Headlines: January 31st, 2007



Consultations have begun in Wales on plans for the first phase of Local Service Boards, which will be leadership teams bringing together representatives of local government, health services, the police and voluntary bodies as well as the private sector. At the same time the Welsh Assembly Government is asking for applications from partnerships wishing to run projects to develop the new Local Service Agreement model.

The consultation is on the plan to introduce Local Service Boards across Wales in the next financial year in line with ‘Making the Connections: Delivering Beyond Boundaries’, which was the Assembly Government’s response to the Beecham report review of public service delivery across Wales. The Welsh Local Government Association, the voluntary sector and the Welsh NHS Confederation have been involved in formulating the proposals, which consider the shape and function of the new board model, as well as governance and scrutiny arrangements.

The consultation document is asking for views on how to balance the need to engage a range of stakeholders, including residents and staff, with the need for action. The plans do not prescribe the details of how the system should work. Instead they challenge Local Strategic Partnerships to develop arrangements fit for purpose and to deliver against the Beecham challenge.

The document makes it clear that Local Service Boards are not new organisations, but local leadership teams that will pull together partners to agree joint actions to bring about better outcomes for local people. The idea is to strengthen local public service leadership to deal with challenges from a citizen, not a sector, perspective. They will work on critical issues that go beyond the scope of individual organisations and ensure collective leadership across service boundaries. They will not oversee any individual service.

Sue Essex, Assembly Minister for Finance, Local Government and Public Services, said the Local Service Board model was being developed in a new way, concentrating on outcomes and encouraging local partners to design structures and processes that fitted the problems they were trying to solve.