Leighton Andrews, Minister for Public Services
In the Reforming Local Government White Paper the Welsh Government set out initial proposals for the reform of Local Government, including Local Government mergers. The Paper includes the Welsh Government’s ambitions for Local Government in Wales: Local Authorities which are responsive to local communities and focussed on high quality performance and service delivery. The consultation on these proposals closes on 1 October.
We indicated we would welcome proposals from Local Authorities wishing to merge voluntarily ahead of the main merger programme. Authorities whose voluntary merger proposal is taken forward will be fully up and running two years in advance of others and will therefore provide certainty for the public and their staff much earlier. They will lead and shape their own reform and realise the opportunities for efficiencies and transformation of services more quickly. Local Authorities will retain locally any savings generated by the voluntary merger process.
I am today issuing a prospectus setting out what the Welsh Government expects from those Local Authorities wishing to take advantage of early merger and what we will do to support them. Invitation to Principal Local Authorities in Wales to Submit Proposals for Voluntary Merger outlines the stages in the process, key dates and the types of support Local Authorities might find helpful.
The Welsh Government is committed to supporting Authorities who wish to merge early. This support will include making tailored use of existing funding streams and, whilst our own budget allocation beyond 2015-16 is as yet unknown, a commitment to identify appropriate financial resources to enable the early merger process.