The Mayor invited the Chair of the Democratic Services Committee (DSC) to present the report.
Councillor Ferris highlighted that the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 requires the Committee to report annually to the Council on the work that it has carried out in the past 12 months and its future work programme.
This annual report covered the period from November 2020 to November 2021.
The Committee was politically balanced group which worked together in a non-partisan manner to consider various aspects of the Constitution and other matters that impacted on the governance of the Council.
The Report highlighted the important work carried out by the Committee last year. We met on four occasions during the past 12 months and continued to meet remotely in accordance with agreed Council protocols. It was anticipated that additional meetings would need to be arranged during the remainder of this year in order to complete our forward work programme in readiness for the May 2022 local elections.
Most of the work of the Committee was in relation to the review of the Council’s governance and Constitutional arrangements, to meet the requirements of the legislative changes in the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act. In particular, the committee considered the technology and protocols required for hybrid meetings, remote access and live broadcasting of Council meetings and the IT support required by elected members as part of the New Working Model. The Committee had overseen the development of a draft public participation and engagement strategy, and intended to publish for consultation early in the New Year.
DSC had recommended to Council changes to the name, terms of reference and membership of the new Governance and Audit Committee, and recruitment was already underway for the new independent members of the Committee.
The DSC considered the IRP draft annual report and noted the proposals for a significant reset for all members’ allowances as from May 2022 in the light of the significant changes since the previous allowances were fixed.
The Committee contributed towards the development of the national competency framework and induction training programme for new Councillors and a Democracy Handbook. All of this work would need to be completed in the next six months, together with a re-working of the Council’s constitution and the production of a summary document. Therefore, it would be an extremely busy and important period for the Committee
The Committee was satisfied that adequate resource continued to be made available to fulfil the roles and responsibilities under the Measure and the new legislation. The DSC was pleased to note that, following successful appointments to the Democratic Services Manager position and the Scrutiny Adviser posts, the Governance Team was now up to a full complement of staff.
It was moved and duly seconded that the DSC Annual report should be noted and agreed.
That Council receive the Committee’s annual report in order to meet the requirements of the Local Government Measure.
To note the content of the Head of Democratic Services Annual Report, as supporting evidence that the Committee has carried out its responsibility to review the adequacy of staff to support members.