Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

Local government: Time for a change?

Published

on

A GOVERNMENT White Paper released on Tuesday set out plans for a massive re-organisation in Local Government, and paved

Leighton Andrews AM: Spoke of need to recast the relationship between National and Local Government’.

Leighton Andrews AM: Spoke of need to recast the relationship between
National and Local Government’.

the way for increased Welsh Government involvement at a local level.

In the foreword to this paper, Leighton Andrews AM spoke of the need to recast the relationship between National and Local Government in Wales’.

A series of mergers is planned between county councils, some of which will be voluntary. The salaries of executives and councillors will also come under scrutiny and the Welsh Government will have greater powers to audit County Councils.

These mergers will be overseen by a national Statutory Public Services Staff Commission, which will play a major role in overseeing the transfer of staff between authorities, as well as playing a role in the recruitment and remuneration for senior positions in those authorities. The Welsh Government paper claims that this is necessary in order to ‘build an engaged, motivated, and high performing workforce’.

Certain services will be subject to what the paper describes as ‘a clearly defined leadership role for the Welsh Government’, leaving Local Government to ‘determine local priorities’. This will lead to greater involvement by the Welsh Government in education, social services, economic development, and the environment. It is unclear how this will affect budget provision for Local Councils.

Significant alterations are planned to the structure of Local Councils. The report questions both the number of directors and the salaries that they command. It also recommends that some cabinet positions become part-time. Also under consideration is the £13,000 annual salary paid to Councillors for a three day week. The report claims that this figure ‘is a significant extra income’ to people of retirement age, which ‘may help explain the over-representation of councillors over 60. On the other hand, it may only partially compensate someone whose ordinary job is higher paid, or disadvantage a single parent with a part-time job by moving them into a higher tax bracket’.

This announcement comes at the same time that a proposed £10,000 salary increase for AMs is under consultation.

The Paper also criticises the induction and training received by Leaders and Cabinet Members, describing it as ‘patchy and inconsistent at best’. A development scheme is recommended for all new and existing Council Leaders, potential Cabinet Members, and Leaders of the Opposition. This scheme will be run by the Welsh Government’s Public Service Academy.

Fixed terms of office will be introduced. A councillor will only be able to serve for five five-year terms, while Cabinet members may only serve two consecutive terms. While the paper claims that this will lead to more competitive elections and a more diverse pool of candidates, it has yet to be considered at Assembly or National level. The Chief Executive, an appointed rather than elected position, would also be subject to a maximum term.

The role played by Community Councils is set to increase. However, many smaller Community Councils could be forced to merge. These councils would then have to pass a number of ‘competency tests’. For example, two-thirds of the councillors must have been declared elected, and the minimum annual budget must be £200,000. Community Councils declared competent will ‘acquire a number of privileges over other Community Councils, including being able to raise money by charging for discretionary services’.

Community Councils will also be encouraged to work in conjunction with public services and volunteer groups. Land and leisure facilities currently under Local Authority control will in some cases be transferred to these groups in a return to the ‘cooperative’ methods currently being reintroduced in areas of London and other major cities.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

News

Pembroke Dock: Two in hospital following Fort Road car accident

Published

on

EMERGENCY SERVICES dealt with what has been described by a witness as a “horrific car accident” in the Pembroke Dock area on Wednesday night (Jun 12).

A 23-year-old woman, driving a black BMW, travelled down Fort Road at speed, hit a low wall, catapulting the vehicle some considerable distance across a picnic area. The vehicle ended up irreparably damaged on the beach – which was luckily not in use at the time – landing next to the old Cambridge Gun Tower.

No other vehicles seem to have been involved, police said.

The driver has been arrested but remains in hospital, one passenger is in a critical but stable condition, in Cardiff, and a second passenger sustained only minor injuries.

A spokesperson for Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called at 10.45pm on Wednesday night (Jun 23), to reports of a road traffic accident near the Fort Road car park in Pembroke Dock.

“We attended the scene with one rapid response vehicle, two emergency ambulances and our Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service.

“Two people were taken to University Hospital Wales, Cardiff for further treatment.”

The police are appealing in the media for information following the crash.

An official statement from the police reads as follows: “We were called to Fort Road, Pembroke Dock, at around 10.45pm on Wednesday night to reports of a single-vehicle collision. Ambulance and fire service also attended.

“A 19-year-old man was taken to the Heath Hospital in Cardiff and remains in a critical but stable condition.

“A second passenger attended hospital for minor injuries but has since been discharged. A 23-year-old woman was arrested, and currently remains in hospital.

“Anyone who witnessed the collision but who has not yet spoken to us should get in touch by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, visiting our website, or calling 101.

UPDATE: 24.06.2021, 15:47HRS

On Thursday (Jun 24) said that the female who was arrested was de-arrested because of the need for medical treatment, and is “no longer under arrest at this time.”

The police also added that their investigation was “still active”.

Continue Reading

News

Pembrokeshire call handler helps deliver Llanelli couple’s new baby

Published

on

A 999 CALL HANDLER from Pembrokeshire has helped deliver a Llanelli couple’s baby.

