New unit to manage local wardens envisaged in local enforcement reform

White Paper on local enforcement launched by junior minister José Herrera.

The local warden system is in the process of being reformed, 14 years after it was first introduced.

Parliamentary secretary for local councils, José Herrera today launched the white paper which he said was intended to make the system "fairer and more transparent."

The reform should lead to reduce costs and increase efficiency in the collection of unpaid citations, which in 13 years amounted to over €18 million.

One of the paper's key proposals is that of empowering the local enforcement system management committee (LEN) to create a centralised unit which would enforce laws delegated to the five regional committees. This would effectively transfer the administration of local wardens from the private company currently running the system to an "independent" unit.

"The management committee should have the necessary human and financial resources to have a fully functioning enforcement system," Herrera said, adding that  the new unit must function independently.

Herrera's advisor on local government, Michael Cohen explained that the system is "expensive" and inefficient.

The former Kalkara mayor, who is facing legal proceedings over the missapropriation of EU funds following an OLAF investigation, said that up to 18% of penalties remain unpaid, with one particular private company owing more than €200,000 in unpaid citations.

Between 2000 and 2013 local councils failed to collect up to €18.5 million in unpaid citations and Cohen said the proposed reforms could save the government up to 30% of its expenses on local government.

The unit is to be led by a chief executive  who has vast experience in the enforcement sector and will be responsible from coordinating the unit which will administer the local wardens system.

"If we take careful decisions we can obtain better financial results. Therefore the reform should give local enforcement a new direction, leading to a reduction in costs," Herrera said.

He explained that the reform could save the government up to €1.2 a year, which in turn could be invested in training local wardens and strengthen environmental protection.

A number of public consultation meetings will be held in the coming weeks. The process will come to an end on 18 April.  

Min geddilhom il-licenzji lil dawn.
How is "The former Kalkara mayor who is facing legal proceedings over the misappropriation of EU funds" relevant to this case? Why not mention that the private companies operating this needed service turned the Local Warden into a money making machine for their private benefit without the Local Councils benefitting anything? Why not keep the focus on the current issue? After all, isn't Mr. Cohen innocent until proven otherwise? This article should be edited as it stinks of mud-slinging!
The Private Sector has failed the taxpayer. Full stop! Now it is the turn of the Public Sector to have a try. Considering past performance of the Public Sector (definately except for the ex Dept of Posts which service went downhill fast with Maltapost) there is no guarantee that the new unit would be successful. I would have retained the Private Sector, but taken away from the tendering process the "political nepotism" factor so prevalent in the Lorry/Austin era!!!