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Written Statement - Reforming Local Government White Paper: Consultation Summary Report

Leighton Andrews, Minister for Public Services

In July the Reforming Local Government White Paper was published which set out our proposals for the future shape of Local Government in Wales.  Members were updated about the consultation in an oral statement on 8 July and I am pleased today to publish a summary report of the responses to the consultation.

The Reforming Local Government White Paper set out our response to the findings of the Commission on Pubic Service Governance and Delivery and our proposals for the future shape of Local Government in Wales.  It outlined our ambitions for Local Government, one of strong performance, strong democracy, good governance and delivering for communities. It also set out the intention to introduce primary legislation into the Assembly early next year, which would enable voluntary early mergers and include provision to prepare the ground for remaining Local Authority mergers to be given effect through a second Bill to be introduced in 2016.

The consultation generated 170 responses from a range of stakeholders and members of the public. I am grateful to all those who took time to submit their views. Disappointingly only half of the 22 Principal Local Authorities responded to the consultation. The summary of responses together with the responses has been published on the Welsh Government’s website.

The Welsh Government is reflecting on all comments received in response to the consultation as part of the continued development of proposals for the reform of Local Government in Wales.  The responses informed the Public Service Staff Commission White Paper, published for consultation on 21 October.  The responses are also informing our further White Paper which will be published in the New Year.  This White Paper will set out the Welsh Government’s expectations for the overall role of local government, community governance, democracy, performance and improvement and finance. I will ensure Members are kept informed of progress on these matters and on the outcome of the invitation to Principal Local Authorities in Wales to submit proposals for voluntary merger.