Re-org local government? I wouldn't start from here

 

"Re-org is not where I want to be".

Who said it? The then Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant.

About what? Local government reorganisation.

When? Back in 2010, when everyone else was talking about the Ryder Cup, Mr Sargeant was heading off on a summer tour meet local public sector workers, taking with him a statement he'd called "Your Services, Your Say" but that back then, some re-christened "My Money, My Way".

Why? This is how I put it back then:

"For what he announced was nothing less that a complete re-evaluation of how local services are delivered in Wales: an independent inquiry, to report before Christmas, which will look at all functions carried out by councils in Wales and decide whether they could be better carried out at a regional or even national level.

We're not talking about back office here - HR, payroll and so on. It appears that the Minister is now prepared to wrest control of whole areas from local government and put them on a wholly different footing - waste, social services, trading standards for example, run regionally or even as a single national service. Mr Sargeant put it more simply - "I'm not precious about who does what".

Is he serious? A government source tells us he's deadly serious: "He is determined to take them on. He holds a lot of cards and he will play them."

The thinking was that with finances tight and getting tighter, even the most isolationist elements in local government accepted they had to do things differently, that they had to collaborate. Refusing to do so 22 times over was simply unsustainable. If they thought so, and if he thought so, and if the First Minister thought so, surely there were big changes on the way. But wholesale reorganisation?

As I say, that was not where he wanted to be. It's expensive at a time when there's no money to spare, it's complex at a time when politicians need to keep an eye on other things, it can be got very wrong at a time you really can't afford to make mistakes.

But if the government didn't want to talk reorganisation, others did, including some of the biggest beasts in Welsh local government.

So what now? As expected for some months now, the announcement of a Commission on Public Service and Delivery, involving all parties and that "provides an opportunity for those who are involved in delivering services, those who are politically accountable for them and users of them to examine how public services are governed: that is, held accountable for their performance and delivered most effectively to the public".

Or as another big beast in local government put it, they might be casting it as a public services commission but here's "the starting gun for Local Government Reform at last!"

The chair, Sir Paul Williams, as former chief executive of the NHS in Wales, is no stranger to reform nor to how the Welsh government likes it to happen. I'm told he's also "very tough".

 
Betsan Powys Article written by Betsan Powys Betsan Powys Former political editor, Wales

A big day for health in Wales

A day of big health stories in Wales is capped with a potentially very significant announcement.

Read full article

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 56.

    #51 Thanks, John. I have been out all evening.
    So, it looks like we will now never know if some BBC jobsworth decided to curry favour with the Gov or if some Cabinet Office political made a o
    phone call from an outside call-box and pointed out there was a licence-fee renewal coming up.
    And people are writing to the Times about this flower of democracy.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 55.

    Of course our beloved Westminster Politicians have nothing better to do. Nor the BBC by the looks of it. Now this is what I call gerrymandering and manipulation.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/20/thatcher-pate-protest-stewart-lee

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 54.

    Actually connell the country were not asked about the changes to the changes to the Benefits System or taking DLA from chronically ill and disabled people. Or if it came to that asking the country to go to war. They had to lie. Well it seems the country doesn't trust Westminster at all.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/apr/20/labour-ukip-poll

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 53.

    Debate? The Scottish Referendum Order has no mandate, no Green, no White Paper, No Bill, No constitutional Bill, No Act of Parliament no general election no by-elections but still it is law.
    A unanimous "vote" in both HOC and HOL?
    4 million electors not asked.

    A

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 52.

    Wow! we are becoming a trio of dissidents. The three Just Men. Each of different political persuasion. There is hope for the world.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 51.

    ... when I comment I use Microsoft OneNote Boxer, I make a copy of what I submit and the preceding two comments plus any comment I am referring too, The clipping includes the BBC reference automatically including the date and time.

    So when I look back it is with incredulity ...

    ... this is part of our democratic deficit alf, the inability to accept uncomfortable expression by others.

    .

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 50.

