Posted: Sat 2nd Mar 2024

Improving County Council Engagement with Powys Public Crucial, Says Senior Chief

news.wales / newyddion.cymru

HOW the county council interacts, engages, and consults with the Powys public needs to “improve” a senior council chief has said.
This follows discussion by councillors of figures that show a drop off in “positive feedback” from people who have given their views on a range of topics that involve council services.
The discussion took place at a joint meeting of all three of Powys County Council’s scrutiny committees on Wednesday, February 28.
At the meeting members went through the quarter three performance report of the Corporate Strategic and Equality, Strategic Plan, which covers the period from the end of September to the end of December.
This plan is supposed to keep track of how the council is performing against the three objectives of the Liberal Democrat/Labour cabinet’s Stronger Fairer, Greener agenda.
A section in the report looks at how people interacted with the council’s “engagement” activities.
Head of transformation and corporate services Catherine James said: “Engagement activities ensure that we are a well-run council where poeple’s voices are heard.
“We have an engagement hub it’s called, have your say.”
She added that the council also has a “people’s panel.”
The panel comes from the pool of residents who have a “My Powys” account which is needed to access or request council services.
Of the 60,000 people registered with My Powys, 5,543 are members of the panel.
During this period, the council held 13 “engagement activities” which included a school closure proposal, day care opportunities and a survey on the 2023/2024 budget.
The data in the report shows 6,064 people visited the engagement hub and that 1,943 people gave their opinions to the council.
In feedback to the council only 13 per cent of respondents said they would “speak positively” about the council which compares to 25 per cent from quarter one.
Cllr Adrian Jones said: “I was a bit concerned with the 13 per cent positive feedback and it’s dropped from 25 per cent.
“That’s quite significant.”
Ms James explained that it was down to the number of people who had completed feedback forms after giving their views.
Ms James said: “In quarter one we had 105 people respond and in quarter three only 36 people actually responded.
“The figure is based on 36 people which is not representative of the county, and this is why we are encouraging people to participate so we can actually understand what people are thinking.”
“As an organisation we know we need to do more to improve the engagement responses we are getting.”
Labour’s Cllr Chris Walsh said: “That feedback says there should be some lessons learned.”
Head of the legal department, Clive Pinney believed it is difficult to gain insight from: “such a very low number of responses.”
The joint scrutiny committee was chaired by Liberal Democrat, Cllr Angela Davies who is the chairwoman of the Economy, Residents and Communities (ERC) scrutiny committee.
Cllr Davies said: “The way the council overall interacts with the public would be for the ERC scrutiny committee to investigate more thoroughly.
“What’s going on, what are we doing well and what are we doing not so well.”
“There’s a bit more work to do behind those numbers.”
The report will go on to be presented at a Cabinet meeting on March 19.
To have a look at the consultation/engagement hub visit https://www.haveyoursaypowys.wales ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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