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Local Service Boards: an experiment to overcome ‘wicked’ issues in Welsh public services

Valeria Guarneros
Cardiff University
Valeria Guarneros
Cardiff University
Steve Martin
Cardiff University
Open Panel

Abstract

Since devolution in 1999, the Assembly Government in Wales has aimed to differentiate itself from its English counterpart through its partnership mode of policymaking. Since, 2007, the Welsh Assembly Government encouraged the creation of Local Service Boards (LSBs) in all its 22 local authorities. LSBs are considered a policy innovation to promote more effective joint working between local public services and between sub-national and local levels of government within Wales. LSBs have been expected to provide joined-up leadership to help recurrent and difficult problems that can only be tackled through collaboration among service providers across policy sectors. The paper will focus on how service providers are joining up in policy areas such as community safety and health and social care in south Wales. Based on these case studies, the argument of the paper will be threefold: to contribute to the discussion on what types of organisational integration this type of joint working achieves; to analyse the achievements benefiting citizens, and to assess the challenges encountered during the process of integration as well as the challenges for the Welsh Assembly Government to guarantee the sustainability of LSBs. Although the focus will be based upon Welsh experience, the paper will develop some theoretical reflections on the history and implications of organisational integration in order to make the discussion more generalisable to the UK and north western Europe.