Saturday, 18 January 2014

Local Government reorganisation may be a botched job.

It looks like any Welsh Local Government ,will not be a root and branch job, but rather  a merger of existing councils.

 Wales Administrative Map 2009.png

 The Welsh Government commissioned Williams report on the future shape of public services in Wales is expected to be published on Monday.

The existing councils are likely to be the building blocks and as a result any changes will be the result of a series of mergers between councils in the same health board and the police force areas probably  cutting the number of county councils from "22 to 11" which could cost £200m-£300m. but would be cheaper than doing the job properly
So taking on board some of these principles, you could take an educated guess at some of the possibilities.

So how will it look 

OK using the fact that this will be mergers within the Police and Health boards it could possibly look like

Caerphilly, Torfaen, and Blaenau Gwen
 Newport and Monmouthshire.
 Cardiff  and the Vale of Glamorgan.
 RCT and Merthyr.
 Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea.
 Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire.
 Gwynedd, Anglesey,
 Conwy,  Denbighshire,
 Flintshire and Wrexham.
 Powys  will remain as it is

But that's Ten  so this may not be the case on Monday when the recommendations are made

But if this is the case its going to leave some with traditional loyalties to old county names in apoplexy.

If this is going to be the criteria then it may be the cheapest and swiftest option but that may not be the best option

But it beggars the question  . Since some councils are going about cutting Libraries Leisure centres whilst others seek to make drastic cuts elsewhere . Would it not be prudent to try and delay these cuts until reorganisation ? 

Finding that the council you has closed your leisure centre whilst there has been no move in the part that has merged with you could cause problems in the future.

.If these new authorities are to come about before the next elections then sped will be of the essence so scrutiny may not be as robust as we would hope and it may be the council may look like the result of welding two cars together, from two wreaks by cowboy mechanics which is dangerous and falls apart after a year  rather than complete rebuilding.

But shouldn't we have torn up the map and ignored the old borders? and at the same time give more powers to community councils as well as looking introducing STV for elections?

I suspect in a decade we will be back at the drawing board


Cibwr said...

I agree, and that we have excluded the police, the fire service, and the health boards from this review does somewhat fatally wound it. My own preferences for a two tier system is well known, as well as strengthening community councils.

A golden opportunity has been missed with not combining the new authorities with the health authorities, social services and health are a natural match and the services should be seen as a continuum.

Lyndon said...

I think your proposed new councils look right, except merging Swansea, Bridgend and NPT would create the largest LA in Wales with a population of well over half a million. I suspect they'll leave Swansea separate, which would bring the number of councils to 11.

Merging local authorities and health boards is a great idea on paper (and it works in Scandinavia) but given the mess many councils have made of education you can understand why the government might be a bit reluctant. The reorganisation costs would also be huge. There was a proposal a few years ago to merge the county council and LHB in Powys, which would be an ideal test case, but this doesn't seem to have gone anywhere.

I'd prefer a single Welsh fire and rescue service, but that might be a bit too imaginative for Carwyn. New all-Wales organisations might also smack a bit too much of nationalism for the twitchier members of the Labour party. Obviously, a single national Welsh police force is a decision for our colonial masters in Whitehall.