Welsh Government Finance and Local Government Minister Rebecca Evans has announced today that support provided to Merthyr County Borough Council since 2019 will come to a close at the end of the month in light of the progress made by the Council, while recognising there is more improvement work to be done by the authority.
The statutory support package was agreed in June 2019 following a request from the Leader at the time, and in response to concerns raised by Audit Wales. It included an Improvement and Assurance Board, the appointment of short term external advisers for specific areas, and training for members and officers. The purpose of the support was to ensure the Council could provide good quality services to the people of Merthyr Tydfil, and to bolster the Council's own ability to improve and transform.
Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government, said:
I would like to thank the Council, the Improvement and Assurance Board and the external advisers for all the work they have put in and the progress which has been made since 2019.
The ending of formal statutory support represents an important milestone for the Council. Whilst it is not the end of the improvement journey for Merthyr, the Council is now in a much better place to drive forward self-improvement.
Councillor Lisa Mytton, Leader of Merthyr County Borough Council, said:
Reflecting on our journey since we originally approached Welsh Government for support, there is a marked difference in the organisation that we are today.
However, our journey does not end here. The Council will continue to work on plans for addressing its longer-term sustainability and we are looking to engage with appropriate experts to continue this conversation.
Steve Thomas, Chair of the Improvement and Assurance Board, said:
Our Team has been in Merthyr Tydfil for over two years and worked with the council to make significant changes to secure measurable progress in its corporate governance. We have also worked extensively in the key areas of Social Services and Education and both services have far greater resilience today than in 2019. Their finances are in order, and they have achieved good statutory inspection outcomes. As a result, we feel the authority is now ready to self-sustain its improvement.