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Council Reorganisation

Uncertainty over how Welsh council maps will be redrawn is damaging staff morale, the head of a body representing local authorities has said.

The Welsh government is expected to unveil its preferred options for reorganising councils later this week.

Steve Thomas, from the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), said the wait for a decision is "debilitating" for Wales' 130,000 staff.

The number of authorities - 22 - is expected to be halved after the review.

Mr Thomas told BBC Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement programme that council reorganisation remains challenging, following the publication of the Williams Commission review.

It recommended cutting councils in Wales from 22 to as few as 10.

"The uncertainty now, which has stretched on since the Williams Commission... is debilitating," the WLGA's chief executive told BBC Wales' Vaughan Roderick.

"And the problem that we've got is that whatever happens in the next period with any future published maps, there won't be new authorities in place until 2020," he said.

"That in itself will continue to cause questions about people's futures and what it means for their careers in local government." Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews is expected to reveal his new-look local government map this week.

He will also speak at the WLGA's annual conference in Swansea on Thursday.

It follows reports last week that some senior Labour council figures had asked ministers to water down plans to slash the number of authorities.

Mr Thomas said some would welcome the new map, while others would contest it.

But he also questioned the timing, ahead of next year's assembly elections.

He added: "The map could again change possibly. The search for a definitive map is almost the search for a holy grail within local government at the current time, and I'm not certain whatever comes out will be definitive."

In response, a Welsh government spokesperson said: "We have a once in a generation opportunity to reform and reshape our councils.

"The old ways of doing things will not work in the future. Our plans are ambitious and we must make the most of this chance to change."

They said the government recognised the "significant contribution" made by those working in local government, adding that a staff commission was being established to "take account of staffing and workforce issues" ahead of reforms.