Agenda item

Welsh Government Guidance for s 62 & s 63 LGE21 - published on 15th June 2023


We noted that the Welsh Government had published its guidance on the two new duties under section 62 and 63 on the 15th June 2023. At the meeting of the Standards Committee in March 2022, members looked at the draft guidance and felt they did not need to put in a response to the consultation. It was explained that the new duties came into force in May 2022 and the Monitoring Officer made all Political Group Leaders aware of the new duties placed on them and noted the new duties placed on the Standards Committee.


We were presented with information relevant to the committee, which was contained in Part 2 of the document, under sections 4-7. The Chair provided an overview of the changes that had been included since the draft document. In doing so, the following points were noted:


·        Paragraph 4.29 - the requirement for Political Group Leaders to keep records of steps they have taken.

·        Paragraph 4.36 – Political Group Leaders should meet with the Standards Committee on several items detailed. 

·        Members expressed concerns over the prescriptiveness of the new duties imposed on both Political Group Leaders and the Standards Committee.

·        A number of questions were raised on the implementation of the new responsibilities that would need to be raised with the new Monitoring Officer.

·        We noted that there was now a duty placed on the Standards Committee to establish the threshold on what they are content with the Political Group Leaders complying with.

·        Members felt that there was a significant shift in the committees’ terms from that of oversight and guidance, to active involvement. Members noted that the guidance states they should be providing advice on statutory guidance, which the committee felt that as independent members, they should remain at arm’s length to operational matters.

·        Paragraph 5.7 – Standards Committee should play a proactive role in promoting and supporting high standards of conduct in Town and Community Councils. We noted that One Voice Wales provided support and training to the community councils.

·        Paragraph 5.10 – Standards Committee to regularly review the approach taken in respect of gifts and hospitality.

·        Paragraph 6.4 – Standards Committee should meet with group leaders at the beginning of each council year.

·        A question was raised relating to the training records for Town and Community Council and it was agreed that information would be sought on what the provisions of the training plan were.

·        A further query was raised as to whether Planning Officers would be interested in providing a training session open to all Town and Community Councils.

·        Members noted that the Standards Committee cannot mandate any training, as stated in paragraph 7.7.

·        Paragraph 7.8 – we noted the requirement for the Standards Committee Annual Report to be shared with the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales and Town and Community Councils.


Members expressed serious concerns regarding the new duties, which in effect, change the role of the Standards Committee without justification or explanation of what is felt is wrong with the current model.


The chair agreed to contact One Voice Wales to see if they would provide information on training delivered to town and community councils in Monmouthshire.



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