Rebecca Evans MS, Minister for Finance and Local Government
The Establishment Regulations to create four regional Corporate Joint Committees (CJCs) for North, Mid, South East and South Wales came into force on 1 April and allow a CJC to begin to meet, should it wish to do so. This also provides CJCs with a period of time to put the necessary constitutional and governance arrangements in place and to set the budget for 2022/23 before the commencement of the key functions during 2022.
Today, as part of the phased approach to putting in place the legislative framework within which CJCs will operate, I intend to launch a consultation on the next set of general regulations – the Corporate Joint Committee (General) (No.2)(Wales) Regulations 2021.
The eight week technical consultation on the draft general regulations (due to close on 6 September) builds on the comprehensive consultation undertaken in October 2020 which sought views on the general approach to the development of the legislative framework for CJCs. There was overwhelming support, in particular from local authorities, for CJCs to be subject to the same powers and duties as principal councils in the way that they operate; to have broadly the same governance and administrative framework; and to have appropriate discretion on the detail of constitutional and operational arrangements.
This consultation seeks views on the next stage of the approach to the development of the wider CJC legislative framework and application of specific elements of that framework.
The regulations will provide for:
- the roles of certain ‘executive officers’ to support the work of the CJC
- some general provisions in relation to the staff of a CJC
- discharge of functions of a CJC by other persons (sub-committees, staff etc)
- regulation of meetings and proceedings of a CJC
- a small number of miscellaneous and consequential amendments that were necessary both to primary and secondary legislation (including the regulations which established CJCs) as a result of putting in the legislative framework around CJCs.
The regulations will be subject to the affirmative procedure and will be considered by the Senedd in late autumn.
A third stage, which will be consulted on in Autumn 2021, will put in place further legislation for the operation of the CJCs and their functions including scrutiny and governance and further provision on staffing.
A fourth stage will then put in place any remaining provisions which a CJC might need, but which are unlikely to be needed at the point at which they begin to deliver their functions. We will consult on this stage in Spring 2022.
Today I am also launching a consultation on the draft guidance for the Establishment of CJCs, which will run for 12 weeks until 4 October.
The draft statutory guidance document sets out the core principles and values underpinning the operation of CJCs. The guidance also highlights issues members will wish to consider when putting in place the constitutional and operational arrangements for their CJC.
Officials have been in discussion with a range of local government officers to co-produce the draft guidance. This has included Society of Welsh Treasurers, HR Directors’ forum, Lawyers in Local Government and the WLGA. Officials have also engaged with the Wales TUC and other key trade unions on workforce-related aspects of the guidance.
A clear message from local government during this period of co-production has been the desire for flexibility to determine its own approach to establishing its CJCs, designed to fit regional circumstances and taking account of existing regional structures. The draft guidance has therefore been developed in a way that seeks to provide this flexibility.
The consultation documents and supporting documents, can be accessed via the following links: