After the decision of the Court in favour of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, in respect of the decision-making processes around nursery funding arrangements, Leader of the Council, County Borough Councillor Andrew Morgan said:
“While I welcome the decision of the Court in respect of our decision, as I made clear throughout the process, if it were not for the dramatic reductions in funding we have faced, this is not a decision in normal circumstances Cabinet would have considered.
“I am pleased that the Court has recognised that the decision-making processes we adopted in respect of the changes to nursery funding we had to consider were correct.
“When I became Leader of the Council twelve months ago, the Council had just been informed that it had lost a previous Judicial Review into a previous decision around Nursery Admission Arrangements.
“The decision of the Judge at that time did not question the rationale for our decision, but took issue with the process we had adopted to make this decision. I made it clear that the Council would learn lessons from this case and that is why amended proposals around Nursery funding were considered.
“When we reconsidered this matter, the Cabinet extended the length of the consultation and the ways in which it consulted with residents and those who would be affected by the proposals. This work, which included a 14-week consultation period, distribution of over 45,000 consultation materials and six public consultation events giving people the opportunity to speak to Cabinet Members and Officers directly, was recognised in this judgement.
“We accept that the very necessary decisions on service changes have been, and will inevitably continue to be, unpopular with the public.
“I have to stress that any proposals for service changes we have taken, and will need to consider in the future, give neither me nor the Cabinet any pleasure; the severity of funding cuts we have faced mean that we have to reduce the level of service offered by the Council. It is therefore vitally important that the Council communicates the rationale for the difficult decisions it has to take.”