(Title Image: Wales Online)
An independent report into the Swansea City Deal – jointly ordered by the Welsh and UK governments – has strongly hinted that Carmarthenshire Council should lose its role as lead authority and be replaced with a new leadership model.
The report (pdf) recommends an “independent” leadership alongside a more strategic focus on the deal, rather than the present focus on specific projects such as the Llanelli Wellness Village. That project has been mired in controversy since the suspension of several senior figures at Swansea University towards the end of 2018 – which triggered the review.
“A combination of its (Mark James/Carmarthenshire Council’s) inability to provide a regional tier of support advice and assurance combined with confusion over its role has been at the heart of much of the unease we have heard expressed regarding progress. There needs to be an authoritative tier of assurance and support to the individual programmes and also to the decision-making boards. We believe that a reconstituted (management) office with strong professional and independent leadership is key to delivery.”
A full summary of the report’s recommendations is available from Jacqui Thompson.
It’s also reported that Carmarthenshire Council are attempting to block publication of a second review from the city region’s Joint Committee – which has been made available to Pembrokeshire councillors – that highlights a level of mistrust between the city region’s partner councils and the lead authority (Carmarthenshire), as well as a number of other “irregularities”.
Carmarthenshire’s Chief Executive, Mark James, is due to leave office in the summer.