Friday, 13 November 2009

Assembly and local government sign up to a New Understanding

The Welsh Assembly Government and local government have reached a new understanding about the relationship between central and local government in Wales.

Local Government Minister, Dr Brian Gibbons and the Leader of the Welsh Local Government Association, John Davies signed the agreement before the meeting of the Partnership Council in the Senedd yesterday (12 November).

A New Understanding outlines the roles and responsibilities of the Assembly Government and local government. It recognises the need for national leadership as well as the importance of local freedom and flexibility in service delivery. A constructive relationship is essential to underpin the delivery of the Government’s strategic aims, together with supporting authorities to deliver excellent local services that meet the needs and aspirations of local people and their communities.

Dr Brian Gibbons said

“The Assembly Government recognises that a constructive relationship with local government is essential to delivering better local services to citizens and communities.

"Working together is already a strength in the way that local and the Assembly Government works in Wales but we need to continue to improve these links so that we maximise the benefits to citizens.

"This agreement marks a significant step forward in the relationship between the Assembly Government and local government. It will allow authorities that demonstrate they can deliver agreed outcomes to operate with less central control and direction over how they use funding.

"Working together we can make services better as well as improving our relationship: simplifying how we work together; providing more clarity and leadership; and cementing our mutual commitment to make Wales a better place for our citizens."

WLGA Leader, Councillor John Davies said

“Today’s agreement is the culmination of productive discussions between local government and the Welsh Assembly Government around the need to codify central local relations in Wales and focus our resources in new and innovative ways to produce the type of outcomes which Welsh citizens desire within a difficult financial climate.

"Devolution has brought with it many changes, both centrally and locally and it is vital that a revised relationship is registered at this stage based on mutual respect and partnership and which has clearly defined working boundaries to ensure that central and local government work together in the best way for the people of Wales. This is especially important as the public sector in Wales enters into a considerably challenging period and with communities wanting to see a concerted effort from all tiers of elected government to mitigate the impact of the recession.

"The New Understanding agreement signals the start of a new era for local and central relations in Wales. It represents a shift towards tangible outcomes based on delivery thus reducing bureaucracy and central control and thereby freeing up local authorities and their partners to get on with the job."


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