North West Wales

Plans to remove Anglesey council commissioners revealed

Anglesey council offices
Image caption Political infighting at the council led the Welsh government to impose commissioners to run it

Commissioners appointed to run Anglesey council will be replaced by a senior management team after concluding there are "no longer any serious risks".

Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant appointed five commissioners to run the troubled authority last year.

He is extending their appointments to allow a senior management team to be in place by September.

If satisfied councillors and managers can take charge, he will "start to bring his intervention to an end".

The commissioners were appointed after what Mr Sargeant has described as "chronic political infighting and misbehaviour".

They were initially in place until the end of this month.

However, they will remain until the end of September 2012, to allow a senior management team to be appointed.

Mr Sargeant acknowledged the council was making "good progress".

He added: "My commissioners have concluded that while there remain some concerns about the council's governance, there are no longer any serious risks.

"The Auditor General has reached a similar view, and recommended that I should begin planning how to end my intervention.

"Whilst I agree with and accept the views of both I am not yet convinced that the council is able to fulfil it alone.

"I have said before that the recovery will not be complete until we have renewed democracy on the island, and until elections take place on terms which are more likely to yield a representative and accountable council. That cannot happen until next year.

"The council also needs to finish recruiting a new and strengthened senior management team to bring stability, capacity and expertise; and to tackle some intractable problems of service delivery."

Senior team

He said there had been a "high level of interest from some highly-qualified and well-regarded public servants", but could not be sure "the recovery will be sustained" until the team was in place.

Commissioners will remain in place until the senior team is appointed.

Then, if satisfied that councillors and the senior team are ready to take charge, he will start to bring his intervention to an end.

That would initially mean reducing the commissioners' presence and responsibilities, and councillors would resume control, "subject to being overridden by commissioners if they act unwisely or unreasonably.

"It would also be possible for commissioners to take over again in full if the recovery stalled."

Local council elections on Anglesey were postponed until 2013 while the commissioners remain in place.

If satisfied sufficient progress has been made, Mr Sargeant said he "should be able to end my intervention completely soon after next year's elections".

Commissioner Mick Giannasi said: "Commissioners believe that with adequate safeguards, elected members have now earned the opportunity to demonstrate that they have the capacity, capability and political maturity to resume responsibility for the day-to-day running of the council."

Council leader Bryan Owen welcomed the announcement, adding: "Members have been committed to get to the root of the issues and build a stronger and better council for the good of Anglesey."

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