Rebecca Evans MS, Minister for Finance and Local Government
In March 2021 regulations were made to establish four CJCs in Wales. As well as providing for the establishment of each of the CJCs, the Establishment Regulations included the core constitutional arrangements and key details such as membership and the functions which will be exercised by each CJC: 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 were accompanied by a number of other instruments which ensured that CJCs (and their members) were subject to appropriate oversight, management and conduct requirements from the start.
Yesterday, following consultation, I laid the Corporate Joint Committee (General) (No.2) (Wales) Regulations 2021 as part of the next stage of putting the underpinning legislative framework for CJCs in place. This is in line with the principle that CJCs are part of the local government family and should operate in the same way. It is part of the phased approach agreed with local government to ensure the appropriate regulatory framework is in place for the robust and transparent governance of CJCs as public bodies.
The Corporate Joint Committee (General) (No.2) (Wales) Regulations 2021 provide for a number of technical administrative arrangements for CJCs.
The Regulations provide for the roles of certain ‘executive officers’ to support the work of the CJC as well as some general provisions in relation to CJC staff, for the functions of the CJC to be discharged by other people, for example its staff or sub-committees, and for meetings and proceedings. They also make a small number of miscellaneous and consequential amendments to give full effect to these provisions.
A number of Statutory Instruments have also been laid alongside the Corporate Joint Committee (General) (No.2) (Wales) Regulations 2021 as part of this second stage. These complete the application of those public body duties you would expect to apply to a public body in Wales, ensuring CJCs:
- are bought within the scope of the Welsh Language Standards (No.1) Regulations 2015 and enable the Welsh Language Commissioner to make a compliance notice in respect of CJCs
- are liable to comply with the Sustainable Development and Well-being Duties under the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act 2015
- are subject to the Socio Economic Duty under the Equality Act 2010
- contribute to the eradication of child poverty
- have regard to the purposes of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of an area and maintain and enhance biodiversity in the exercise of their functions
- have regard to the purposes of National Parks when exercising functions in relation to, or affecting, land in a National Park.
Today, I have launched a consultation on the next stage of the development of the wider legislative framework and application of specific elements of that framework.
This six week technical consultation (due to close on Wednesday 22 December), builds on the previous consultations for stages one and two and seek views on regulations which will require CJCs to adopt a code of conduct for members and extend the powers of the Public Service Ombudsman Wales and the adjudication panel for Wales to CJCs, and members of CJCs. They also provide for a CJC to trade and undertake commercial activity. They also require the CJC to publish their constitution and a constitution guide, as well as containing a number of minor provisions in relation to finance, legal proceedings, records / documents, staffing and workforce matters and other miscellaneous amendments. The intention is also to include provision for overview and scrutiny in this third set of general regulations, subject to the outcome of the consultation.
The draft regulations and consultation document can be accessed via the Welsh Government website: The Corporate Joint Committee (General) (Wales) Regulations 2022 | GOV.WALES
A fourth and final main tranche will then put in place remaining relevant provision, including provision on standing orders and applying the local government performance and governance regime to CJCs, any remaining matters. We will consult on this stage in spring 2022.
The Corporate Joint Committee (General) (No.2) (Wales) Regulations 2021 and accompanying Instruments will be made under the affirmative resolution procedure and will be debated by the Senedd on 30 November.
Subject to approval by the Senedd the Corporate Joint Committee (General) (No.2) (Wales) Regulations 2021 and accompanying Instruments, will then come into force on 3 December 2021.