LOCAL AUTHORITIES across Wales may be forgiven today for feeling slightly battered.

All 22 of them are currently in the midst of drawing up, consulting over and then deciding on, a range of cuts forced on them by the need to make significant savings.

Unpalatable decisions are being taken in councils right across Wales. Very often of course against a storm of public protest as services are cut altogether, reduced or altered in some way.

On top of this councils have all just learned that it is very likely they will not exist in their current form in the mid to long term and that they will be merged with one, or in some cases more, neighbouring authorities to create bigger councils responsible for much wider geographical areas.

Yet even before the dust has settled on the Williams Commission, councils are now learning that they are not planning as well as they should be for a future with fewer resources and that they are focussing too much on the short term.

The lengthy report by the Wales Audit Office paints a pretty gloomy picture of how councils are working on the savings agenda and lists a whole number of ways that councils are getting it wrong.

And while the report is undoubtedly backed up with evidence, we do fear the timing of its release is at best poor and at worst harsh.