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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New law on Welsh democracy comes into force

A new law to improve the democratic processes and transparency of Local Government in Wales has been granted Royal Assent by Her Majesty the Queen.
The Local Government (Democracy) (Wales) Act 2013 will:
  • improve the public’s access to information about town and community Councils, 
  • reform the structure and functions of the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales, 
  • amend the responsibilities of the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales and the structure of local authority audit committees within the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011, 
  • require principal councils and fire and rescue authorities to consult the Independent Remuneration Panel before varying the salary of their chief executive, 
  • facilitate the creation of joint standards committees by local authorities; and 
  • enable councils to separate the ceremonial and civic functions from the role of presiding over meetings of the council if they so wish.
A Bill receives Royal Assent when Letters Patent under the Welsh Seal signed with Her Majesty’s own hand signifying Her Assent are notified to the Clerk of the Assembly. The Bill then becomes an Act of the Assembly.
The First Minister, as Keeper of the Welsh Seal, applied the Seal to the Letters Patent in a ceremony in Cardiff earlier today (Tuesday).
First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “Through our ambitious five year legislative programme, we are introducing ‘made in Wales’ solutions to the issues affecting us a nation.

“This Act represents a further step in our drive to ensure local democracy in Wales operates as efficiently and effectively as possible.”
 Minister for Local Government & Government Business, Lesley Griffiths said: “The Act will provide a platform for the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales, to carry out its important work more effectively by better aligning community and electoral reviews. 

“It also includes a number of measures which I believe will assist and strengthen democratic processes in relation to Local Government.

“These reforms form an essential part of ensuring our Councils are democratically elected, representative of their communities and organised in the most effective way."

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