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New bill provides for regional approaches to development issues in Wales

Words: Roger Milne
Wales / iStock_000044372722

Welsh ministers have introduced legislation that includes measures giving local authorities the powers to apply to merge voluntarily as well as facilitating regional working in areas such as planning, economic development and transport through corporate joint committees.

The Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill would allow local authorities to request the creation of a corporate joint committee for any service they wish.

Ministers, though, will only be able to create a corporate joint committee in a limited number of functional areas set out in the bill.

These include strategic planning for the development and use of land and the function of preparing a strategic development plan, transport, and economic development.

“The aim is to reduce complexity for councils using different kinds of regional working arrangements, and to ensure that the decisions are made as close to the local people as is possible for effective and efficient democracy,” local government minister Julie James told AMs this week.

She said corporate joint committees would be  “an important tool for local government to use to support collaboration, transformation and the longer-term sustainability of public services”.

“They will be bodies corporate, formed from the membership of principal councils, established in statute and able to directly employ staff, hold assets and manage funding.”

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