Monday 20 January 2014

Return of the Mummies

Update 10.31 a.m.

Commission member Nick Bennett says that the Commission identified 935 public bodies in Wales - twice the number of supermarkets in the country.

A further recommendation is the merger of many town and community councils.

The Commission would like to see the Welsh Government act quickly and implement the changes over a period of 3 to 5 years.

People in Carmarthenshire wait for a declaration from County Hall proclaiming that the Commission's recommendation to leave Carmarthenshire alone (sort of, perhaps, possibly) is a total vindication of the authority's track record.

Update 9.52a.m.

And he's off! Paul Williams is introducing his report now, and the full report plus a summary (a mere 105 pages!) have been published here. As a minimum he recommends a reduction from 22 to 12 authorities, leaving Carmarthenshire, Swansea and Powys unchanged. Ceredigion would merge with Pembrokeshire.

Here is the list of proposed mergers:

Isle of Anglesey and Gwynedd;
Conwy and Denbighshire;
Flintshire and Wrexham;
Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire;
Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend;
Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil;
Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan;
Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly and Torfaen; and
Monmouthshire and Newport

Going beyond the minimum, the report says, would mean merging Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire (= Dyfed), but it recognises that service delivery would be challenging.


There is growing speculation in the media about what the Williams Commission on the reorganisation of Welsh local government will say when it is published later today.

The BBC reckons that the report will recommend merging existing councils, rather than redrawing boundaries. It also believes that any mergers will take place within the boundaries of existing health authorities and police forces. Mergers should also not cross the borders of areas which qualify for EU aid, such as Blaenau Gwent, and those which don't, such as Monmouthshire.

Over on the IWA's website Jon Winterson Richards (a former Tory leader in Cardiff) argues that what we need is leadership, not reorganisation. He makes an interesting distinction between local government and what he believes we have now, which is local administration.

Widely expected is a recommendation that Carmarthenshire should merge with Pembrokeshire, taking two rotten councils into one new super rotten council.

The two neighbouring counties could hardly be more different, and stand by for howls of protest from our friends in the west who would really rather have nothing to do with Carmarthenshire. The feeling is mutual.

One horrible consequence of a new Sir Bengar or Carmbrokeshire would probably be a shot in the arm for the "Independents" on both sides of the county boundary. Left to their own devices, the Carmarthenshire Independents would probably be extinct within a decade.

Waiting for the Williams Commission is a bit like watching one of those films where someone has just stumbled into a dusty tomb and is about to open a box. The audience screams helplessly. "Don't open it, don't do it!"

Needless to say, the box is opened, sparking a new reign of terror by some mouldering old mummies.


Jac o' the North, said...

If the recommendations of the Williams Commission are constained by police forces, health boards and EU aid then it will come up with another dog's dinner.

Anonymous said...

Do we really need any councils at all?

Perhaps an administrative centre or two, one in the north, one in the south and perhaps one in the middle. But not much else.

After all, when did anyone ever need the council for anything other than 'administration'?

Emlyn Uwch Cych said...

Thinking somewhat out of the box, of Pembrokeshire's 60 Councillors, only 9 are women (15%), but 1 of whom serve on the 9 member Cabinet (11%).

In Sir Gâr, it's 19 out of 74 (26%), with a full 5 out of 10 (50%) in Cabinet.

On the surface, then, Carmarthenshire's democracy appears to have a far healthier gender balance; not just grey men from the backwoods.

Cneifiwr said...

Not just grey men from the backwoods, but grey women as well!

Emlyn Uwch Cych said...

Re Update: And they think that service delivery will be less of a challenge for the Caldey to Dyfi Cardibroke / Penidigion Council?!

At least Ceredigion is functional as an LA, at the moment. Pembs seems to be a train wreck.

m1books said...

Lots of exciting opportunities on the horizon for Crapita then? All those cosy partnership arrangements as their little PR piece in the W.Mail outlines...

Jac o' the North, said...

The fact that Sir Gar is left standing alone might mean that there are other plans for the county. Special Measures, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

That would be marvellous Jac of the North.Bring it on.

Anonymous said...

This is such a funny post! The seriousness has been lost on me as I'm laughing so much - you're SO rude - I love it!

Anonymous said...

I am so depressed and angry with the majority of Cllrs and Executives that I have lost my mind! I used to be a rational thinker but all I can think of right now is that if a merger gets rid of Carms CEO, various Cllrs and their cronies then the sooner this happens the better.

Anonymous said...

Scary pics Cneifiwr! I have just printed them off and put them on the mantelpiece to prevent the kids from going near the fire.

Anonymous said...

I see on the South Wales Guardian that Kevin Madge
Is delighted that Carmarthenshire will avoid mergers.No
Wonder he is so happy the Carmarthen Gravy Train rolls