YOUR AM WRITES: South Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle

South Wales Argus: YOUR AM WRITES: South Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle YOUR AM WRITES: South Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle

PLAID Cymru led a debate in the Senedd about public service and the importance of governance and delivery.

I spoke about the Williams Commission report on local government reorganisation and believe it completely underplays the costs involved.

There is a fleeting mention of £100m but it says nothing about the cost and impact on staff in terms of redundancy.

I have been privileged to have been an elected representative on five different levels, for over 39 years, and have witnessed during my life two local government reorganisations. The quality of the service provided is crucial.

Targets for service delivery are important, but we know from the ambulance service in Wales that this does not in any way guarantee that they will be met. And if they are not met, what options does the Welsh Government have to improve performance? Is it the stick or the carrot?

There is no more money available, so you can forget about the carrot, and to penalise a local authority for not meeting its targets in anything - in waste collection, road improvements or better social services - would have nothing to do with inefficiencies and everything to do with resources.

What the Williams report does not mention, and what is critical, is that local authorities need to not only engage more with their staff, but treat them with respect, and not impose a pay freeze while making huge increases to senior executives’ pay. That is what has brought us, perhaps, to the mess that we are all in. Efficiency and performance in the public sector will never improve if staff are demoralised.

I also spoke about the importance of town and community councils, which need to be merged, enlarged and made consistent across the country. We need to empower our communities. There is need for a full-scale reform of that particular community layer of government. It would then give people a sense of belonging to that particular area.

Next Tuesday, I’m hosting the launch in the Senedd of a new prescription medicine dispensing system in Wales which has been developed by the Gwent-based Mayberry Pharmacy.

MediPack is free for those with long-term medical conditions or who take lot of tablets . It greatly reduces the risk of taking the wrong tablets at the wrong time.

In addition, all tablets are stored in pouches and it cuts out the possibility of incorrect medicines being given by care workers to patients.

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