North West Wales

Anglesey council's 'significant and encouraging' recovery

Anglesey council offices
Image caption Commissioners were appointed in March 2011 following a failure of political leadership

Improvements at troubled Anglesey council are significant and encouraging, say the Welsh government-appointed commissioners sent in to help run the authority.

They report that a "sea change" means it can move forward "beyond recovery".

Day-to-day running of the authority was handed back to the council in October last year as the role of the commissioners was scaled back.

Commissioners were appointed in 2011 after years of political infighting.

It is the commissioners' sixth progress report since they took over.

The report states that "all 10 corporate governance themes which are key to a a sustainable future for the authority are now either amber (generally acceptable) or green (meeting expectations), the most favourable positions since formal intervention began in March 2011".

There has also been "steady progress" made against the plan in place after Estyn's report on the island's education services last summer, and there is a "much improved" performance in children's services.

But elsewhere "wider transformational change" is needed to meet changes and reduce budgets, they added.

"These achievements and many more like them mean there is a growing sense of confidence that long-term sustainability is now a realistic prospect for Anglesey council," said Mick Giannasi, on behalf of the commissioners.

"Since the middle of December 2012, commissioners have sensed a real sea change in the level of confidence at both member and officer level that the council can move beyond recovery to deliver the commitment it has made to transform itself into a 'new Anglesey'," he said.

Local council elections will be held on the island in May and Mr Giannasi said says this along with how the council deals with key issues, such as setting the budget, "will be key to cementing our opinion that the council is sustainable in the long-term".

'Critical friends'

The council's chief executive Richard Parry Jones said there had been "substantial progress" in developing the transformation plan with the commissioners acting as "critical friends... providing valuable advice and support".

"We are committed to driving through progress, focusing on improved efficiency and prioritising the modernisation of key services whilst facing severe financial constraints," he added.

Council leader Bryan Owen said the latest report accurately reflected progress.

"I am glad they recognise the hard work put in by members and the current executive to restore the council to its current position.

"In the current economic climate, and with the elections to be held in May, what is most important is that we can all continue to work effectively with our partners to support local people and respond positively to the challenges Anglesey faces."

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