NEW regional committees set to be established in Wales have received a mixed reaction from Monmouthshire councillors, with the leader of the council saying there is “serious resistance” to the bodies being ‘imposed’ by Welsh Government.

A bill passed in the Senedd last week will see the establishment of four Corporate Joint Committees (CJC) next year, with the aim of encouraging closer co-operation and regional working between local authorities in Wales.

The new committees will be responsible for delivering a Strategic Development Plan, developing a regional transport plan and economic development.


The South East Wales Committee will be based on the set-up of the current Cardiff Capital Region City Deal, and will include the leaders of the 10 councils involved.

Councils are now being asked for their views on the governance arrangements of the new committees, which are expected to start meeting in September 2021.

At a Monmouthshire council public services select committee meeting on Thursday, council leader Peter Fox said there was “serious resistance” over the new bodies being mandated by Welsh Government.

“Virtually all of the local government family were against the principle of the CJCs,” he said.

“In the Cardiff Capital Region, the 10 leaders were really frustrated about this being imposed upon us because we had voluntarily created the same vehicle.”

However Cllr Fox said the Cardiff Capital Region is seen as a ‘blueprint’ for the new committees, and that its cabinet could “morph quite easily into a CJC” without much change.

Leader of the council’s Labour group, Cllr Dimitri Batrouni, said he had concerns over the scrutiny of the new committee and its powers to determine its own budgets and performance measures.

He described it as a “back-slapping power grab”.

“The power of local government is given by people and the power given to this is by itself and its government,” he said.

“The ability to set its own scrutiny and performance measures should not be allowed.”

But Cllr Jane Pratt said the new committee could help projects in the county such as the plans for a ‘walkway’ railway station in Magor by providing funding.

“I see this as a real opportunity of quicker decision making,” she said.

Paul Matthews, chief executive of the council, said he expects the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal will “morph into” the South East Wales CJC.

“These will not be two separate entities,” he said.

The CJCs will be funded by local authorities in a similar way to the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal.

Draft regulations say CJCs will be accountable to their principal councils and that they must set up a scrutiny committee.

The consultation on the governance arrangements runs until January 4.