Welsh councils ‘in the dark’ over smacking ban

Welsh Councils are being “left in the dark” over how they will be affected by a proposed smacking ban, freedom of information requests reveal.

The information was obtained by Be Reasonable, the campaign group spearheading opposition to the ban.

It said councils have been left unprepared by the Welsh Government over how a ban will affect social services and police, which it estimates will cost local authorities millions.


Flintshire Council said it had received “no guidance or policy documents from the Welsh Government”, while Merthyr Council said it had made no cost assessment for any change to the law.

Bridgend Council admitted it had not considered how many families would be affected by a change, or how many more social workers would need to be employed as a result.

Cardiff Council said it was “not possible to predict” how the ban would affect children’s services, or the number of parents who would be prosecuted or convicted.


Be Reasonable spokesman Jamie Gillies said the councils’ admissions were “worrying”.

“It seems that councils have been left in the dark over the impact of these changes and have received no information or advice from the Welsh Government about how they should prepare for a smacking ban.

“Council budgets are already stretched. Any change in the law which places an additional burden on local authorities could lead to tough financial decisions and vital services being pared back.

“Councillors and the public alike deserve to know how their community will be impacted.”


The Western Mail Editorial said it is hard to see how council budgets could cope with the extra costs a smacking ban would incur.

It pointed out that a ban on smacking was opposed by two thirds of those responding to the Welsh Government’s consultation, adding that politicians will find it tough to persuade the public it is a good idea.

“If an unpopular change to the law causes financial strain on public services, it will garner further opposition.

“As with many things, success boils down to perceived value for money. Whether a pricey public information campaign will be supported or valuable also remains to be seen.”

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