Speaking in Plenary, he said that while the Welsh Government values public services and will continue to invest in them, he will also challenge them to deliver for the people of Wales.
Carl Sargeant said,
“Our reform agenda is a practical programme of action to support the delivery of improved services in a challenging financial context.
“To provide clarity around how public services should collaborate I have set out the footprint for service delivery. I expect this footprint to be the basis for future collaborative work between public services.
“The footprint provides coherence for future regional collaboration across public services and gives the clarity that local government itself has quite rightly called for.
“If small is beautiful in democratic terms, it presents risks to performance where small organisations have limited capacity to tackle strategic challenges. Collaboration is vital to improvement and that is why I am reforming the Partnership Council and challenging it to provide active political leadership for public service improvement.
“The Council will be a key partner in holding local government accountable for progress. As part of ensuring delivery there will be a Compact with local government making it crystal clear what is to be done, by whom and by when.
“I also want to see local elected Members championing the needs of their communities and holding managers accountable for their effectiveness in meeting those needs. It is the job of local Members to scrutinise those arrangements, however they are provided and the footprint in no way cuts across this.
“Alongside good political leadership we must have effective executive leadership, translating political will into delivery. The new Public Services Leadership Group, whose members lead many of the largest public service organisations in Wales, will be crucial in ensuring that the benefits of change are felt across Wales.
“This Welsh Government is committed to support Welsh public services in improving delivery and reducing cost. While we will continue to value public services, we will also continue to challenge them to raise performance, and to demonstrate how they are contributing to the economic prosperity and social wellbeing of everyone in Wales.”