Welsh Conservative Debate on Public Bodies PDF Print E-mail

23.04.11

 

The UK Coalition Government inherited the largest structural deficit in the developed world.

The difficult economic climate highlights the importance of public bodies acting in a manner which ensures best possible value for money.

We must commend those councils and other public bodies which lead the way in delivering value for tax payers money –

 

  • Whilst condemning those where dogma and self interest are allowed to take precedence.

 

It is now two years since the Wales Council for Voluntary Action and partner Organisations highlighted the need to involve the voluntary sector in the development of primary care services across Wales –

  • With co-design and co-delivery, allowing the independent sector to deliver public services that put people and communities - rather than service delivers - at the centre, reducing demand on other services.

They feared that the move to community care would be more expensive when it needn’t be if we changed the way we do things.

 

Effective public bodies are not there to deliver every public service, but to ensure that better public services are delivered– giving power to the people working on the front line, the people who know best can benefit the most vulnerable, provide best value and turn the power thing upside down.

 

However, at a seminar on reforming Social Care in the Assembly in February, we heard Voluntary sector representatives state “Local Community groups, at the hub of huge swathes of informal care, have been marginalised by a targets culture that expects its world to speak its political language and satisfy its obscure bureaucracy”.

 

As a process of real community engagement, participatory budgeting is a highly efficient community empowerment process.

 

The Wales Participatory Budgeting Unit is already having success in parts of Wales as a Social Enterprise which directly involves local people in making decisions on spending priorities.

 When they ran workshops on how Participatory Budgeting could work in respite care for carers 15 Local Authorities and Disability Wales were impressed by the practicality and feasibility of the processes – and by how much money was saved by providing user-determined outcomes.

Local Area Co-ordination and Asset Based Community Development are about supporting vulnerable people, strengthening local communities supporting people to have greater choice and control and reforming services to make them more personal, flexible, accountable and efficient.

 

Only last week, Monmouthshire County Council hosted a seminar on Local Area Co-ordination – investing in prevention of problems rather than crisis support.

 

Welsh Conservative Monmouthshire also publishes all expenditure  over £1.

 

We believe that local Government should be transparent and accountable to the people it represents.

 

Remarkably, Labour’s Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant describes the process as “onerous”.  

 

The last time this Minister’s Local Party ran Flintshire County Council:

 

  • An investigation by external auditors into Flintshire’s Housing Maintenance Department found “dozens of crucial documents were missing….Jobs were awarded without tender, without evidence they were value for money”.
  • An Employment Tribunal unanimously decided that Flintshire County Council’s Internal Audit Manager was unfairly dismissed because of the investigations into malpractice he was blocked from carrying out.
  • And this legally binding Tribunal decision found “there had been positive falsification of documentation on the so-called “ultra virus” case. “Ultra Virus” means an abuse of power – yet the then Labour Minister granted a special dispensation to wright off the ultra virus amount. No politician has ever been held to account.

 

No area reaches communities and targets poverty like housing does – but, oddly, when Flintshire Council tenants voted on stock transfer in a ballot funded by the Welsh Labour Government to achieve the Welsh Labour Government’s Welsh Housing Quality Standard, the No Campaign was coordinated by the local Labour Party-

 

-more interested in controlling people than putting people in control.

 

 

As former Council officers now working in stock transfer associations subsequently asked me : “are they serious about sustainable communities?”

 

Last month the Welsh Labour Government’s Housing Minister told Committee Flintshire was now one of just three Local Authorities that doesn’t now have a way forward no achieve the Welsh Housing Quality Standard.  

 

 

A Flintshire Company reviewing value for money within the public sector has saved Millions for Health and Social Services Commissioners in North West England, but advises that Welsh Commissioners are paying more.

 

However, they are now working with Flintshire Children’s Services, tackling an expensive and protected market place.

 

 

By getting out of the way and letting citizens and communities run their own affairs, we can restore civic pride, democratic accountability and economic growth, and build a stronger, fairer Wales in a stronger, fairer Britain.

 

 

 

Promoted by Mark Isherwood AM at National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

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