Mark Drakeford, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government
Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport
On 18 July 2017, the Welsh Government set out proposals to secure resilience and renewal in local government in Wales following a consultation on the Reforming Local Government White Paper.
The White Paper included specific proposals about partnership arrangements for Bridgend Council to ensure public sector partners retain the advantages of coterminosity between local government and health board boundaries.
Bridgend Council currently works in partnership on two strategic and overlapping footprints. These have been determined in part by health board boundaries and in part by patterns of economic activity or historic alignment. This situation has been recognised as challenging for the local authority.
To ensure clarity and consistency in arrangements – and to ensure these arrangements are coherent within the broader local government reform programme – the Welsh Government proposes that decisions about health provision across the Bridgend Council footprint should be made by Cwm Taf University Health Board instead of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.
This health board boundary change would align Bridgend Council more firmly with its strategic partnership arrangements for other local authority functions, including participation in the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal.
This proposal is intended to produce clearer governance and decision-making arrangements for partnership working.
We have been in discussion with the leadership of Bridgend Council, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Cwm Taf university health boards over the summer about the proposal and recognise the valuable work undertaken by dedicated public service staff in the health boards and the local authority. The health boards and Bridgend Council have indicated that certainty about the intention to change the boundary is in the best interests of the public and staff and are committed to engaging effectively with the public, trade unions and staff during the consultation period and beyond.
Following these productive discussions, it is our intention to issue a formal 12-week consultation about the principle of a boundary change this autumn. The consultation will include consideration of regulations made under the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 to ensure that regional partnership boards and safeguarding boards reflect the proposed health board boundary change.
Significant work has been undertaken as part of the South Wales Programme to determine the effective provision of certain emergency and hospital-based services across health boards in South Wales. Any health board boundary change as a result of this consultation will not re-open those decisions.
We are grateful to the leaders of Bridgend Council, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Cwm Taf university health boards for their engagement and commitment. We will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure all aspects of the proposal are properly and openly explored.