Tuesday, 24 June 2014

WLGA announce Carmarthenshire Governance Review

Given that this is a matter of public interest, the Welsh Local Government Association have announced the governance review, and the panel, as a press release on their website. I have copied it in full below.

There are numerous posts on the subject on this blog, most recently here, Ten years of damage - the Carmarthenshire Review

Press Release;

WLGA Review of Governance, Carmarthenshire County Council

24 June 2014

Carmarthenshire County Council has commissioned the WLGA to undertake an independent peer review of its governance arrangements. The review remit was agreed by the Council’s Group Leaders and was approved, with additional amendments, by full Council on Thursday 12th June 2014.

The Review’s purpose is to help make Carmarthenshire become the most open and the most transparent council in Wales. The terms of reference are:

  • The conduct of council business, in particular:
  • The effectiveness or otherwise of current procedures or protocols such as notices of motion, urgent and exempt terms, scrutiny, declarations of interest and
  • Ensuring that reports fully set out legal, financial and equality implications of proposed policies and schemes/
  • Transparency and accountability to members, including the role of scrutiny and the availability of information for members, including the recording, dissemination and communication of council decisions;
  • The role of Full Council, including consideration of the new Modular Constitution; and
  • Member development and support and the role of Democratic Services function.

The review team comprises:

Byron Davies, Former Chief Executive of Cardiff Council

Rod Alcott, WLGA Associate (former Wales Audit Office)

Cllr Paul Griffiths, Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council (Labour)

Anna Nicholl, Former Ministerial Special Advisor (Plaid Cymru)

With team support provided by Daniel Hurford and Sarah Titcombe of the WLGA.

The team is currently undertaking preparatory research and is finalising the approach of the review, including identifying key interviewees, groups and stakeholders to engage with; the Peer Team will wish to seek the views of all members across the council chamber, as well of those of key partners and stakeholders. Further details will follow in due course.

The review team will be at the Council from the week beginning 30th June and it is anticipated that the team will meet at the Council for two days per week throughout July. At this stage, it is proposed that interim conclusions and recommendations will be reported towards the end of July in order to inform the Council's wider work of reviewing its constitution. Following the interim feedback at the end of July, a final report will be prepared for submission in September.

The review will not consider the specific issues of the WAO's recent Public Interest Reports, however those reports will form part of the evidence base for the team who will inevitably consider any potential areas for improvement as a result of those reports; the aim is very much to look forward and make any recommendations for improvement that will help the council achieve its objective of being the most open and transparent council in Wales.

For more information contact: Daniel Hurford

End of press release.

Link to WLGA here

It sounds all a bit local government-speak to me, and I'm not sure who they mean by 'key partners', 'groups' and that dreaded word 'stakeholders'. Hopefully they mean the public.

As for the reference to the WAO reports, and 'looking forward', if it were not for the findings of unlawful activity regarding the chief executive's pension payments and the libel indemnity, there would be no review.

As for the libel indemnity itself, and also the current suspension of the 'Libel cost amendment' from the Council's Constitution, there are still matters to be resolved. I have written to the acting Head of Law, Linda Rees Jones for further details. I await a reply.

(Update 17.31; I have received an email from the WLGA which states that the panel will be meeting this week and next to consider how it will go about seeking the views of interested 'stakeholders' (the public, I presume?), whether via web forms with key questions or an email address. I am told that further information and contact details will be available shortly)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let's hope they're not too shy to approach one particular 'key interviewee', now that he's back from his gardening leave and is still under the impression that nothing is wrong.