Thursday, 11 December 2014

Welsh Local Government still in a mire.

Any hope that  the announcement  that Ten Welsh councils have agreed to work together to develop a combined authority that could make key decisions for the South East Wales region on economic development, transport and planning. will go some way to giving clarity to the ongoing farce of the Assembly governments attempt to force local authorities into a shotgun marriage appear to be dashed
 Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews. Andrews told AMs on Wednesday that he "would like to see some evidence that the political leadership... has been fully involved in [those] decisions."
"First of all, there will not be 10 local authorities in south east Wales in the near future," he added, referring to the ongoing merger discussions.
He asked if leaders of all 10 councils were committed to the idea of joining forces on transport, planning and other major issues.
The proposal was announced by the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) on Tuesday.
It said it had ordered a more detailed report to be considered in February.

Mr Andrews seems irked that the councils have come up with a plan of their own rather than himself.
Councillor Bob Wellington, Leader of Torfaen Council and also of the WLGA, speaking yesterday about the new combined regional authority, said 
“The development of a combined authority will not create a new or ‘extra’ organisation. It will create a clear decision making structure that will allow councils to deliver at a strategic regional level, while also ensuring local communities retain a strong role in shaping their sense of place and the services they receive.
“It complements the work of the Cardiff Capital City Region Board, meets the aspirations of the Welsh Government and it will deliver on the shared commitment we all have as council leaders to deliver for the communities of South East Wales.”

The  Plan however seems to be in stark contrast  to Cardiff Council Leader Phil Bale recently been touting the ideas with Bristol   a ‘Severnside City Region’, melding south Wales, Somerset and Gloucestershire, 
All this has come about because neither the Assembly or the Williams commission set up to revue the structure of our local Authorities grasped the Nettle and looked for the easiest way to reform our councils.
The back of a fag packet response of the Williams  commission that councils should simply merge rather that a root and branch review  and Mr Andrewss' heavy handed approach has left us all confused .
My preference would be to  abolish our current 22 councils and create 8 super councils to deal with Transport ,Education Policing (with it being devolved to the assembly) Social Services . Education and Health and the creation of larger community councils to carry out most of the rest.
For instance the merging of  Llantrisant, Pontyclun and  Llanilltud Faerdre community councils would create a reasonable size (both in area and population ) authority that had some Identity . Indeed It would largely be the same as the Llantrisant Parish council before it was merged into Taf Ely in the 70's
Others may disagree but reorganisation of our local government shouldn't be left to the ego of the current council leaders or the vanity  of Leighton Andrews.

No comments:

Post a Comment