Agenda and minutes

Democratic Services Committee - Thursday, 13th July, 2017 14:00

Venue: Committee Rooms 2/3, Civic Offices Angel Street Bridgend CF31 4WB. View directions

No. Item


Declarations of Interests

To receive declarations of personal and prejudicial interest (if any) from Members/Officers in accordance with the provisions of the Members’ Code of Conduct adopted by the Council from 1 September 2008.




Approval of Minutes pdf icon PDF 66 KB

To receive for approval, the minutes of the previous meeting held on 17 November 2016


RESOLVED:   That the minutes of a meeting of the Democratic Services Committee held on the 17 November 2016 be approved as a true and accurate record.


Democratic Services - Structure, Services and Support pdf icon PDF 95 KB


The Head of Democratic Services presented a report informing the Democratic Services Committee of the current structure, services and support provided to Elected Members.


He explained that the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 required the Authority to designate one of its officers to discharge the democratic services functions in section 9. That duty was placed upon the Head of Democratic Services but it was the Democratic Services Committee that had responsibility for exercising the function of the Local Authority, reviewing the adequacy of provision by the Authority of staff, accommodation and other resources to discharge democratic services functions and to make reports and recommendations to the Authority in relation to such provision. 


With the implementation of the Measure the responsibility for Scrutiny was included within the remit of the Head of Democratic Services and therefore the Scrutiny section formed part of the Democratic Services team.


The Democratic Services team provided a number of diverse support services and liaised with internal departments for example the ICT Department and external agencies including the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) to provide the necessary support to enable elected members to undertake their role effectively. 


The Head of Democratic Services explained that his team provided a comprehensive administrative service to all Elected Members and the Members support section also provided specific support to the Mayor and the Civic Office and administrative assistance to the Leader and Cabinet Members. The team also dealt with member referrals, Corporate and Civic Functions and Overview and Scrutiny Support.


He explained that the Committee Section supported the Council’s Committees and formal decision making processes. The section co-ordinated and serviced the 24 formal committees of the Authority, a Joint Committee (Coychurch Crematorium), School Admissions and Exclusions Appeals Panels and various Scrutiny Panels.  The section also co-ordinated a number of informal or partnership meetings.  This equated to over 200 meetings a year for which they arranged suitable dates, prepared agendas, co-ordinated report approval, circulated documents, draft minutes, recorded decisions and attendances and published appropriate information on the various websites.


The Committee Section also administered the Council’s Scheme of Delegation handling approximately 210 decisions a month or 2533 decisions per year.  The section also provided quarterly Corporate Training in the administration of the Scheme of Delegation, and regular updates to the register of Gifts and Hospitality for Officers. The section also co-ordinated the delivery of the webcasting facility for the Authority.


The Head of Democratic Services explained that much of the support provided to Elected Members was undertaken by other Departments and Directorates although the provision of this support was co-ordinated by the Democratic Services Team.


He provided a list of the networks the Democratic Services team participated in such as the Member Support Officer (MSO)/Member Development Champions Network, the Regional and National Scrutiny Champions and Scrutiny Officers Networks and the National, Regional and Local Networks for Users.


The Head of Democratic Services outlined the key tasks for the Democratic Services team over the next 12 months including providing the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 110.


Service and Performance Updates pdf icon PDF 105 KB

Additional documents:


The Head of Democratic Services presented a report updating the Democratic Services Committee on the performance of services provided to Elected Members.


He outlined the current position with member referrals and referred members to tables which showed that 96.79% of 13880 referrals had been completed since November 2011 and that 72.3% of all referrals fell within the Communities directorate.


He explained that between 8 May 2017 and 30 June 2017, 961 referrals were made which compared to 258 for the same period in 2016 and to 518 in the last post-election period in 2012. This was a very heavy workload and provisional plans were being considered to update the referrals system.


The Head of Democratic Services referred to a table showing member induction activities held since the election and highlighted the fact that all members had to attend the Intro to Local Government & Code of Conduct training but to date, only 72% had attended. He corrected the total attendance figure for the Active Travel Plans from 18 to 16 and referred members to the programme of member development sessions scheduled for delivery this year. He also introduced a list of topics being considered for inclusion in the programme and asked members to prioritise three topics and identify any additional topics for delivery.


Members agreed the Community Action Fund, the E-Learning Modules and ICT Training for Members for inclusion in the programme and suggested that it would be useful to have training on the procedure at Council meetings at the next Pre-Council briefing as  it would be useful to clarify the various processes such as follow-up questions etc. Members agreed that Protocols at Council meetings, update on the Awen Trust and Halo should be listed for Pre-Council briefings for the next few months.


Members discussed Code of Conduct training and that attendance of the course was also a requirement for Community Councillors. Some had received an email offering training from other organisations and they were advised to attend BCBC training if available.


Members asked how the Community Action Fund was administered and if not used during the year, could it accumulate to be used in a later year. The Head of Democratic Services explained that it was £5,000 allocated to each member to spend within their ward and if it was not used before the end of the financial year it was returned to the “corporate pot”. The application process was simple and on completion of the relevant paperwork a confirmation e-mail would be sent and the funds would be transferred into an appropriate bank account. Funds could not be allocated to a group if there was a personal or prejudicial interest. A report was being presented to Council which would finalise how and when the fund could be used and training sessions would be arranged to provide more detail.


Members queried the level of importance of certain meetings and if they could only attend one, they would prefer to attend one of high importance. The Head of Democratic Services referred  ...  view the full minutes text for item 111.


Achieving the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) Charter For Member Support & Development pdf icon PDF 140 KB

Additional documents:


The Head of Democratic Services presented a report considering proposals for the Authority to achieve the WLGA Charter for Member Support & Development.


He explained that the Charter aimed to provide a broad framework for local planning, self-assessment and review together with networking and comparison amongst authorities and the sharing of good and innovative practice. There were three levels of award, Standard Charter Award, Advanced Charter Award and the Good Practice and Innovation Award for Member Support and Development.


Members were presented with three options to consider, do nothing, re-apply for Standard Level Charter Status in 2018 and remain at that level or to re-apply for Standard Level Charter Status in 2018 followed by Advanced Level Charter in due course.


Members asked for more information regarding the benefits to individuals or BCBC. Members were advised that processes could be put in place to complete tasks in a better way and there would be external recognition from other bodies such as WAO.


An initial assessment had been completed on the implications of achieving the Charter at Standard level. Only one topic, “Arrangements in place for all members to be offered a PDR” required significant change to existing processes and activities or the introduction of new processes or activities.


A member commented that it could lead to more money being spent on translation etc and less in the community. Comments were also made that staff would be required to put other work aside to complete these tasks and overtime would not be available. Also senior officers could refuse to support the process although Council would have to approve the report before any action was taken. 


RESOLVED:            That Democratic Services Committee:


1.    Considered the content of the report and recommended that the Authority re-apply for Standard Level Charter Status in 2018 and remain at that level.

2.    Approved that the Democratic Services Committee submit a report to Council requesting endorsement of the recommendation made above.

3.    Noted that the draft Elected Member Learning and Development Strategy would be presented to the Committee at a subsequent meeting before being submitted to Council for endorsement.



Urgent Items pdf icon PDF 65 KB


There were no urgent items.  


Urgent Items

To consider any item(s) of business in respect of which notice has been given in

accordance with Part 4 (paragraph 4) of the Council Procedure Rules and which the person presiding at the meeting is of the opinion should by reason of special circumstances be transacted at the meeting as a matter of urgency.