Speaking at the Wales Local Government Association’s annual conference at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Plaid Cymru’s Sian Gwenllian AM set out four principles for effective local government reform.
Sian Gwenllian who is Plaid Cymru’s shadow local government minister said:
“Quality public services are central to the prosperity of our nation. They are the glue that binds our society together and the safety net that support the most vulnerable in our society.
“The future of those services are at risk and the seriousness of the challenges posed by austerity at a time when demographics are also changing cannot be overstated.
“A particular challenge also facing Wales in ensuring that public services are delivered at appropriate levels, to reduce complexity, and to ensure greater democracy, scrutiny and cooperation.
“That is why Plaid Cymru will hold four key central principles that need to be reserved at the front of our minds during the process of local government reform.
Firstly, effectiveness - one of the first questions that needs to be asked is, why are we reforming? The answer must always be to improve services for the citizens of Wales. Secondly, the Welsh language - strengthening public service delivery through the medium of Welsh must be considered as part of any reform. The third key principle is health -any reform of local government must include health. We need to move towards a system where public services truly puts the person at the center and eliminate the artificial walls between social services and health as part of that process. And finally, accountability - the importance of the connection between local democratically elected councilors and their constituents is one of the great strengths of our local democracy in Wales. Maintaining and strengthening local democracy is something we should not lose sight of. This has always been a bedrock of Plaid Cymru values.
“Plaid Cymru is pleased that the Welsh Government have now adopted Plaid Cymru’s proposals for local government reform, but we now hope that they will also adopt these defining principles during the upcoming process.
“The challenges are significant. But I am confident that through cooperation and robust scrutiny from Plaid Cymru, and the necessary political will and leadership from the Welsh Government - we can deliver reformed, robust and sustainable public services to meet the future needs of the people in Wales.”