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Monday, February 24, 2014

Denbighshire makes its views clear on council merger

Councillors in Denbighshire have met to discuss their response to the initial recommendations of the Williams Report.

The Commission on Public Service Governance and Delivery has recommended that Denbighshire County Council merges with Conwy County Borough Council

Councillors in Denbighshire agreed the following:

* Denbighshire would not pursue a voluntary merger option

* The council notes that enforced mergers will not happen before the next Welsh Government Elections in 2016, which realistically means that mergers are off the agenda for at least the next four to five years.

* It is urging the Welsh Government to respond positively and urgently to the report's recommendations on improving leadership and performance and simplifying funding arrangements in the public sector.

* Until any proposal for the future is agreed, the Council will concentrate its efforts on delivering its ambitious Corporate Plan and manage the cuts while maintaining priority services for residents.

Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, Leader of Denbighshire, said: "The Council has had time to consider carefully its response to the recommendations included in the report.

"The council has made its views known in the past that the public sector should concentrate its efforts on improving leadership, culture and performance rather than divert its attention to large scale reorganisation of public services. That view has not changed and whilst we will make our feelings known to the Welsh Government, only time will tell what the outcome will be."

Dr Mohammed Mehmet, Chief Executive of Denbighshire, said: "We have taken the decision not to merge voluntarily as we don't believe that large scale voluntary collaborations have worked in the past and there is no confidence that they will work in the future.

"There is a lot of uncertainty around whether these proposals will actually happen and if they will, when will the changes be implemented.  Such uncertainty is not good for the public sector and the time and effort involved in preparing for merger that may or may not happen would be much better directed to delivering our priorities.

"Our efforts continue to be focussed on providing the best services possible for the people of Denbighshire."

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