Local councils have welcomed a new approach to local government reform announced today by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government, Mark Drakeford AM.
Local authorities have faced a challenging period of austerity and uncertainty over their future but have managed to continue to deliver improving services to Wales’ communities.
This structural and financial insecurity has particularly affected the local government workforce and the Cabinet Secretary’s statement provides welcome stability and security, allowing councils to focus on delivering services and better outcomes for Wales’ communities.
The proposals recognise the central and visible role of Wales’ councils in their communities, while outlining a coherent agenda for reform that will build on the strengths of our existing community-based local government with the need to provide greater strategic coordination and regional resilience for key services.
Responding to the announcement, Councillor Bob Wellington CBE (Torfaen), Leader of the WLGA said:
“As a statement of intent we welcome these proposals and also the constructive way in which the Cabinet Secretary is working with local councils to develop a more resilient and stable future for local public services in Wales.
“Councils have long been committed to reform and have developed and delivered collaborative and regional services during recent years. These include innovation around the Cardiff Capital City Region, Swansea Bay City Region, North Wales Economic Board, Mersey Dee Alliance and the Growing Mid Wales partnership.
“Only last week council leaders met to discuss local government proposals for reform based on greater regional collaboration of key services based on the City Regions and alignment of other public services particularly in terms of health and social care. Our ideas for future service innovation chime well with the proposals outlined by the Cabinet Secretary today.
“What is encouraging is that these proposals highlight how councils will remain embedded in their communities acting as the ‘front door’ through which people access a range of vitally important everyday services. In doing so the proposals outline a vision that keeps the ‘local’ in local democracy and local government, while also offering a coherent agenda for regional collaboration on key service areas.
“There is much detail now to explore, not least on how the proposed ‘mandatory’ approach to regional working will work, but we look forward to working with the Cabinet Secretary and our other partners to ensure we deliver a workable vision for public service reform in Wales.”
Notes to editor:
- 30/09/2016 WLGA Coordinating Committee Meeting - WLGA Labour Group paper outlining proposals for local government reform. Click here (Item 5)
- The WLGA’s Assembly election manifesto ‘Localism 2016-21: A plan for public services in Wales’. Click here