According to Huw James, rule (c) of the political balance regulations:
"Subject to (a) [no group can hold all the seats] and (b)
[majority group must have a majority on every committee] the total
number of seats on all ordinary committees . . . allocated to
a particular group reflects that group's proportion of the membership
of the authority," does not apply to scrutiny committees.
When I raised this issue with Mr James he told me that each scrutiny committees is to be treated as a'stand alone' entity for the purposes of the political balance regs.
I have hunted around the web but I can't find this regulation.
Indeed the local gov act 2000 S 15 seems to suggest otherwise.
However, I can't discount the possibility that WAG brought in some regulation under delegated powers.
Are you able to find out?
This is quite an important issue - especially for the Labour Party - because, if the seats were allocated across all four scrutiny committees according to (c), Labour would be entitled to extra places.
Currently the three 'normal' committees [not including education]are divided 8-4 in favour of the Indies.
According to my calculations, if rule (c) applied, that should be 7-5, with Labour and the Grumpy /Calver axis the main beneficiaries.
There is also an issue regarding the Education/young person's committee which has four co-opted members bringing its total membership to 16.
because of rule (b) - see above - the Indies hold nine of these seats and the opposition three.
However, when this committee discusses non-education matters, these four co-optees don't have a vote.
Which of course means that the committee no longer complies with the statutory political balance rules, which, on a strict application of the rules would require an 8-4 split.
Back in October 2004, the Leader put forward a NoM to increase the number of members on scrutiy committees from 10 to 12.
According to the report before last Fri's Corp Gov comm this was to "strengthen the the overview and scrutiny committee process within the authority".
As can be seen from the table below, because of the arcane arithmetic of the political balance rules, it also, coincidentally, of course, strengthened the IPG's grip on these committees.
|PARTY||PERCENT OF TOTAL||No of seats out of 10||Rounded up/down||No of seats out of 12||Rounded up/down||No of seats if committes increased to 13|
Of course, these margins are so fine that everything could
change following the result of the Maenclochog by-election.