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Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021

Section 54 and Schedule 5 - Chief Executives

311.Section 4 of the 1989 Act requires principal councils to designate one of their officers as their “head of paid service”. This officer must, where they consider it appropriate, prepare a report to their council setting out their proposals in respect of a number of matters listed in that section. The principal council must provide this officer with the staff, accommodation and other resources to allow him or her to perform their duties.

312.The statutory role of head of paid service is often exercised by the officer more usually referred to as the chief executive or managing director. Whilst these terms are widely used to denote the head of a council’s administration throughout local government in Wales, neither title is found in local government legislation.

313.Section 54 requires a principal council to appoint a chief executive. The provisions of section 4 of the 1989 Act are re-stated and the list of matters expanded to include those relating to performance and governance; namely financial planning, asset management and risk management. This brings the matters for which a chief executive is responsible in line with modern governance practices. Section 54 also makes clear that the matter relating to management of staff also encompasses training and development of staff.

314.This section introduces Schedule 5, which amends section 4 of the 1989 Act so as to disapply the requirement on principal councils to appoint a head of paid service. Schedule 5 also makes consequential amendments relating to chief executives.

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