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Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Decisions, Documents and Meetings) (Wales) Regulations 2001

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Welsh Statutory Instruments

2001 No. 2290 (W. 178)

LOCAL GOVERNMENT, WALES

Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Decisions, Documents and Meetings) (Wales) Regulations 2001

Made

21st June 2001

Coming into force

28th July 2001

The National Assembly for Wales makes the following Regulations in exercise of the powers conferred upon it by sections 22(6), (7), (8), (9), (10), (11) and (12), 105 and 106 of the Local Government Act 2000(1):

PART IGENERAL

Name, commencement and application

1.—(1) The name of these Regulations is the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Decisions, Documents and Meetings) (Wales) Regulations 2001 and they shall come into force on 28th July 2001.

(2) These Regulations apply to Wales only.

Interpretation

2.  In these Regulations—

  • “the 1972 Act” (“Deddf 1972”) means the Local Government Act 1972(2);

  • “the 2000 Act” (“Deddf 2000”) means the Local Government Act 2000;“background papers” (“papurau cefndir”), in relation to a report, means those documents, other than published works, that—

    (a)

    relate to the subject matter of the report; and

    (b)

    in the opinion of the proper officer—

    (i)

    disclose any facts or matters on which the report or an important part of the report is based, and

    (ii)

    were relied on to a material extent in preparing the report;

  • “confidential information” (“gwybodaeth gyfrinachol”) means—

    (a)

    information furnished to the authority by the National Assembly for Wales or by a Government department upon terms (however expressed) which forbid the disclosure of the information to the public; and

    (b)

    information the disclosure of which to the public is prohibited by or under any enactment or by the order of a court,

    and in either case, a reference to the obligation of confidence is to be construed accordingly;

  • “copy” (“copi”), in relation to any document, includes a copy made from a copy;

  • “decision-maker” (“penderfynwr”) means the decision making body by which, or the individual member by whom, an executive decision is made;

  • “decision making body” (“corff penderfynu ”) in relation to an executive decision means—

    (a)

    the executive of a local authority;

    (b)

    a committee of a local authority executive;

    (c)

    a joint committee, where all the members of the joint committee are members of a local authority executive; or

    (d)

    a sub-committee of a joint committee, where all the members of the joint committee are members of a local authority executive, which is authorised to discharge the function to which the executive decision relates in accordance with the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Discharge of Functions) (Wales) Regulations 2001(3);

  • “document” (“dogfen”) means any report or background paper, other than one which is only in a draft form, taken into consideration in relation to an executive decision;

  • “executive decision” (“penderfyniad gweithrediaeth”) means a decision made or to be made by a decision-maker in connection with the discharge of a function which is the responsibility of the executive of a local authority;

  • “exempt information” (“gwybodaeth esempt”) has the meaning given by section 100I of the 1972 Act (exempt information and power to vary Schedule 12A)(4);

  • “information” (“gwybodaeth”) includes an expression of opinion, recommendation and any decision made;

  • “joint committee” (“cyd-bwyllgor”) means a committee appointed under section 102(1) of the 1972 Act (appointment of committees) in accordance with regulations made under section 120 of the 2000 Act(5);

  • “local authority"(“awdurdod lleol”) means a county council or a county borough council which is operating executive arrangements in accordance with the 2000 Act;"meeting” (“cyfarfod”), means a meeting of the executive of the authority, or of a committee or sub-committee of that executive, in accordance with these regulations;

  • “newspaper” (“papur newydd”) includes—

    (a)

    a news agency which systematically carries on the business of selling and supplying reports or information to newspapers; and

    (b)

    any organisation which is systematically engaged in collecting news—

    (i)

    for sound or television broadcasts; or

    (ii)

    for inclusion in programmes to be included in any programme service within the meaning of the Broadcasting Act 1990 other than a sound or television broadcasting service within the meaning of Part III or Part I of that Act respectively(6); or

    (iii)

    for use in electronic or any other format to provide news to the public by means of the Internet .

  • “overview and scrutiny committee” (“pwyllgor trosolygu a chraffu”), means a committee appointed in pursuance of section 21 of the 2000 Act (overview and scrutiny committees);

  • “political adviser or assistant” (“cynghorydd neu gynorthwyydd gwleidyddol”) means a person appointed in pursuance of section 9 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 (assistants for political groups)(7) or paragraph 6 of Schedule 1 to the 2000 Act (mayor’s assistant);

  • “proper officer” (“swyddog priodol”) has the same meaning as in section 270(3) of the 1972 Act (general provisions as to interpretation);

  • “relevant local authority” (“awdurdod lleol perthnasol”) means the local authority whose executive is responsible for the discharge of the function to which the executive decision relates;

  • “report” (“adroddiad”) in relation to an executive decision does not include a report in draft form;

  • “standards committee” (“pwyllgor safonau”) means the standards committee of the relevant local authority as established under section 53 of the 2000 Act (standards committees).

