Carl Sargeant, Minister for Local Government and Communities
The first meeting of the reformed Partnership Council for Wales (PCfW) took place on 24 October 2012. The agenda and papers are available on the Welsh Government website. Following a review of the PCfW during 2011, the PCfW agreed that some elements of its membership and operation should be reformed. The membership now brings together the wider public services and includes representation from local authorities, police, fire, community councils and for the first time health. The formal meetings have been reduced to one annual meeting in early autumn, but a sub group has been established to oversee reform in particular, which will be able to meet more frequently and at shorter notice if necessary. This will be known as the Reform Delivery Group. The financial structures under the PCfW have also been streamlined to provide a more focussed and ‘value added’ relationship between the Welsh Government and local government.
The membership of the expanded PCfW is as follows:
- First Minister
- Minister for Local Government and Communities (Chair)
- Minister for Finance and Leader of the House
- Counsel General
- Minister for Education and Skills
- Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development
- Minister for Health and Social Services
- Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science
- Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage
- Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and European Programmes
- Deputy Minister for Skills
- Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services
- Cllr Bob Wellington (Local Government representative for the Gwent area)
- Cllr Anthony Christopher (Local Government representative for the Cwm Taf area)
- Cllr Neil Moore (Local Government representative for the Cardiff & Vale area)
- Cllr Ali Thomas (Local Government representative for the Western Bay area)
- Cllr Jamie Adams (Local Government representative for the Mid & West area)
- Cllr Dilwyn Roberts (Local Government representative for the North area)
- Cllr Mel Nott (WLGA Presiding Officer)
- Cllr Aaron Shotton (WLGA Spokesperson for Finance and Resources)
- Cllr Tudor Davies (representing the Fire and Rescue Authorities)
- Cllr Gwyn Hopkins (representing the Police Authorities)
- Mr Chris Martin (representing the Local Health Boards and NHS Trusts)
- Cllr Mair Stephens (representing the community councils)
- Cllr E. Caerwyn Roberts (representing the National Park authorities)
In addition, key public service partners – the Wales Audit Office; Welsh Local Government Association; Wales TUC and the Wales Council for Voluntary Action may now attend the meetings as observers.
The key responsibilities Partnership Council for Wales are:
- encouraging dialogue between the Welsh Ministers and local government on matters affecting local government in Wales, in accordance with Sections 72 and 73 of the Government of Wales Act 2006; and
- providing collective political accountability for action to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of public services.
The PCfW will allow us to have the collective political discussions that will be needed in the coming years and will provide the forum to enable us to take some of the difficult decisions that will be required.
In accordance with section 73 of the Government of Wales Act 2006, Welsh Ministers are required to make a scheme setting out how they propose, in the exercise of their functions, to sustain and promote local government in Wales. Welsh Ministers are required to publish a report of how the proposals set out in the scheme were implemented in the previous financial year and to lay a copy of the report before the National Assembly for Wales.
I am pleased to present the Annual Report for 2011-12 to the National Assembly today. The report highlights many of the areas where public services are successfully working together.
As noted in the report, the current Local Government Partnership Scheme was published in 2008. I intend to remake the Local Government Scheme during this financial year so that it reflects the current policy position in relation to public services and mirrors the Programme for Government agenda. The remade scheme will take effect from April 2013, and a copy will be laid before the Assembly.