Agenda and minutes

Democratic Services Committee
Monday, 22nd March, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: virtually via Microsoft Teams - if you would like to attend this meeting live via Microsoft Teams please contact committee.services@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk

Contact: Democratic Services  6139

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Simultaneous Translation

You are welcome to use Welsh at the meeting, a minimum notice period of 3 working days is required should you wish to do so.  A simultaneous translation will be provided if requested.

Minutes:

It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.

2.

Apologies

To receive.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors

G. Collier, J. Collins and L. Parsons

3.

Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

To consider any declarations of interest and dispensations received.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.

4.

Democratic Services Committee Minutes pdf icon PDF 289 KB

To receive the Minutes of the Democratic Services Committee held on 9th November, 2020.

 

(Please note the Minutes are submitted for points of accuracy only)

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the minutes of the meeting held on 9th November, 2021.

 

The Committee AGREED that the Minutes be received as a true record of proceedings.

5.

Annual Report of Head of Democratic Services pdf icon PDF 621 KB

To consider report of the Interim Chief Officer Commercial / Head of Democratic Services.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Interim Chief Officer Commercial / Head of Democratic Services which presented the 2020/21 Annual Report of the Head of Democratic Services.

 

The Interim Chief Officer Commercial introduced the report and highlighted the main points contained therein.

 

A Member referred to the recent substitutions made at Scrutiny Committee meetings and felt that this should have been an item on the Democratic Services Agenda for consideration before any substitutions took place and an explanation provided.

 

The Interim Chief Officer Commercial said the use of substitutions for Scrutiny or other Committees was set out in the Council’s Constitution and any changes would need to be made through the Constitutional Working Group.

 

The Member responded that the Constitution was a wide ranging document, he felt that the substitution for Scrutiny Members did impact on this report as it included Member attendance in an abbreviated form and pointed out that it did not include Executive Member attendance.   He felt the use of substitutions at Scrutiny Committees was a sudden change and felt there should have been democratic conversations regarding this and enquired why the substitutions had taken place mid-term and not at the AGM.

 

In relation to the attendance figures, the Interim Chief Officer Commercial accepted the point that attendance figures for Executive Members was not included in the report and confirmed that the system now being used would show Member attendance against all committees and would be published in future reports.

 

On the use of substitutions, a Member commented that this was a new issue and potentially there could be different Members at each Scrutiny Committee and enquired where the decision was taken and by whom.

 

The Interim Chief Officer Commercial reiterated that the ability to use substitutions was set out in the Constitution agreed at Council.  If there were any questions around or amendments to the Constitution, Members could take that opportunity through the Constitutional Working Group before approval at Council.  The Member accepted the Officer’s response and pointed out that not all Members were part of the Constitutional Working Group and again enquired who had taken the decision.

 

Another Member commented that he felt the issue with substitutions was that those Members substituting may not be up-to-date with the current issues of that Scrutiny Committee.  There were external Regulators at the Education & Learning and Social Services Scrutiny Committees and he had concerns that substitute Members may not appreciate the complexity of some of the issues.

 

With regard to IT connectivity the Member felt strongly that Senior Officers should ensure they had good internet connectivity to be able to participate at meetings, he felt this was an on-going issue with some senior officers and needed to be addressed. The Interim Chief Officer Commercial said she was not aware of any specific issues of colleagues but would take this matter up with the Member outside of the meeting.

 

In relation to substitutions a Member commented that any concerns should be addressed to the Monitoring Officer for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Annual Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 714 KB

To consider report of the Head of Organisational Development.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Organisational Development which was presented to inform Members of the proposals contained within the annual report of the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales for 2021/22.

 

At the invitation of the Chair, the Organisational Development Manager – Payroll, Health & Safety spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein.

 

A Member enquired if representatives on Silent Valley were remunerated and if so was that considered to be an SRA.  The Organisational Development Manager confirmed that representatives were remunerated and would provide further information regarding the SRA via the action sheet.

 

In response to a Member’s question regarding a Member holding more than one senior post, the Interim Chief Officer Commercial clarified that an elected Member could not be remunerated for more than one senior post within their Authority.

 

A Member commented that the Minority Independent Group consisted of four Members and enquired if the Leader of this Group would be entitled to remuneration and sought clarity on how many Members constituted a remunerated political group.  The Organisational Development Manager would seek clarification on this issue and feedback to Members via the action sheet.

 

A Member enquired if Council Members on Tai Calon were remunerated and would any such payments be reported.  The Organisational Development Manager said this related to the Schedule of Repayments, payments for Outside Bodies and that the criteria for reporting additional payments made to Members was very specific and he would check on this particular issue and report back via the action sheet.

 

In relation to Tai Calon another Member informed the Committee that approximately 18 months ago it had been agreed that Council Members on Tai Calon would be remunerated.  It was also reported that Council Members on Silent Valley were also remunerated.

 

The Committee AGREED to recommend to Council that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely that the determinations set out in the Annual IRPW Report in Appendix 1 for 2021/2022 be agreed.