Educated guess at Wales' councils reorganisation

 

We understand that there'll be no new lines on the map in the next round of local government re-organisation.

The existing councils are likely to be the building blocks and as a result any changes will be the result of a series of mergers between councils in the same health board and the police force areas.

So taking on board some of these principles, you could take an educated guess at some of the possibilities.

Under the Aneurin Bevan Health Board, there is Caerphilly, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Newport and Monmouthshire.

Under the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, there's Cardiff council and the Vale of Glamorgan.

Under Cwm Taf, there's RCT and Merthyr.

Under the ABMU Health Board, there's Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea. Under Hywel Dda, there's Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire.

And under Betsi Cadwaladr, there's Gwynedd, Anglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham. Powys sits on its own.

Tribal loyalty

If these principles are followed we can expect variations within these groupings.

One of the interesting questions in all of this will be to what extent people feel a tribal loyalty to their particular local authorities. After all they are relatively young institutions.

The truth is that there may be more of a sense of attachment in some counties than others.

This what the Conservative MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire Stephen Crabb has said on his newsletter to constituents: "The year also started with reports that Welsh Government will soon reduce the number of councils in Wales.

"This would inevitably mean the disappearance of Pembrokeshire County Council as we know it.

"I have huge reservations about this. Local people fought hard to get Pembrokeshire back from the old Dyfed authority and the case for having our own local authority is as valid now as it was then.

Local allegiances

"It is important that the distinct local identities and specific needs of Wales's communities are protected and I will raise my concerns with the Welsh minister."

Inevitably this debate will pick up on all sorts of local allegiances.

On Radio Wales this morning we got a taste of that from the assembly member and former leader of Swansea council, Mike Hedges, talking about how people in Llanelli look towards Swansea and not Carmarthenshire, while the former leader of Bridgend, Jeff Jones, was speaking about how people look to Cardiff and not to the "jacks" of Swansea.

One other reflection. Thursday's Western Mail had a job advert for an £80,000-a-year position as the director of education at Blaenau Gwent council.

It just highlights the difficulties staff will face in this process.

On one level you'd have thought it would be difficult to recruit for a position like that when the organisation in its current form may cease to exist in a few years.

And yet at the same time, councils have crucial jobs to do and work can't come to a halt as a result of reorganisation.

 
Nick Servini Article written by Nick Servini Nick Servini Political editor, Wales

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