Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

‘Confused’ community councils fail to publish key legal documents

21 Apr 2024 3 minute read
Newport City Council\’s headquarters, the Civic Centre. Credit: LDRS

Nicholas Thomas, local democracy reporter

Every one of 14 community councils within one local authority area is failing to meet national rules on publishing key documents, according to the city council.

Community councils are the lowest tier of local government in Wales and typically cover small villages.

These organisations perform some civic duties, which can include providing public information noticeboards, seating, war memorials and some recreation facilities.

A new report by Newport City Council reveals the city’s 14 community councils have failed to properly publish registers of members’ interests on their websites.

By law, these registers must be published online as records of “any personal or financial interests that could influence or affect a member’s decision-making or conduct”, the city council said in its report.

In the majority (eight) of cases, these documents were not published at all, while two other community councils had “confused” registers of interests with the similarly-sounding declarations of interest members are required to make at meetings.

The remaining four community councils had published incomplete or out-of-date information.

Compliance

This meant “none of the community councils met the expectations regarding compliance with legislation on maintaining registers of interest and making them publicly available to support transparency and impartiality in decision-making”, the city council warned.

The local authority added that discussions with community council representatives found “clear… differences of understanding of the duties” relating to registers of interest, which “must be available online to satisfy requirements for openness and transparency”.

The registers may be redacted to protect personal information, the city council advised.

It was also found that most community councils in Newport required “further work” so members could “ensure awareness and compliance” with their codes of conduct.

The code “sets out the standards of behaviour expected of them in their official capacity”, and also regulates how community councillors “should deal with conflicts of interest” and how members of the public can make a complaint about members’ conduct.

The city council found only five of Newport’s 14 community councils had published the code of conduct on their website, with the remaining nine failing to do so.

Following the findings, the city council’s standards committee could recommend various “actions” to community council’s, designed to “address gaps in their approach” to publishing the legally-required documents.

This could include training sessions, informal discussions with clerks, and a follow-up review to assess progress.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

As in the community council so it is in the Westminster/Senedd ‘council’…

A school for bad habits, nest feathering and no diligence…

The proof is in the political headlines of all of our news outlets daily…

Those who would rule over us are easily tempted…

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.