Peter Black AM welcomes Minister’s forced collaboration U-Turn

2012 Ionawr 24 5:36 PM

Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Local Government, Peter Black, has welcomed the decision by the Welsh Government that it is no longer planning to legislate to force local councils to collaborate.

The Minister's announced in July 2011 set out the Welsh Government's intention to bring forward a Local Government (Collaborative Measures) Bill, giving Ministers the power to merge local councils. The Minister has now told Plenary that as a result of the Welsh Local Government Compact committing local authorities to further collaboration, and because of their progress that has been achieved already, he is "minded that there is no immediate need for further legislation in the area of collaboration."

Peter Black said:

"Any attempt to legislate to force the merger of Councils or to allow Ministers to interfere in the way that they are run and work with their partners would have proved controversial. I suspect that a minority Labour Government would have had difficulty getting a bill through the Assembly. I welcome therefore the decision of the Minister to step back from this particular abyss and to recognise the good work that is taking place throughout Wales.

"However, there is little evidence that the collaboration agenda has spread to the Welsh Government themselves. Although there is good work going on between social services and health in particular, the vast majority of Welsh government departments continue to plough on in splendid isolation. Ministers themselves need to pull their departments out of their silos and insist that they are more proactive in working with each other and with local councils so as to improve the quality of services and get good value for money."

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