which will log each request to track its progress and forward a copy of the form to the Head of Administration and Law (The Proper Officer) and the relevant scrutiny officer.
4.2 The Proper Officer will confirm whether or not the referral satisfies the requirements outlined in section 3 above to enable it to be placed on the agenda for discussion at a meeting of the Committee. Nevertheless, the Proper Officer reserves the right to exclude from the agenda any matter which is vexatious, discriminatory or otherwise potentially unlawful.
4.3 Assuming that the referral meets the requirements in section 3 above, the member should still be careful to ensure that the timing of the referral is not premature and that all other potential remedies outlined in section 2 above have been exhausted, before a referral is made to the Committee. Members should be aware that if a premature referral is made, the Committee is likely to refuse to deal with the issue, based on the criteria outlined in section 5 below. If the Proper Officer believes that the referral is premature, he/she will advise the member accordingly.
5 What happens when my CCfA or LCDR comes before the Committee?
5.1 It is up to the members of the Committee to decide whether, and in what form, to take the matter further. The Committee will use the following criteria to decide whether or not the referral is appropriate to be considered by Committee:-
● Is the Committee satisfied that all reasonable attempts have been made to resolve the issue by the local councillor? Do the responses received by the referring councillor demonstrate that the matter is not being progressed?
● Has the committee considered a similar issue recently – if so, had the circumstances or evidence changed?
● Is there a similar or related issue which is the subject of a review on the current work programme? It may be more appropriate to link the new issue to an existing review, rather than hold a separate CCfA or LCDR hearing. Relevant time pressures on resolving the CCfA or LCDR should be taken into account
● Have all relevant service areas or partner organisations been informed and been given enough time to resolve the issue? What response has the councillor received?
● Is this a case that is being or should be pursued via the Council’s corporate complaints procedure?
● Is it relating to a “quasi-judicial” matter or decision such as planning or licensing?
● Is the issue part of an individual’s own personal agenda (an issue of genuine local concern should have an impact on the local community)?
● Is this an issue currently being looked at by another form of local scrutiny?
● And, as with all scrutiny, does the matter have the potential for scrutiny to produce recommendations which could realistically be implemented and lead to improvements for anyone living or working in the member’s ward?
5.2 If the Committee decides not to accept the CCfA or LCDR it must inform the councillor of the decision and the reasons for it.
5.3 If the Committee decides to accept the CCfA or LCDR, it must decide how it intends to take the matter forward and include the CCfA or LCDR in its work programme. This could include:-
Before holding a formal hearing:-
● Asking the Executive Board or relevant responsible authorities to respond to the CCfA or LCDR
● Setting up a research or task and finish group to undertake a more in-depth review.
At a formal hearing:-
● Asking for further evidence and/or witnesses to be brought to a future meeting. The Committee also has the power to invite representatives from partner authorities on the Community Safety Partnership to attend, where relevant for a LCDR, and to request information.
5.4 Any discussion in Committee would be based on how to achieve the outcomes that the councillor bringing the referral had specified. The discussion would explore potential solutions, and the item may end with the Committee recommending that certain action be taken by the relevant responsible authorities. It should be pointed out that discussions at committee will not necessarily resolve the issue immediately. However, the process can act as a spur for councillors and responsible authorities to work together to jointly develop policies to overcome the problem.
6 Potential outcomes from a CCfA or LCDR
6.1 Following a formal hearing, there are a number of potential outcomes from the Committee meeting:-
● The Committee could determine not to make a report
● The Committee could determine that it is a complex issue that requires further investigation and commission a scrutiny review of the issue
● The Committee could write a report and make recommendations on the CCfA or LCDR to the Executive Board or relevant responsible authority.
6.2 Once the Committee has completed its work, the councillor who made the referral will receive a copy of any report or recommendations made. The reply will also be printed on the Council’s website (unless there are reasons why the committee treats the matter as an exempt item, in which case the report will not be made public).
