A report published by the Auditor General has today highlighted how many of Wales’ cash strapped public services are continuing to perform well.
The ‘A Picture of Public Services 2015’ report, while calling on all public services in Wales to innovate and increase the pace of reform, acknowledges how many service areas continue to offer a positive level of performance despite facing significant cuts to their budgets over recent years.
Despite these improvements the report also voices concern and calls for a ‘wholesale transformation’ of how public services are delivered in Wales. This is a call that supports many of the key messages of the WLGA’s recent manifesto, which offers a 40 point plan for the future of public services in Wales based on increased partnership and a greater commitment to the principle of localism.
Cllr Bob Wellington CBE (Torfaen), Leader of the WLGA said:
“We welcome today’s report from the Auditor General which echoes many of the key messages of the WLGA’s own ‘Localism 2016-21’ manifesto for public services in Wales, within which we fully acknowledge the need for significant reform – not of local councils in isolation, but of public services as a whole in Wales.
“Local government has been at the forefront of UK austerity, and while councils have been offered a level of relative protection in Wales they have shouldered more than their fair share of the financial burden and they have responded positively in seeking to adapt how they deliver their local services. We have seen an increasing variety of new service delivery models emerging such as community trusts, local authority trading companies and mutuals. Our councils have made significant financial savings, merged a number of vital local services and have developed new and innovative ways of delivering public services at both a local and regional level.
“Today’s report reinforces local government’s message that if public services are to radically change to meet the challenges they face now and in the future, then the Welsh public sector as a whole will require a new way of doing business. In particular, we need to be clear if we are to reform our public services, then we need to develop responses which are sensitive to the complexities of ‘place’. This is the essence of localism – local services shaped in consultation with local communities and delivered in ways that directly meet the needs of local communities. It is encouraging to receive such support for the vitally important principle of localism within the report published by the Auditor General today.”