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STREAMLINING OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT PLANS ANNOUNCED

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A radical streamlining of the plans and strategies that local authorities in Wales have to produce was announced to...
A radical streamlining of the plans and strategies that local authorities in Wales have to produce was announced today by local government minister Sue Essex.

She said: 'The Assembly government is committed to getting resources to front line services and ensuring that administrative processes are focused on what is absolutely necessary.

'The current system costs a considerable amount of time and money that could be better spent on actual delivery.

'Local authorities must currently prepare and submit over 25 plans. While this provides limited evidence of local authorities' commitments and intentions, it says nothing about delivery and does not support our commitment to delivering front line services.

'We will therefore consult on removing all of the current requirements, except for a handful of high-level and long-term strategies. Local authorities will be free to plan their work in the way that best meets the needs and priorities of those they serve.

'That is part of our wider programme of public service reform, and of focusing efforts on results not processes, and on delivery, not bureaucracy. For instance, we have already concluded policy agreements with all Welsh local authorities, setting out clearly what they aim to achieve over the next three years. And, we have work in hand to overhaul performance measurement in local government and make it more transparent.

'Overall, this will mean better services delivered by more accountable local government. What local authorities are trying to achieve, and how well they are doing, will become clearer. That in turn will make it easier for citizens to engage with and influence those who serve them.'

Notes

The Assembly Government currently requires Welsh local authorities to prepare and, in some cases, submit for approval a number of plans and strategies. The Assembly Government has been working since last spring with local authorities, their auditors and others to rationalise these requirements.

In many cases, lifting plan requirements will require legislation, either in the Assembly or at Westminster. Completing the process will therefore take several years, although some requirements can and will be lifted in the near future.

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