Paul Williams chaired the commission which has recommended cutting the number of local authorities in Wales from 22 to between 10 and 12. He explained to our Political Editor Adrian Masters how the commission had reached that number.
One obstacle in the way of a council shake-up may have already been cleared. When Carwyn Jones said recently that he's 'open' to the idea of starting the process of reorganisation before the next Welsh election he also said he 'doesn't like changing manifesto commitments.' Read what he said here.
But it turns out there is no manifesto commitment NOT to reorganise local government before the 2016 election. You can search Labour's 2011 manifesto for yourself here. It seems it had been a pledge during the drafting process but didn't make it to the final document.
The rest of the First Minister's hurdles remain and it's still unlikely that any legislation to cut the number of councils would make it through the Assembly before 2016. But at least Carwyn Jones doesn't have to worry about breaking a manifesto pledge.
The Welsh Government has confirmed that it's looking at ways of meeting opposition parties' demands on the pay of council chief executives in order to avoid defeat on forthcoming important legislation. A spokesperson said:
– Welsh Government spokesperson
The Welsh Government recognises that the pay of local authority chief executives is an issue which needs to be determined in an open and transparent way and there needs to be effective mechanisms in place to ensure this happens. Listening to concerns over this matter, we are currently considering options for this at Stage 3 of the Local Government Democracy (Wales) Bill.