Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Local Government and Government Business
Today, I have published the third edition of an annual compendium providing key statistics for the Regional Collaborative Areas.
Public service reform underpins the vision set out in our Programme for Government for a fairer and more prosperous Wales.
Much of the evidence about what works in improving services, supports the view greater regional and national collaboration helps to deliver better services. The Welsh Government set out a geographical footprint for regional collaborative activity across public services in 2011, aligning Local Authority and regional boundaries with other public services such as health and policing.
Standardising on this common set of geographical boundaries and regional arrangements, supports delivery by promoting stronger governance and accountability. This approach puts collaboration on a more stable, long-term footing so partners can get on with the job of joining up services to meet the needs of people and communities across Wales.
The publication I have issued today is the latest in a series of reports which bring together information about public services in Wales. This will help the public and others acting on their behalf, to understand and scrutinise the performance of public services.
This latest report provides an analysis of each of the six Regional Collaborative Areas and sits alongside the Local Authority Services Performance publication which I issued in January. It presents a comparison within each regional area and across the six areas. It includes a range of information reflecting the demographic, economic and social characteristics of these areas.
Since the previous version of this publication was produced, the Report of the Commission on Public Service Governance and Delivery has been published. The Commission’s Report underlined the importance of embedding the collaborative agenda and reinforced the case for collaboration at a regional level.
The collaborative footprint areas covered by this publication continue to serve an important purpose whilst we are formulating our response to the Commission’s Report. As I have consistently stated, I do not expect Local Authorities to use the Commission’s Report as an excuse to slow down or stop work to improve public services in their area, whilst the work to formulate our response, or to put it into effect, is being taken forward. The challenges facing public services in Wales which led us to set out the regional footprint exist in the here and now and are not going to go away. The future of public services in Wales will be shaped by our response to the Commission’s Report, however, the efforts to shape the future do not diminish the need to develop more effective approaches to the delivery of services today.
The publication, a Comparison of the Regional Collaborative Areas 2014, can be found online.