1. ITV Report

Removing education responsibility from local councils "to the detriment of democracy"

Local councils could lose their control over education Photo: Dominic Lipinski PA Wire

Stripping local councils of responsibility for education would affect democracy and leave local councils with very little clout. That was the scathing assessment of Rodney Berman, the former leader of Cardiff Council, as he spoke following the review launched by Leighton Andrews.

Last week the Education Minister said a review would consider if schools should be directly funded by Welsh Ministers with shared systems of governance. Mr Andrews said: "I have not ruled anything in or out but the time is right for a full review."

But, Rodney Berman says following such a path would "emasculate local authorities" and "impact their ability to improve their lot for their local residents. It would be to the detriment of democracy."

While councillors call into question the viability of councils without any education remit. Cllr Hag Harris, who has responsibility for education in Ceredigion, said no decisions have been taken but: "Should education be removed from the authority it destabilises the ability to deliver other functions because many things are cross departmental. Half of Ceredigion county council's budget is spent on education spending and it would clearly mean a massive impact to local authority delivery if that was removed."

Powys Council have recently seen a change in administration, following the elections in May. The new cabinet member there said if such a move would take place then "between health boards and the 3rd sector, adult social care would disappear and once that has happened then there is not a great deal left."

The Minister had announced his wish for councils to work together in regional consortias - but last week said "whether they will inspire confidence is yet to be tested."

The Welsh Government is yet to comment.