Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Internal Labour row over control of schools,

The Western Mule  claims the it can reveal  that the Welsh Government proposal that could see schools taken out of local authority control is causing huge divisions within Welsh Labour,

Hardly a shock .

Education Minister Leighton Andrews announcement  that a wide-ranging review into education delivery will consider whether school services should be managed centrally by the Welsh Government rather than Wales’ 22 unitary councils as bound

The Mule could  not many critics  on the record but Nigel Dix, a member of the controlling Labour group on Caerphilly council, and former True Wales stalwart said:

It is completely wrong to consider taking responsibility for schools away from local authorities.
“This has gone down extremely badly. Leighton Andrews seems to be forgetting that we have been democratically elected and are directly accountable to the people. That would not be the case under some new arrangements involving regional quangos.
“Some people are suggesting that by proposing this Leighton is seeking to give himself an alibi ahead of the next set of Pisa results, which are unlikely to be much better than the last lot. Blaming local authorities is an easy option.
“The fact is that major decisions affecting schools, like the national curriculum etc, are already taken at Welsh Government level.”
Western Mail 27 November 2012

Of course you would expect Councils to seek to keep such a level of control with  five local authorities, of different political make-up, in special measures or in need of serious improvement – with a further five being monitored. and Wales once a beacon for Education  seemingly falling behind the rest of the UK are Councils up to running a major Education service or should we seek another solution .

Plaid's spokesman  on local government pointed our that

“Structurally, you would struggle to understand the different approaches. Both the Local Education Authorities and the Local Health Boards fundamentally perform the same role – they are agencies tasked by the Welsh Government to deliver services,,,,
So should we have a new tier of Government  creating 5 -6  elected bodies to take  responsibility for  Local Education Authorities and the Local Health Boards consisting of 20 Representatives (we can even call them that) i each elected on a fixed term.

They  would be democratic accountable and hopefully as these representatives have to only concentrate on Health and Education more efficient.

If they prove to be able to deal with these areas of responsibility Policing   and the Fire Service could be added.

The whole point of devolution is that power should go where its most effective and simply taking Education away from local councils without giving us an alternative is not the way to go about it and education is to important to be left to a spat between Welsh Labour .

If you are to criticise or defend a policy you really need to tell as what the alternative is.


Anonymous said...

Agreed. We need an overall look at both local and regional government within Wales. The system of 22 unitary authorities wildly differing sizes established in 1996 is quite evidently not up to purpose and in many ways offers the worst of both worlds. The likes of Ynys Mon, Merthyr and Blaenau Gwent are clearly too small to be strategic authorities in charge of high-level services while Powys cannot be considered a 'local' authority in any meaningful sense. Your suggestion of 5-6 regions would make sense and would also also enable some of the oversized counties to be broken up into more meaningfully local units.

Cibwr said...

Glyn - this is what I have been suggesting for some time, a regional tier of government taking over the joint boards and quangos that run much of our lives, at present overlapping boundaries and nomination removes accountability. Add education and strategic planning, public transport and maybe waste disposal and you have the making of a coherent set of responsibilities. Even devolve some functions from the National Assembly to these regions (I suggest we have 5) - I have set this out in some depth here...


Cibwr said...

The only change I'd made to the current counties set up is that I'd detach Montgomery from Powys and and add it to the Northern Region, with its own County Council, Id also demerge the Cynon Valley from RCT and merge it with Merthyr. Oh and I'd add social services to the regional remit as I think health and social services are a natural match.

glynbeddau said...

Spot on a sensible proposal