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A report released today by the Williams Commission recommends that Wrexham and Flintshire Councils merge together to create one authority.

The recommendation comes after an examination into ‘all aspects of governance and delivery in the devolved public sector in Wales’.

It is proposed in the 105 page report that Welsh Councils merge to create 10, 11 or 12 local authorities, rather than the current 22. A decision regarding these changes must be decided by Easter 2014 at the latest.

The report states that: “Change must be implemented quickly and decisively, with full commitment and strong leadership at all levels. Current structures are simply not sustainable, and the choice is between allowing them to decline further or of reforming them now.”

The Williams Report itself has looked into all aspects of the public service provision in Wales under five themes. These include complexity; scale and capability’ governance, scrutiny and delivery, leadership and culture; and performance and performance management.

The report states: “We have developed several options for such changes, which we set out in detail in our full report. In essence, though, we have applied our criteria and concluded that, as a
minimum, the following local authorities should merge:

- Isle of Anglesey and Gwynedd;
- Conwy and Denbighshire;
- Flintshire and Wrexham;
- Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire;
- Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend;
- Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil;
- Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan;
- Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly and Torfaen; and
- Monmouthshire and Newport.

With Carmarthenshire, Powys and Swansea unchanged, this would yield 12 authorities. We believe this represents the minimum viable level of change.”

However it is also recommended that the new Councils should be within the current health and police force areas. Alongside this it is recommended that there is more scrutiny of the performance of Wales’s three fire and rescue authorities and that Community Health Councils “work with other scrutiny and regulatory bodies to bring patients’ concerns to bear, and thus strengthen rather than duplicate those mechanisms.”

The report also recommends that National Park authorities must collaborate with each other more and that Town and Community Councils are also merged.

The full Williams Commission Report can be found here.

What do you think about the possible Wrexham / Flintshire Council merger? There is a discussion on our forums