7 Timescales for dealing with a CCfA or LCDR
7.1 Once a CCfA or LCDR has been assessed as meeting the requirements outlined in section 3.1, the item will be included on the next available Committee agenda, unless the councillor agrees to postpone or withdraw the referral on the basis that it is premature.
7.2 In exceptional circumstances, for example where there are unavoidable time constraints, a separate meeting may be convened. Should a CCfA or LCDR hearing result in recommendations to the Executive Board or responsible authorities, they will be requested to make a response to the recommendations within 28 days and 2 months respectively.
7.3 The Committee will monitor implementation of any recommendations on a regular basis as part of its forward work programme.
8 Review of this Guidance
8.2 This guidance is based on a model prepared and approved by the Association of County Secretaries and Solicitors (ACSeS) in October 2009, amended in light of section 63 of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011. ACSeS will review their model guidance in light of experience of the use of these procedures by local authorities in Wales, and this guidance may therefore be modified accordingly.
Flow Chart for Councillor Call for Action or Crime and Disorder Referral
COUNCILLOR CALL FOR ACTION OR LOCAL CRIME AND DISORDER REFERRAL
This form should be used by any county councillor who would like a scrutiny committee to consider a Call for Action or Crime and Disorder Referral in their electoral ward area.
For the attention of the Head of Administration and Law
From: Councillor _________________________________
Please briefly explain what the issue is and how it affects your ward
Action taken to date:
Please explain what steps have been taken, with whom, to try to resolve the issue (please tick the actions you have taken to date)
□ Informal discussions with officers or other councillors
□ Informal discussions with partner representatives
□ Referral of matters to other “scrutiny bodies” such as Community Health Councils or internal audit committees
□ Approach the relevant Neighbourhood Policing Team or monthly local Partnerships and Communities Together (PACT) meeting
□ Approach Local Anti-Social-Behaviour Groups
□ Formal discussions with officers and councillors
□ Write a formal letter to the Executive Board Member on behalf of constituents
□ Ask a question at Full Council
□ Submit a motion to Full Council
□ Public meeting
□ Freedom of Information request
□ Communication with local MPs or AMs
□ Web or email based campaigns
Additional actions and further detail:
Are there any deadlines associated with the issue which the scrutiny committee needs to be aware of?
Yes / No (please delete as applicable)
If yes, please give details
Please describe the outcome you hope to gain via this referral
Please list documents attached which should evidence the impact of the issue, the steps taken and any responses received.
The following criteria will be taken into consideration when the Committee decide whether to progress with your CCfA or LCDR:
♦ Have all reasonable attempts have been made to resolve the issue? Do the responses received by you demonstrate that the matter is not being progressed?
♦ Has the committee considered a similar issue recently – if yes had the circumstances or evidence changed?
♦ Is there a similar or related issue which is the subject of a review on the current work programme? It may be more appropriate to link the new issue to an existing review, rather than hold a separate CCfA or LCDR hearing. Relevant time pressures on resolving the CCfA or LCDR should be taken into account.
♦ Have all relevant service areas or partner organisations been informed and been given enough time to resolve the issue? What response have you received?
♦ Is this a case that is being or should be pursued via the Council’s corporate complaints procedure?
♦ Is it relating to a “quasi-judicial” matter or decision such as planning or licensing?
♦ Is the issue part of a personal agenda (an issue of genuine local concern should have an impact on the local community)?
♦ Is this an issue currently being looked at by another form of local scrutiny?
♦ And, as with all scrutiny, does the matter referred have the potential for scrutiny to produce recommendations which could realistically be implemented and lead to improvements for anyone living or working in your ward?
Please consider whether you referral might be considered premature by the Committee. Consider whether other potential remedies have been exhausted, before a referral is made. Members should be aware that if a premature referral is made, the Committee is likely to refuse to deal with the issue, based on the criteria outlined above. If the Proper Officer believes that the referral is premature, he/she will advise you accordingly.
Please return your completed form to the Democratic Services Unit, Carmarthenshire County Council, County Hall, Carmarthen SA31 9JB