PART IIADMISSION TO MEETINGS OF LOCAL AUTHORITY EXECUTIVES AND THEIR COMMITTEES AND PROVISIONS IN CONNECTION WITH EXECUTIVE DECISIONS

Meetings of local authority executives and their committees to be held in public

3.  Subject to regulation 4, a meeting of the executive of a local authority, or of a committee or sub-committee of such an executive, shall be held in public.

Admission of the public to meetings of local authority executives and their committees

4.—(1) A meeting shall be open to the public except to the extent that the public are excluded (whether during the whole or part of the proceedings) under paragraph (2) or by resolution under paragraph (3) (including that paragraph as applied by paragraph (4)).

(2) The public shall be excluded from a meeting during an item of business whenever it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that, if members of the public were present during that item, confidential information would be disclosed to them in breach of the obligation of confidence; and nothing in these Regulations shall be taken to authorise or require the disclosure of confidential information in breach of the obligation of confidence.

(3) A local authority executive may pass a resolution to exclude the public from a meeting of the executive during an item of business whenever it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during that item there would be disclosure to them of exempt information.

(4) Paragraph (3) shall apply in relation to a committee of a local authority executive and a meeting of that committee as it applies in relation to a local authority executive and a meeting of the executive.

(5) A resolution under paragraph (3) (including that paragraph as applied by paragraph (4)) shall—

(a)identify the proceedings, or the part of the proceedings, to which it applies, and

(b)state, by reference to the descriptions in Schedule 12A to the 1972 Act(8), the description of exempt information giving rise to the exclusion of the public.

(6) The following provisions shall apply in relation to a public meeting—

(a)public notice of the time and place of the meeting shall be given—

(i)by posting it at the principal offices of the authority three clear days at least before the meeting; or

(ii)where the meeting is convened at shorter notice by posting it at the principal offices of the authority at the time that the meeting is convened; and

(b)while the meeting is open to the public—

(i)the executive or, as the case may be, the committee, shall not have power to exclude members of the public from the meeting; and

(ii)duly accredited representatives of newspapers attending the meeting for the purpose of reporting the proceedings for those newspapers shall, so far as practicable, be afforded reasonable facilities for taking their report and, unless the meeting is held in premises not belonging to the authority or not on the telephone, for telephoning the report at their own expense.

(7) Nothing in this regulation shall require an executive or committee to permit the taking of photographs of any proceedings, or the use of any means to enable persons not present to see or hear any proceedings (whether at the time or later), or the making of any oral report on any proceedings as they take place.

(8) This regulation is without prejudice to any power of exclusion to suppress or prevent disorderly conduct or other misbehaviour at a meeting.

Access to agenda and connected reports for public meetings

5.—(1) Copies of the agenda for a meeting and, subject to paragraph (2), copies of every report for the meeting shall be open to inspection by members of the public at the principal offices of the authority in accordance with paragraph (3).

(2) If the proper officer thinks fit, there may be excluded from the copies of reports provided in pursuance of paragraph (1) the whole of any report which, or of any part which, relates only to items during which, in the proper officer’s opinion, the meeting is likely not to be open to the public.

(3) Any document which is required by paragraph (1) to be open to inspection shall be so open at least three clear days before the meeting, except that—

(a)where, the meeting is convened at shorter notice, the copies of the agenda and reports shall be open to inspection from the time the meeting is convened, and

(b)where an item is added to an agenda, copies of which are open to inspection by the public, copies of the item (or of the revised agenda), and of any report relating to the item, for consideration at the meeting shall be open to inspection from the time the item is added to the agenda;

but nothing in this paragraph requires copies of any agenda, item or report to be open to inspection by the public until copies are available to members of the executive or, as the case may be, the committee.

(4) An item of business may not be considered at a meeting unless either—

(a)a copy of the agenda including the item (or a copy of the item) is open to inspection by members of the public in pursuance of paragraph (1) for at least three clear days before the meeting; or

(b)where the meeting is convened at shorter notice, from the time the meeting is convened.

(5) Where by virtue of paragraph (2) the whole or any part of a report for a meeting is not open to inspection by the public—

(a)every copy of the report or of the part shall be marked “Not for Publication” and “Ddim i'w Gyhoeddi”; and

(b)there shall be stated on every copy of the whole or any part of the report, by reference to the descriptions in Schedule 12A to the 1972 Act, the description of exempt information by virtue of which the executive or, as the case may be, the committee, is likely to exclude the public during the item to which the report relates.

(6) Except during any part of a meeting from which the public are excluded, there shall be made available for the use of members of the public present at the meeting a reasonable number of copies of the agenda and, subject to paragraph (8), of the reports for the meeting.

(7) There shall, on request and on payment of postage or other necessary charge for transmission, be supplied for the benefit of any newspaper—

(a)a copy of the agenda for a meeting and, subject to paragraph (8), a copy of each of the reports for consideration at the meeting;

(b)such further statements or particulars, if any, as are necessary to indicate the nature of the items included in the agenda; and

(c)if the proper officer thinks fit in the case of any item, copies of any other document supplied to members of the executive in connection with the item.

(8) Paragraph (3) applies in relation to copies of reports provided in pursuance of paragraph (6) or (7) as it applies in relation to copies of reports provided in pursuance of paragraph (1).

Recording of decisions taken at meetings of local authority executives and their committees

6.—(1) The proper officer, or in the event of the proper officer not being present, the proper officer’s representative, shall attend any meeting of a decision-making body at which an executive decision is to be made and ensure that a written statement is produced as soon as is reasonably practicable after the meeting in respect of every executive decision made at that meeting which must include the information specified in paragraph (2).

(2) The statement referred to in paragraph (1) must include—

(a)a record of the decision including the date it was made;

(b)a record of the reasons for the decision;

(c)a record of any declaration of interest in relation to the matter decided which is declared by any member of the decision making body which made the decision;

(d)in respect of any declared interest, a note of any dispensation granted by the local authority’s standards committee; and

(e)details of any consultation undertaken in accordance with the authority’s standing orders and constitution and where such consultation has not taken place, the reasons why that is the case.

(3) For the purposes of paragraph (1) of this regulation “proper officer’s representative” means the officer of the local authority or the person or persons nominated by the proper officer to attend the meeting for the purpose of producing the statement referred to in that paragraph.

Recording of executive decisions made by individuals

7.—(1) As soon as is reasonably practicable after an individual member has made any executive decision, that member shall instruct the proper officer to produce a written statement of that executive decision which includes the information specified in paragraph (4).

(2) Subject to paragraph (3) any executive decision made by an individual member shall not be implemented until a written statement has been produced in accordance with paragraph (1).

(3) Where the date by which an executive decision must be implemented makes compliance with paragraph (2) impracticable, the decision shall only be implemented where the decision-maker has obtained agreement from—

(a)the chairperson of the relevant scrutiny committee; or

(b)if there is no such person, or that person is unable to act, the chairperson of the relevant local authority; or

(c)if there is no chairperson of either the relevant scrutiny committee or the relevant local authority, the vice-chairman of the relevant local authority;

that the making of the decision is urgent and cannot reasonably be deferred.

(4) The statement referred to in paragraph (1) must include—

(a)a record of the decision including the date it was made;

(b)a record of the reasons for the decision;

(c)a record of any interest declared by any executive member who is consulted by the member, in relation to the decision and of any interest declared by any executive member who would have been the decision-maker except for the declaration of such an interest;

(d)in respect of any declared interest, a note of any dispensation granted by the local authority’s standards committee;

(e)details of any consultation undertaken in accordance with the local authority’s standing orders and constitution and where such consultation has not taken place, the reasons why that is the case; and

(f)a record of any reasons for urgency which led to the implementation of the decision before the preparation of the statement.

(5) Executive decisions made by individual members of local authority executives are prescribed decisions for the purposes of section 22(4) of the 2000 Act (duty to keep a written record of decisions made by individual members of local authority executives).

Inspection of documents following executive decisions

8.—(1) After a meeting of a decision making body at which an executive decision has been made or after an individual member has made an executive decision the proper officer shall ensure that a copy of—

(a)any written statements prepared in accordance with regulations 6 or 7; and

(b)any report considered at the meeting or, as the case may be, considered by the individual member which is relevant to a decision recorded in accordance with regulations 6 or 7 or, where only part of the report is relevant to such a decision, that part,

shall be available for inspection by members of the public, as soon as is reasonably practicable, at the principal offices of the relevant local authority.

(2) Where a request on behalf of a newspaper is made for a copy of any of the documents available for public inspection under paragraph (1), those documents shall be supplied for the benefit of the newspaper by the local authority on payment by the newspaper to the local authority of postage, copying or other necessary charges for transmission.

