Posted: Wed 28th Jun 2023

Powys residents ‘kept in dark’ over plans to transform council services

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jun 28th, 2023

Members of the Finance Panel are set to receive a progress update on the plan to transform Powys County Council’s services. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

But for now, it is probable that the rest of Powys’s residents will be kept in the dark on how the Liberal Democrat/Labour/Green administration is set to revamp council services in the hope it will mean fewer financial cuts in the future. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The update for the panel is set to take place on Friday, June 30 and is more than likely to be in confidential session. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The only change that has been made public so far is that the catchphrase of “Reimagining” has been dropped in favour of calling the transformation process “Sustainable Powys.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The lack of detail on the plan has been criticised in past meetings of the Finance Panel by its chairman and Conservative group leader, Cllr Aled Davies. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Davies has said that the “bones” of next year’s budget will be put together over the summer and should be in place by the end of August. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

At the meeting on Friday, councillors and lay members of the panel will be asked to “consider passing the resolution” and voting in favour of excluding the public. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The report says that the council’s monitoring officer, Clive Pinney who is also the head of legal and democratic services advises the panel to exclude the public as he believes that “exempt information” would be disclosed. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The report said: “The monitoring officer has determined that category three of the Access to Information Procedure Rules applies to the item. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“His view on the public interest test was that to make this information public would disclose information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person including the authority holding that information. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“These factors in his view outweigh the public interest in disclosing this information.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

At a cabinet meeting in February, it was agreed to fund a trio of council officers to the tune of £300,000 for two years to work on this review of services. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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