Powys County Council has already commenced a consultation process with the Powys Local Health Board towards greater collaboration (or is that amalgamation?)of the two authorities. This is now a reality as the following briefing paper from the WLGA testifies:
Powys LHB and Powys council are conducting a twelve week option appraisal project with the support of WAG and the WLGA. At the end of July the two respective bodies will consider how far to integrate existing organisations, management and service delivery. Options from securing greater service alignment, shared management arrangements or the creation of one unified new body are being considered. A project board has met to authorise the process and a project group has been established to co ordinate the work. The desire to provide high quality services to the people of Powys, its uniqueness of the geography and demographics plus the NHS reforms ( Powys LHB is not being abolished in the NHS reforms) have underpinned the decision to take forward this project.
And on Radio Cymru recently who have the rejuvenated ex Welsh Tory leader, Rod Richards spouting at the need to reduce the 22 local authorities and to take social care away from councils altogether and give it to Health so that we don't have the constant bickering between health and councils over the difference between 'nursing' and 'care'
It is the belief of senior staff within Health that there is an agenda within WAG to bring things ever closer together...no smoke without fire! and that the Powys 'collaboration' is the tip of the iceberg.
If this happens in North Wales with one Local Health Board and 6 Local Authorities I'm not sure how it would work but we would most certainly lose what we now call 'localism' (Keeping Llandudno Hospital open for example)
I very much hope that Children's Social Care doesn't come under the Betsi Cadwalader Trust...Wrexham LHB cannot adequately fund continuing care for children with disabilities as it stands now, with the Council disproportionately carrying the burden.
Keep a close watch on developments in Powys, what happens there will happen in Wales in due course.