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Monday, July 05, 2010

Putting who first?

Plaid Cymru AM, Nerys Evans' assertion in this morning's Western Mail that the Welsh Government's flagship Communities First anti-poverty programme should be scrapped if it does not shape up will certainly have many supporters around Wales.

The problem is that £214 million of public money has been spent without any clear outcomes and in some cases, with dubious lines of accountability. She is right that there needs to be a thorough evaluation but it is doubtful whether the Welsh Government is capable of carrying out that review with any degree of objectivity or of setting down adequate terms of reference for any independent arbiter.

That is not to say that we should abandon these communities. Instead the money and the responsibility for regeneration should be given to local Councils who are closer to the problem and better understand the solutions. Provided that they are set clear outcomes at which to aim then that must be a better way forward.

Dictating regeneration from the centre has not worked. It has led to a largely unfocussed and unwieldy programme that is failing to deliver results. It is not the role of government to micro-manage communities. It is time that Ministers faced up to that.
It's time you were in government.
Councils yes i think that great we can have carmarthenshire decide whether to build a new Football stadium lend a bankrupted rugby team money and then tell us they have a black hole of twenty eight million, funny thats the same money the rugby stadium cost, 800 jobs to go to save the money.

I'd not trust my council with my piggy bank.
not sure council's would be any better either...maybe get some good brains from the Uni's to run it.

Anyway Nerys evans would not be saying these comments if she lived in the valleys where Comm 1st are being applied... she represents the mid&west wales region and she is standing for carm w &s .pembs next time around....it's something she can say cus she dont live where it applies
1. Just how are councils "closer to the problem" than a locally-based partnership comprised of residents, voluntary groups and, more often than not, councillors and council representatives?

2. "Provided that they are set clear outcomes at which to aim then that must be a better way forward."
How will these outcomes be set if not accordingly to locally-identified need?
"Dictating regeneration" from above will hardly be an improvement.
Councils are made up of locally elected representatives at a community level who are much closer to the needs of these areas than Assembly Government officials. It is right that the residents and local organisations continue to lead these partnerships but they should be accountable locally not to a remote Minister in Cardiff. Also if Councils had the responsibility then a lot of duplication of effort would be cut out which would release money for the communities themselves. Outcomes would be based on locally identified need but the issue is that they are not there at present and are best set in partnership with locally elected individuals and their communities rather than imposed by the Welsh Government.
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