Welsh local government 'could save' £151m on admin
Local councils in Wales have been told they can save £151m a year by cutting their administration costs before any consideration of mergers.
The sum is more than 3% of Welsh local government's annual budget of £4.4bn.
Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews said the report he ordered supports the need for reform.
He said "savings can be delivered now" to boost frontline services by improving the management of areas like property management, IT and finance.
The 22 Welsh councils are facing the prospect of merger to 12, 10 or even fewer authorities with a proposed map expected to be unveiled next week.
But Mr Andrews said there was already scope for savings.
"When I commissioned this review in November last year, I made it clear I expected all local authorities in Wales to focus the limited resources available to them on delivering front line services to citizens, and to reduce spending on administration and backroom services," he said.
"The report emphasises the value of authorities benchmarking these services against their peers within Wales and best practice internationally.
"Many of these savings can be delivered now without the need to await wider structural reform to local government in Wales.
"We will now consider the recommendations in the report, which will enable local authorities to compare and contrast expenditure and understand where practice should be changed to move a greater proportion of the spending to delivering services to citizens."