Council leaders and chief executives from across central and south west Wales have welcomed the progress being been made on a regional approach to construction services.
With two projects running in parallel across the region, local councils are beginning to realise the benefits of an approach designed to achieve financial and service efficiency savings, while promoting the sharing of specialist expertise across local councils.
The ‘Central Wales Infrastructure Collaboration’ involves Ceredigion and Powys Councils, while the ‘Professional Construction Services Project’ brings together Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea.
Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council said:
“The Central Wales Infrastructure Collaboration (CWIC) initiative between Ceredigion and Powys County Councils has resulted in savings being achieved by sharing senior managers and procurement processes across councils, while reducing spend on external consultants. The project represents an effective example of joint working and I am delighted to see that the benefits are being felt locally, underpinning our links with local suppliers and creating employment opportunities. All are crucial to our regional economy during such challenging economic times.”
The CWIC project has been supported by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government with increased project management capacity.
In south west Wales, building professionals such as architects, engineers and quantity surveyors have also been working closely together in order to plan resources at a regional level as part of a wider drive to create service efficiencies.
Councillor David Phillips, Leader of the City & County of Swansea and Chair of the Region’s partnership board said:
“The partnership board has overseen joint procurement initiatives that are resulting in direct savings and community benefits. Such collaborative working can help ensure that investment in south west Wales continues to be strategic and targeted, while making best use of the local employment market and supply chains. With the current drive in Wales being towards the delivery of public services across organisational and geographical boundaries, projects such as these demonstrate how local government is already delivering in this area.”
Local Government Minister Lesley Griffiths said: “These two projects are part of a much bigger picture of successful collaboration across all public bodies in Wales. I want to see this taken further and have already provided match funding for the ESF Local Service Board project that supported CWIC and another 36 projects across the convergence area, with a further £6.370m invested in 15 bids under the Regional Collaboration Fund. These investments help fulfil our Programme for Government commitments to deliver continuous improvement in our public services, ensuring our funding supports stronger and more effective service delivery and secures effective collaboration between public services”
The two schemes form part of a wider programme of collaboration being overseen by the WLGA’s Regional Partnership Board. The WLGA Improvement Fund has supported both initiatives.