Wednesday, 21 September 2011
“We believe that external challenge and support can best be provided through a Ministerial Board with an independent chair with a legal background and other members with the necessary expertise to challenge the Council in the core areas for improvement. I will announce the membership shortly. I have spoken to the Leader of the Council this morning.” So said deputy Minister Gwenda Thomas in dealing with Pembrokeshire County Council’s failure to protect children and young people.
Now this government has form in putting their own team in to sort out our local councils. They currently have teams in Ynys Mon and Blaenau Gwent.
A pattern is developing. If a local authority errs, the Welsh Government ride in wearing their white hats and then put their own folk in to sort things out.
The Minister with responsibility for local government Carl Sergeant sees councils as lacking “performance leadership, critical mass, specialist expertise and efficiency.”
His answer is to have six regional bodies that will deliver some of the major services that are currently delivered by local councils.
And it’s not only Sergeant that has a low opinion, but many others in the cabinet share the view that local councils don’t cut the mustard.
All this begs the question, why don’t they cut the middle man out and do it themselves.
After all if the idea is to have six regional authorites to deliver education, social services and some aspects of environment and sustainable development. Why not save the money and just have one – namely the government itself.
Yes, scrap the county councils and let the Welsh government take on the role. They can then decentralise responsibilities to other organisations such as the schools themselves or of course to those democratically elected bodies – namely the community councils if they see fit.