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Council reforms latest: Are we looking at a return to Dyfed?

mapWALES moved a step closer to a massive Local Government reform today, following an announcement by Leighton Andrews.

Mr Andrews was responding to the results of the consultation on the Reforming Local Government White Paper published in February.  Over 700 responses were received, while more than 3,000 people took part in the opinion poll.

The major announcement concerned the shift from 22 local authorities down to eight or nine – two potential maps have been put forward.  Under both of the proposed maps, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire would amalgamate in a reformation of Dyfed. 

As a result of these changes, the existing cap of 75 elected members per local authority would be replaced by a higher cap, to avoid elected members serving an unfeasibly large number of people.  It has not been stated what the future cap would be.

9 Local Authorities

  • Isle of Anglesey and Gwynedd
  • Conwy and Denbighshire
  • Flintshire and Wrexham
  • Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire
  • Swansea and Neath Port Talbot
  • Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil
  • Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan
  • Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Torfaen, Monmouthshire and Newport
  • Powys

8 Local Authorities

  • Isle of Anglesey, Gwynedd and Conwy
  • Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham
  • Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire
  • Swansea and Neath Port Talbot
  • Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil
  • Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan
  • Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Torfaen, Monmouthshire and Newport
  • Powys

Proposals made by the White Paper which received strong support in the consultation process included giving a general power of competence to Local Authorities, and the establishment of a Public Services Staff Commission.

However, the idea of limiting the period of time that elected officers can serve for, and allowing officers to stand for election in their own authorities both attracted a strong negative response, as did the proposal that community councils should pass a competency test by demonstrating a turnover of at least £200,000, thus creating a two-tier system.  As a result, Mr Andrews announced that he would be scrapping these proposals.

Mr Andrews emphasized that this was not a final decision, but the next phase in discussions.  A draft Mergers and Reform Bill will be published in the autumn, which will include further formal consultation on the proposals for Local Authority mergers, as well as a Regulatory Impact Assessment.  More details will be published in this Friday’s Herald

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Dayne Stone

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