Rebecca Evans MS, Minister for Finance and Local Government
The Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021 provided for the creation of Corporate Joint Committees (CJCs) to further drive collaboration across local government. The Welsh Government has taken a phased approach to putting in place the regulatory framework necessary for these important new public bodies. The overall intent is CJCs will be treated as part of the ‘local authority family’ in Wales and largely be subject to the same or similar powers and duties in the way they operate and are governed.
In March 2021 Regulations were made which provided for the establishment of four CJCs in Wales. Those Establishment Regulations also included the core constitutional arrangements and key details such as membership and the functions which will be exercised by each CJC. The Establishment Regulations were accompanied by a number of other instruments which ensured CJCs (and their members) are subject to appropriate oversight, management and conduct requirements.
In November 2021 a second tranche of legislation, which continued to put in place the necessary public body duties to underpin the operation of CJCs, were approved by the Senedd. They also put in place more of the wider legislative provisions to ensure CJCs act appropriately and in accordance with local government legislation. This included the roles of certain ‘executive officers’ to support the work of the CJC as well as some general provisions in relation to CJC staff, and for meetings and proceedings.
I have today laid two further Statutory Instruments which constitute the third tranche of legislation. The draft Corporate Joint Committees (General) (Wales) Regulations 2022 continue the application of the local government legislative framework that CJCs will operate in. This includes provisions in relation to conduct, the power to trade and a number of minor provisions relating to finance, legal proceedings, records / documents and staffing and workforce matters.
Alongside these, the draft Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (Additional Authority) (Wales) Order 2022 amends the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to include CJCs in the list of authorities that must have due regard to the likely effect of the exercise of their functions on, and the need to do all that it reasonably can to prevent crime and disorder in its area, the misuse of drugs, alcohol and other substances in its area, and reoffending in its area.
Both of these Statutory Instruments will be debated by the Senedd on 22 March. Subject to approval, they will come into force on 25 March.
I intend to launch a consultation exercise on a proposed fourth tranche of regulations in the coming weeks. These would provide for remaining provision, including in relation to scrutiny, standing orders and applying the local government performance and governance regime to CJCs. This would complement the requirements already in place around transparency of the work of CJCs and public accessibility and participation. Timings for this consultation will of course take account of local government elections in May.