ARGUS COMMENT: So much unanswered in council shake-up plan

South Wales Argus: ARGUS COMMENT: So much unanswered in council shake-up plan ARGUS COMMENT: So much unanswered in council shake-up plan

THE WILLIAMS report sets out a potential framework for the future of local government in Wales.

But it probably raises more questions than it answers.

We don’t think anybody would argue that the current 22 local authorities set up is sustainable. But there are simple questions, such as in the various mergers being suggested, which authority would take the lead role?

For example, in any merger between Newport and Monmouthshire, would the civic headquarters of the new authority be in the city’s civic centre or at the shiny new Monmouthshire building at Usk? Also the resulting councils would in some instances contain towns with little in common with each other.

Report author Paul Williams suggests the re-organisation would cost in the region of £100m, which some would argue is optimistic, but would lead to savings of between £60 and £80m a year thereby recouping the costs fairly quickly. But our concern is that there is a real danger council officers up and down the country who are steering their councils through huge spending cuts will now have their eyes taken off the ball because of the uncertainty surrounding the future.

We also do not share Mr Williams’ confidence in the timescales he is suggesting.

For him to expect the Welsh government, local authorities and key stakeholders to agree programme arrangements for merger by Easter seem fanciful to us.

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

3:12pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Bobevans says...

From experience in England it would be better to do it in stages. Many back offices functions can be merged such as Finance. HR. IT, Admin, Housing, Social Services etc

It may be both the Civic Centre and Usk but ancillary buildings go. Clearly local offices are still required for actual service delivery but many that currently operate from remote buildings in Newport could move into the civic centre
From experience in England it would be better to do it in stages. Many back offices functions can be merged such as Finance. HR. IT, Admin, Housing, Social Services etc It may be both the Civic Centre and Usk but ancillary buildings go. Clearly local offices are still required for actual service delivery but many that currently operate from remote buildings in Newport could move into the civic centre Bobevans

5:23pm Tue 21 Jan 14

GardenVarietyMushroom says...

A hundred million? Who knew economising could be so darned expensive?

What's it for? Golden handshakes for executives that are no longer needed perhaps?
A hundred million? Who knew economising could be so darned expensive? What's it for? Golden handshakes for executives that are no longer needed perhaps? GardenVarietyMushroom

5:36pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Bobevans says...

To merge councils by Easter is totally unrealistic. A merger strategy first needs to be agreed. It also needs a total review of the offices both councils currently have. It is not going to be possible to merge both councils into one building. Possibly the new Usk building should be used plus another building in Newport there are plenty of office buildings around. The Civic centre is old and would be far to big
To merge councils by Easter is totally unrealistic. A merger strategy first needs to be agreed. It also needs a total review of the offices both councils currently have. It is not going to be possible to merge both councils into one building. Possibly the new Usk building should be used plus another building in Newport there are plenty of office buildings around. The Civic centre is old and would be far to big Bobevans

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree