Posted: Sat 31st Oct 2020

New national measures could see delegated powers to councils for ‘slicker, quicker, more effective’ pandemic responses

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Oct 31st, 2020

Local councils could get more delegated powers to deal with the pandemic as part of new national measures to be announced next week.

People familiar with such consultations over the last few days have told Wrexham.com there could be a greater onus on local authorities to make decisions, enact measures and deliver more localised responses if the ideas floated make the final version of what is announced on Monday.

This afternoon we asked First Minister Mark Drakeford if that was correct and if so, what such a process could look like and why it was needed.

We also asked if this was Welsh Government ‘passing the buck’ to local councils.

The First Minister told Wrexham.com: “First of all, the decision isn’t made, but it’s being debated and discussed.

“We are going for a national scheme from the 9th of November, but that you can’t rule out that a local flare up of a sort may still happen to be going right back to the almost the beginning of this latest phase, we had an outbreak of the Two Sisters plant in Llangefni in Ynys Môn where we needed local action to be taken.

“The debate has been this, at the moment quite a lot of powers to take those local decisions are handled here by Welsh Ministers. So local teams meet, they make a recommendation to us and then we use the powers we have.

“There are some pluses to that, because it tends to mean that more consistent decisions are made in different parts of Wales, because all the decisions come from one central point. On the other hand, it could slow the decisions down. The local stakeholders meet, they decide on what’s needed, and then they refer it here.”

“So it would make for a slicker, quicker, more effective system if we just delegated some of those powers to those local teams and allowed them to get on with it.”

“I think you can make a case either way, and that’s why we are still discussing it with Public Health Wales, local authorities and others.”

“I don’t think it’s to do with trying to dump difficult decisions into other people’s laps. It is just about trying to work out what is the most effective way you can get local responses to happen when they need it.”

The new national coronavirus regulations will be announced on Monday.

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