Term limits for councillors and a cut in pay for council leaders and cabinet members are expected to be among proposals for reforming local government published by the Welsh Government later.
Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews will launch a long-expected White Paper which will pave the way for the expected shake-up. He's expected to say the plans are about 'reform not reorganisation' although they will result in 'a smaller number of stronger councils.'
There's been pressure on the Welsh Government to take the lead on proposals to reform local government ever since the Williams commission recommended reducing the number of councils from the current 22 to between 10 and 12 in a report published over a year ago.
A previous call for voluntary mergers ended in controversy when Leighton Andrews rejected the only three proposals to have emerged.
Welsh Government sources say the White Paper won't focus exclusively on re-organisation and say not to expect a map of the future shape of local government in Wales. I understand it will contain proposals dealing with the many other challenges laid down in the Williams report which aren't about mergers. I'm told it'll be about 'leadership, delivery, diversity and re-balancing the responsibilities of local and national government.'
The Welsh Government hope that councillors will welcome the White Paper proposals because they'll result in less bureaucracy and more flexibility. But in return they'll face term limits and a cut in pay for leaders and cabinet members as part of the minister's stated intent to cut the cost of local government.
Leighton Andrews is due to launch the White Paper at the new base of the Gwent Archives in Ebbw Vale. The location has been chosen, says the Welsh Government, to highlight the 'activist nature' of councils in Wales. In his speech, he's expected to say: