Julie James MS, Minister for Housing and Local Government
Part 5 of the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021 provides for the establishment, through regulations, of Corporate Joint Committees. This can be achieved by two routes: at the instigation of two or more principal councils; and at the instigation of Welsh Ministers, but only in relation to certain functions or functional areas which are specified on the face of the Act.
The following regulations to establish four Corporate Joint Committees in Wales have been laid, with accompanying Explanatory Memorandum and Regulatory Impact Assessment, before the Senedd today (external link).
- The Mid Wales Corporate Joint Committee Regulations 2021
- The North Wales Corporate Joint Committee Regulations 2021
- The South East Wales Corporate Joint Committee Regulations 2021
- The South West Wales Corporate Joint Committee Regulations 2021
As well as providing for the establishment of each of the four proposed Corporate Joint Committees, the Establishment Regulations also include the core constitutional arrangements and key details such as membership and the functions which will be exercised by each Corporate Joint Committee: strategic development planning; regional transport planning; and the power to do things to promote or improve the economic well-being of their areas.
The Establishment Regulations have been informed by the responses to the consultation I launched on 12 October 2020 and engagement activity I and my officials have undertaken with local government and key stakeholders.
Alongside the Establishment Regulations the Corporate Joint Committees (Transport Functions) (Wales) Regulations 2021 and accompanying Explanatory Memorandum have also been laid. The regulations make the necessary modifications to the Transport Act 2000 to require the above Corporate Joint Committees to develop transport polices and establish a regional transport plan for their areas.
A number of Statutory Instruments have also been laid alongside the Establishment Regulations to ensure that, from the point they are established, Corporate Joint Committees:
- are subject to appropriate standards of conduct and come under the remit of the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales
- are subject to appropriate accounting and financial management duties and come within the remit of the Auditor General for Wales
- are subject to the Public Services Equality Duty
- will be able to be subject to Welsh Language Standards
This ensures that Corporate Joint Committees (and their members) are subject to appropriate oversight, management and conduct requirements from the start.
Further secondary legislation is planned in the next term to complete the application of the local government legislative framework that Corporate Joint Committees will operate in – for example they can only be made subject to the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 once they have been established. I will continue to work with local government to co-develop an appropriate and proportionate implementation of that framework.
The Establishment Regulations and accompanying Instruments will be made under the affirmative resolution procedure and will be debated by the Senedd on 16 March.
The Establishment Regulations, and accompanying Instruments, will then come into force on 1 April 2021.