(3) Nothing in this regulation shall be taken to authorise or require a proper officer to disclose exempt or confidential information.

Inspection of background papers

9.  When a copy of the whole or part of a report is made available for inspection by members of the public in accordance with regulation 8, at the same time—

(a)a copy of a list compiled by the proper officer of the background papers to the report or part of the report, must be included in the report, or as the case may be, part of the report; and

(b)at least one copy of each of the documents included in that list shall be available for inspection by members of the public as soon as is reasonably practicable at the principal offices of the relevant local authority.

PART IIIADDITIONAL RIGHTS FOR MEMBERS OF THE LOCAL AUTHORITY AND FOR MEMBERS OF OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEES

Additional rights of access to documents for members of local authorities

10.—(1) Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3) any document which—

(a)is in the possession, or under the control, of the executive of a local authority; and

(b)contains material relating to:

(i)any business transacted at a meeting of a decision making body of that authority; or

(ii)any decision that has been made by an individual member in accordance with executive arrangements,

shall be open to inspection by any member of the local authority when the meeting concludes or, where an executive decision is made by an individual member, immediately after the decision has been made.

(2) Where it appears to the proper officer that compliance with paragraph (1) in relation to a document or part of a document would involve the disclosure of exempt information of a description falling within any of paragraphs 1 to 6, 9, 11, 12, and 14 of Part I of Schedule 12A to the 1972 Act, paragraph (1) shall not be complied with as regards that document or part.

(3) Where it appears to the proper officer that compliance with paragraph (1) in relation to a document or part of a document would involve the disclosure of advice provided by a political adviser or assistant, that paragraph shall not be complied with as regards that document or part.

(4) The rights conferred by paragraph (1) are in addition to any other rights that a member of a local authority may have apart from this regulation.

Additional rights of access for members of overview and scrutiny committees

11.—(1) Subject to paragraph (2), a member of an overview and scrutiny committee of a local authority shall be entitled to copies of any document which—

(a)is in the possession or under the control of the executive of that authority; and

(b)contains material relating to—

(i)any business transacted at a meeting of a decision making body of that authority; or

(ii)any decision that has been made by an individual member of that executive in accordance with executive arrangements.

(2) No member of an overview and scrutiny committee shall be entitled to a copy of any document or part of a document which contains confidential or exempt information or advice provided by a political adviser or assistant unless that information is relevant to—

(a)an action or decision that is being reviewed or scrutinised by such a committee or a sub-committee of that committee; or

(b)is relevant to any review contained in any programme of work of such a committee or sub-committee.

(3) Where a member of an overview and scrutiny committee shall require a copy of any document or part of a document in accordance with paragraphs (1) and (2) the proper officer shall determine whether the information is relevant as specified in paragraphs (2)(a) and (b).

(4) Nothing in this regulation permits the disclosure of confidential or exempt information by a member of an overview and scrutiny committee other than may be authorised by any other enactment.

PART IVFURTHER PROVISIONS

Local authorities to publish additional information

12.—(1) A local authority shall maintain a register—

(a)stating the name and address of every member of the authority’s executive for the time being and the ward or division (if any) which that member represents;

(b)stating the name and address of every member of each committee of the authority’s executive for the time being;

(c)specifying the functions of the executive which, for the time being, are exercisable by individual members of the executive; and

(d)stating, as respects each such function, the name of the member by whom it is exercisable.

(2) There shall be kept at the principal office of every local authority a written summary of the rights—

(a)to attend meetings of a local authority executive and of committees of such an executive, and

(b)to inspect and copy documents and to be furnished with documents,

which are conferred by these Regulations.

(3) The register maintained under paragraph (1), and the summary kept under paragraph (2) shall be open to inspection by the public at the principal office of the authority.

Supplementary provision

13.—(1) A document directed by any provision of these Regulations to be open to inspection shall be available for inspection—

(a)at all reasonable hours at the principal offices of the local authority; and

(b)in the case of documents to be available for inspection pursuant to regulation 9, upon payment by the person seeking to inspect the documents of any reasonable fee required by the local authority.

(2) Subject to paragraph (3) where a document is open to inspection by a person under any provision of these Regulations, the person may—

(a)make a copy of the whole or part of the document, or

(b)require the person having custody of the document to supply to the person requiring inspection a photographic copy of or of extracts from the document,

upon payment of such reasonable fee as may be required by the local authority.