Father-of-two Chris Bassett, from Hook, answered the call from the Trust’s Clinical Contact Centre in Carmarthen, and whose instructions on loudspeaker enabled the pair to deliver their 8lb 1oz new arrival safely.

Thanks to Chris, Troy Smith, 34, and partner Abigail Jones, 33, delivered baby Arabella Dilys Smith in the bedroom of their Llanelli home.

Troy said: “I’ve never felt adrenaline like it but I knew I had to focus on the situation for Abigail and the baby’s sake.

“It all happened so quickly, but Chris’ voice on the other end of the phone kept us calm.”

Abigail, a teacher at Ysgol Carreg Hir in Briton Ferry, went into labour at around 10.00pm on Thursday, June 3, and made a trip to hospital, where nurses confirmed she was in the early stages.

The couple returned to their Pwll home, but their soon-to-be daughter had other ideas.

Troy said: “At around 4.30am, Abigail developed a lot of pain and said she had an urge to push.

“I thought, ‘Right, this is happening’ and phoned an ambulance because I knew I’d be delivering the baby right there and then.”

It was Chris, a former RAF Aerospace Systems Operator, who picked up the call in the early hours of Friday, June 4.

The 29-year-old, who has been with the Welsh Ambulance Service for 18 months, said: “As soon as I answered the call, it was obvious that Troy and Abigail were in distress, as anyone would be in that situation.

“The priority was to get Abigail in a comfortable position to deliver the baby safely.

“For me, it was about giving them clear instructions while trying to keep them both calm.”

Troy added: “I just did what came naturally. When you’re in that situation, you just do it.

“As soon as Arabella came, I felt this wave of relief and I just couldn’t believe how gorgeous she was.

“Chris was so professional and handled the situation really well.

“He gave us all the information and kept us calm.”

Ambulance crews arrived soon after, and took Abigail to Carmarthen’s Glangwili General Hospital, where she was treated for shock before being discharged the following day.

Abigail said: “The whole thing was petrifying because I just never expected to be having the baby at home, but we’re so grateful to Chris for helping us to deliver Arabella safely.”

Chris added: “In your role as a 999 call handler, you’re helping people in their darkest hour, but I’m just glad this call had a happy ending.

“This is the third baby I’ve helped to deliver during my time at the ambulance service, but the first one I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.”

Continue Reading

News

Covid causes partial school closure at Haverfordwest High VC

Published

on

A PARTIAL school closure is in force today at Haverfordwest High VC school after a pupil in year 9 has tested positive for coronavirus.

All students in year 9 must stay at home , isolate and await further instruction while the school completes all of the necessary Track and Trace processes.

In a statement released by the school, they said: “We have been informed that a Year 9 pupil has tested positive for COVID-19.

“We wish them a speedy recovery.

“As a precautionary measure and to enable us to complete all of the necessary Track and Trace processes, the school will be closed to Year 9 Pupils today.

“The school remains open to all other year groups.

“Until further notice, Year 9 students should stay at home and isolate until further instructions are given. Lessons for all other year groups will continue as usual. Unless your child is in Year 9 they should attend school.”

Continue Reading
News9 hours ago

Pembroke Dock: Two in hospital following Fort Road car accident

EMERGENCY SERVICES dealt with what has been described by a witness as a “horrific car accident” in the Pembroke Dock...

News1 day ago

Two years jail for violent attack at Withybush Industrial Estate

A MAN who sent threatening messages and photos of knives before launching a violent attack has been jailed for over...

News2 days ago

Three kayakers assisted by St Davids inshore lifeboat crew

WHILST on exercise, Tuesday (June 22), St Davids In-shore Lifeboat was tasked by the coastguard at 3:15pm to assist three...

Business2 days ago

Green hydrogen electrolyser and car refueler arrive at Milford Waterfront

PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL says it is leading the way in renewable energy with a collaborative £4.5 million project exploring the vital...

News2 days ago

Council’s building maintenance teams to resume non-emergency responsive repairs

THE HOUSING Building Maintenance teams within Pembrokeshire County Council are now able to re-commence non-emergency responsive repairs to customers’ homes...

News3 days ago

NHS Wales announce first and second dose vaccination walk-in clinics

HYWEL DDA UHB is running walk-in vaccination clinics this week. There is no need to contact the health board to...

News3 days ago

Residents urged to be alert to Covid-19 symptoms following cluster of cases

PUBLIC HEALTH WALES, Pembrokeshire County Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board are urging members of the public to be...

News3 days ago

Paul Davies submits views to Health Board Consultation

Senedd Member Paul Davies has fed his views into Hywel Dda University Health Board’s consultation, “Building a Healthier Future after...

News4 days ago

Reminder from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to pre-book for attractions

MEMBERS of the public are being reminded to pre-book their entry tickets before visiting two popular National Park Authority-run attractions....

News4 days ago

Haverfordwest and Cardigan high streets listed as among the ten worst in Britain

TWO west Wales high streets have been listed in a UK wide report detailing Britain’s worst high streets. In the...

Popular This Week