Two Anglesey council commissioners to leave their posts

Anglesey council offices Commissioners were appointed to take over running the council last year

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Two commissioners appointed to run Anglesey council will leave their posts later this year, BBC Wales has learned.

Gareth Jones has been responsible for education and Margaret Foster has led social services since being appointed by the Welsh government in 2011.

Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant has said the Welsh government will withdraw from the council in 2013.

But a Welsh government spokesman denied that any decisions had been made on commissioners stepping down.

Mr Sargeant appointed five commissioners to run the troubled authority last year after what he has described as "chronic political infighting and misbehaviour".

Concerns about the social services department were highlighted last year by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW).

'Intervention'

It said that "there are serious failings regarding the safeguarding of children and consequently merits further inspection work".

Anglesey's education service was criticised last month in a hard hitting report by the education inspectorate Estyn.

It recommended the council's education service should be subject to direct intervention by the Welsh government.

Start Quote

All of the commissioners were appointed to address failings in the council's corporate governance, not to manage specific services... any changes would reflect a reduced role for commissioners in completing that task”

End Quote Welsh government

The council's former leader, Clive McGregor, said at the time of the education report that it may well be "another nail in the coffin for the future of the whole authority".

He added that if council members and not a commissioner had been in charge at the time of the Estyn report, the councillor responsible for the authority's education portfolio would have been obliged to resign.

Mr Sargeant has extended the commissioners' appointments to allow a senior management team to be put in place by September.

He will then look to "start to bring his intervention to an end" before the local elections next year, which will be held 12 months after the rest of Wales.

But a Welsh government spokesman insisted that no decisions on commissioners stepping down had been made yet.

"The minister for local government and communities announced in early May that he hoped to reduce his intervention in Anglesey council from this autumn if it continued to recover," said the spokesman.

"As part of that he said that it was unlikely that we would need five commissioners if the intervention reduced. That remains the case.

"No decisions have been made and no commissioners have stepped down.

"All of the commissioners were appointed to address failings in the council's corporate governance, not to manage specific services. Any changes would reflect a reduced role for commissioners in completing that task.

"The minister will make a further statement to the assembly after the summer recess."

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