The work of the Local Government Reform Working Group, chaired by Derek Vaughan, concluded in May 2019. The Working Group included the Minister for Housing and Local Government, WLGA lead members and representatives from the unions, third and business sector.
Through the Reform Working Group, WLGA and Welsh Government have agreed:
- a renewed commitment to partnership governance, dialogue and engagement
- a commitment to a revised approach to early dialogue and engagement around finances, including a new framework to outline mechanisms and expectations
- developed and agreed a framework of ‘Collaboration Principles’
- a draft Prospectus for Voluntary Mergers
Through the Working Group, the WLGA has undertaken a stock-take of collaboration and has produced a ‘Collaboration Compendium’ detailing the extensive range of existing service collaborations between authorities. WLGA members have agreed that this document will be updated regularly and that each council will consider it each year to regular review and consider new collaborative arrangements.
The WLGA has also agreed to develop a ‘Code of Collaborative Practice’ to promote good collaborative governance during 2019-20.
Through the Working Group, the Minister for Housing and Local Government agreed to establish a Welsh Government / WLGA Joint Review of Strategic Partnerships and a commitment to re-establish sector-led improvement support within WLGA during 2019-20.
The Working Group deliberatively did not produce a ‘final report’, as the group sought to progress work as and when actions were agreed. The Group did however produce a report of activity which included several recommendations for future work.
A new Reform Sub-Group of the Partnership Council has been established, which includes the Minister for Housing and Local Government and WLGA lead members, to maintain dialogue and progress around the reform agenda including the development of Statutory Joint Committees.
Statutory Joint Committees
In May 2019, the Welsh Government outlined proposals for a new collaborative model of governance or Statutory Joint Committees, which it intends to include in the forthcoming Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill.
Leaders will discuss the development of the model during the Summer, through the new Reform Sub Group supported by an officer Task and Finish Group including representatives from SOLACE, Society of Welsh Treasurers and Lawyers in Local Government.