1. The Committee considered the model constitution and accompanying guides and agreed in principle to them being presented to Cabinet and Council for approval and adoption.
2. The Committee established a Working Group to consider in detail the Constitution and it be formed of the Chairperson of the Committee and Councillors M Hughes, RM James, R Smith and I Spiller.
On behalf of the Monitoring Officer, the Group Manager Legal and Democratic Services reported for the Committee’s consideration the Model Constitution and accompanying guides. Section 37 of the Local Government Act 2000 required local authorities in Wales to have a written constitution, while Section 45 of the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021 (the Act) required principal councils to publish a constitution guide, explaining in ordinary language the content of the Council’s constitution. She added that principal councils must also publish their constitution and constitution guide electronically and provide on request either free of charge or at a charge (representing no more than the cost of providing the copy).
The Group Manager Legal and Democratic Services informed the Committee that the All-Wales Monitoring Officers’ Group, via funding from the Welsh Local Government Association commissioned Browne Jacobson to draft a new model constitution and a model constitution guide due to provisions coming into force under the Act. Each local authority has considered the new model constitution and it has become common place. The style of the new constitution is more intelligible to the public, with less duplication. She advised the Committee that whilst the new model contains detailed provisions, adopting the model constitution does not require all of those detailed provisions to be adopted and therefore following a local review by officers, some of the Council’s existing provisions have been retained in order to preserve continuity and retain the valuable work that has been done over the years in reviewing each part of the existing Constitution.
The Group Manager Legal and Democratic Services also reported on the constitution guide which was based on the Browne Jacobson model guide, which had been adapted to reflect Bridgend Council’s constitutional arrangements. A beginner’s guide summarising all the provisions of the constitution was also highlighted for information.
The Group Manager Legal and Democratic Services informed the Committee that the final constitution would require approval by Cabinet and Council and would be published on the Council’s website together with the accompanying guides.
Members views are sought on any suggested changes and the Group Manager therefore proposed that the Committee consider the establishment of a Working Group to consider the model constitution and accompanying guides.
The Chairperson asked whether the model constitution had provision for the new hybrid ways of working. The Group Manager Legal and Democratic Services stated that the Constitution makes reference to multi-location meetings and she reminded Members that Council has recently approved the Multi-locations Meetings Policy. She also informed the Committee that the Act also introduces a requirement for the Council to have a Public Participation Strategy.
The Head of Democratic Services recommended that those members of the Committee not sitting on the Working Group could also separately raise any views on the documents.
RESOLVED: 1. That the Committee considered the model constitution and accompanying guides;
2. That the Committee established a Working Group to consider in detail the model constitution and accompanying guides and it be formed of the Chairperson of the Committee and Councillors M Hughes, RM James, R Smith and I Spiller prior to them being presented to Cabinet and Council for approval and adoption.