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

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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(1), 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.

(1)

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

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