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Written Statement - The Welsh Government Grant to the Welsh Local Government Association for Improvement Services

Leighton Andrews AM, Minister for Public Services

On 10 November, I wrote to Councillor Bob Wellington, Leader of the Welsh Local Government Association, to inform him of my decision to discontinue the grant the Welsh Government pays to the Association to provide improvement support to Local Authorities in Wales from April 2015.  This year, the grant is a maximum of £1.62 million.

It is right that we regularly review grant arrangements to all organisations particularly in a time when we have to prioritise our resources very carefully. 

The WLGA has frequently pressed the Welsh Government to review whether individual grants are an appropriate form of funding activities, or whether monies would be better utilised by being rolled into the Local Government Settlement.

I have not taken this decision lightly.  I considered a number of options and concluded this funding would be better directed towards activities which are more clearly aligned to our ambitions for the reform of public services in Wales.

It might be that the WLGA itself, and its member organisations, should reflect on whether it is right for a membership organisation to receive more than 75% of its income from the Welsh Government.
 
I will shortly be inviting Cabinet colleagues to review whether the range of current grants  they provide to the WLGA,  which may have grown up over several years, remain appropriate, or whether there may be alternative arrangements which could produce better outcomes for public service delivery    
 
I recognise the implications of this decision for the WLGA and I also recognise that good work has been done in the past to support improvement within local authorities.  My decision is a reflection that the scale of our ambitions for the future will require a very different kind of support.

I have discussed my decision with the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty who will consider how she wishes to provide support for equalities issues in local government within her portfolio.