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Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021

Section 63 – Duty of standards committee to make annual report

341.A principal council, fire and rescue authority or National Park authority in Wales (but not a community council) is required by section 54 of the 2000 Act to establish a standards committee.

342.The general functions of a standards committee under section 54(1) of the 2000 Act are to promote and maintain high standards of conduct by members and co-opted members of a “relevant authority” and to assist them to observe the code of conduct.

343.In addition to the new function imposed by section 62(3) of the Act, a standards committee also has specific functions under section 54(2) of the 2000 Act, namely to:

  • advise the authority on the adoption or revision of a code of conduct;

  • monitor the operation of the code of conduct; and

  • provide advice or provide or arrange training on the code of conduct for members of the authority.

344.Section 56(1) of the 2000 Act provides that a principal council’s standards committee (or a sub-committee established for the purpose) also exercises these functions in relation to members of community councils in its area.

345.Section 63 of the Act inserts a new section 56B into the 2000 Act which places a requirement on a standards committee to make an annual report to the authority concerned. In the case of a principal council, the requirement to report to “the authority” in this context includes any community councils in its area.

346.The report must:

  • describe how the committee has discharged its functions during the preceding financial year;

  • include a summary of reports and recommendations made or referred to the committee by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales relating to the investigation of alleged breaches of the member code of conduct, and any subsequent action taken by the committee;

  • include a summary of notices given to the committee by the Adjudication Panel for Wales, relating to the Panel’s decisions on possible breaches of the member code of conduct; and

  • in the case of a principal council, include the committee’s assessment of how political group leaders have complied with the new duty under section 52A of the 2000 Act (inserted by section 62 of this Act) to promote high standards of conduct.

347.The requirement to make an annual report is intended to ensure there is a regular and consistent approach to the reporting and consideration of standards of conduct by members of relevant authorities in Wales. This is intended to promote local ownership and collective responsibility by members for ensuring high standards of conduct within their authority. To this end, section 56B places an obligation on a relevant authority to consider the report and any recommendations made by its standards committee within three months of its receipt. The authority’s consideration of a report will be a matter of public record through the published minutes of the meeting.

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