(3) Paragraph (2) does not require or authorise the doing of any act which infringes the copyright in any work except that, where the owner of the copyright is a local authority, nothing done in pursuance of that paragraph shall constitute an infringement of the copyright.

(4) Where any document required by these Regulations to be open to inspection by the public—

(a)is supplied to, or open to inspection by, members of the public, or

(b)is supplied for the benefit of any newspaper, in pursuance of regulation 5 or 8,

the publication thereby of any defamatory matter contained in the document shall be privileged unless the publication is proved to be made with malice.

(5) Any written record of an executive decision, or any report required by regulation 8 to be available for inspection by members of the public, shall be retained by the local authority and made available for inspection by the public for a period of at least six years beginning on the date on which the decision, to which the record or report relates, was made.

(6) Any background papers required by regulation 9 to be available for inspection by members of the public shall be retained by the local authority and be available for inspection by the public for a period of at least four years beginning on the date on which the decision, to which the background papers relate, was made.

(7) The rights conferred on any person by these Regulations to inspect, copy or be furnished with documents are in addition to any such rights that person may have apart from this regulation.

Part II offences

14.—(1) A person who has custody of a document which is required by regulation 5, 8 or 9 to be available for inspection by the public, commits an offence if, without reasonable excuse that person—

(a)intentionally obstructs the exercise by any person of a right conferred by these Regulations to inspect, or to make a copy of, the whole or part of a document; or

(b)refuses to supply a copy of the whole or part of the document in accordance with regulation 13(2).

(2) A person who commits an offence under paragraph (1) shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale.

Signed on behalf of the National Assembly for Wales under section 66(1) of the Government of Wales Act 1998(9).

D. Elis-Thomas

The Presiding Officer of the National Assembly

21st June 2001

Explanatory Note

(This note does not form part of the Regulations)

These Regulations apply to county councils and county borough councils in Wales which are operating executive arrangements under Part II of the Local Government Act 2000. They make provision relating to public access to meetings, decisions and documents of local authority executives and their committees. In addition, they also deal with access to information relating to decisions made by joint committees of local authorities where these are solely comprised of executive members and are discharging an executive function.

Under executive arrangements individual members will be able to make executive decisions and so the Regulations also make provision in respect of access to documents where executive decisions are made by individual members.

The general principle of the Regulations is for the public to have access to meetings, documents and decisions where a local authority executive, a committee or an individual is to take an “executive decision”. The term “executive decision” is defined in regulation 2.

Part I of the Regulations contains introductory material and definitions of terms used in the Regulations.

Part II contains general matters which relate to all executive decisions. In particular regulations 3 and 4 provide (subject to certain specified exemptions) that meetings of local authority executives must be held in public. The rules regarding access to agenda and reports for meetings of executives are set out in regulation 5.

Regulations 6 and 7 specify that, where an executive decision is recorded, a note must be made of the reasons for the decision, when the decision was made, details of any conflict of interest and any consultation undertaken. The provisions concerning recording apply to executive decisions made collectively, or by individual members.

In regulation 8 there are provisions related to inspection of documentation following executive decisions. There are requirements with regard to inspection of background papers at regulation 9.

In Part III members of local authorities and of overview and scrutiny committees are given additional rights in relation to access to information. Additional rights for members in general are contained in regulation 10. The common law position of “the need to know” is preserved. Regulation 11 sets out additional rights for members of overview and scrutiny committees in relation to decisions that they are scrutinising. In certain circumstances these members can have access to relevant exempt or confidential information. Nothing in these regulations permits the disclosure of such information by members of overview and scrutiny committees.

Part IV contains further general provisions relating to information. Regulation 12 stipulates certain additional information which a local authority must make available concerning its executive arrangements. In regulation 13 there are provisions which specify to how inspection of documentation is to be afforded to the public by a local authority. Regulation 14 creates offences

(3)

S.I. 2001/?.

(4)

Section 100I was inserted by the Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985 (c. 43).

(5)

See regulation 11 of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Discharge of Functions) (Wales) Regulations 2001 (S.I. 2001/?).

(6)

1990 c. 42. The definition of “programme service” is to be found in section 201. Subsection (1)(bb) of that section was inserted by the Broadcasting Act 1996 (c. 55), Schedule 10, Part I, paragraph 11. The definition of “sound broadcasting service” is to be found in section 126(1), amended by the Broadcasting Act 1996, Schedule 10, Part I, paragraph 9. The definition of “television broadcasting service” will be found in section 2(5), amended by the Broadcasting Act 1996, Schedule 10, Part I, paragraph 1.

(8)

Schedule 12A was inserted by the Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985 (c. 43).

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