    It is all about who has the means of controlling information that others might not. Also for controlling misinformation as well. There were demonstrations at Thatchers funeral. Demonstrations at IDS and Lord Freuds houses, Demonstrations against the Bedroom Tax. Have you heard anything about them on or in the Media. We are entering dangerous times regarding our Democratic Rights.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 49.

    ... 6 months ago I might have agreed with your "Apathy rules the day", but today I'm not sure.

    To participate people need vehicles to voice their opinions, we also need to encourage dissent. At the Assembly there is little dissent and outside opposition is effectively barred from voicing its opinion because the structure doesn't encourage real debate, it prefers afternoon tea and chats ..

    .

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 48.

    #46,#47 The problem is that we were not post-moderated off of a site. The site was obliterated. You cannot appeal because we do not know what the process was. There was no advance warning and no comment afterwards. You cannot appeal the decision because there was no decision.
    There was no site. Anything that you remember to the contrary is clearly mistaken.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 47.

    But we are to blame John they have bombarded us with brain dead television programmes and lies through twisted and manipulated facts and the country follow blindly without thinking things through for themselves. When they realise what is actually going on it will be too late. We are being manipulated into blind oblivion. Apathy rules the day.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 46.

    ... it's not just politicians alf, just look at this and David Cornock's blog, readers are able to stifle debate by applying "Straw Man" fallacious argument, is there a difference.

    We might criticise the USA, but there at least the principles of democracy, the First Amendment forbids making laws that abridges freedom of speech etc, we have never had these freedoms and are unlikely too.
    .

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 45.

    What with the new legislation the Government want to bring in about illegality of postings which could be critical to Government policy on Blogs and Social Network sites. The future does not look rosy. Golly gosh three quarters of the country will be imprisoned. You have been warned!!!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 44.

    ... well Boxer I did post one or two comments, it is disturbing to see such a public and blatant removal of opinion, but its not unusual, when politicians see it successfully applied in China why should they not try it in Britain ?

    I believe the democratic deficiency that allows censorship permeates every political institution in the UK. What does the future hold ?

    .

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 43.

    #38 My name is not Jim.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 42.

    "totallybiasedscarlet" (38)

    Quote..."No way, not on my watch sonny Jim !"

    You seem to have a high opinion of yourself oh biased one. Been watching too many second rate American films have you 'sonny' ?

    Not in my watch indeed !

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 41.

    #39 Hi John, welcome back to the kick-about in the park. Did you have any postings vapourised during the obsequies of the Great She Elephant ?
    Do you, from your more right-wing perspective, have any views on comments being accepted and published, then the whole site vanishing with no signs it ever was ? Too Orwellian for me: "He who controls the present controls the past.”

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 40.

    #38 "Welsh self-determination"
    2010 40/40 constituencies in Wales send MP to the Union Parliament -no abstention.
    A common Parliament means a common vote. The Scottish Referendum Order 2013 (No mandate/No election/No Act of Parliament) proves that devolution (if not repealed) disintegrates the unitary Parliamentary state. The anti-devolution politicians of the 1970s and 1980s were right.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 39.

    ... I suggested many months ago scarlet that our MP's should form the basis of a second "Upper or Superior" chamber to scrutinise WAG legislation, your three days at Cardiff has merit, would this political group need a building for their deliberations ?

    I disagree with the number of councils you suggest, only one with an elected mayor (FM) is necessary.
    .

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 38.

    No way, no repeal of devolution, not on my watch sonny jim! Lots of justified criticism about the way we're governed but the principle of Welsh self-determination is irreproachable. We need reform. The best answer is a federal UK where Welsh MP's sit in Cardiff 3 days a week to deal with Welsh matters and 2 days a week in Westminster to deal with UK matters. Only 5 councils needed in Wales.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 37.

    #32
    297 devo politicians across UK and thousands on devo payroll.
    In Wales per elector 1 MP/ 4MEPS/5AM.
    Local character and identity is being forced to conform to the devo-state plan. ConLab etc all in agreement.
    While United Kingdom disintegrates.
    Scottish Referendum?Where the mandate?

 

Page 1 of 3

 

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.