Thomas Bridge 09 December 2014

Minister slams Welsh councils for ‘disappointing’ response to reform plan

Welsh councils have been blasted for their ‘disappointingly low’ response rate to a plan on the future of local government.

Only 11 county and county borough councils came forward with suggestions and responses to the Welsh Government’s Reforming Local Government White Paper, which seeks opinions on whether the national approach and potential reforms are correct.

In contrast, a total of 170 submissions were received from other stakeholders and members of the public by 1 October.

Minister for public services, Leighton Andrews, said he was ‘disappointed half of the local authorities in Wales had nothing to say about how we shape local government in Wales. After all, it’s their future and the future of their local communities we were discussing.

‘I am clear about my ambition for local government in Wales. I want to see councils who engage with their communities and – who consistently offer strong performance, strong democracy and good governance.’

The document also sets out plans to enable voluntary early council mergers and prepare support for the remaining council join-ups to be given effect through a Bill introduced in 2016.

‘I have analysed the detailed feedback from the White Paper and will consider the suggestions further when designing the blueprint for the future of local authorities in Wales,’ Andrews added.

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