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Powys reform plan principles delayed

Major Powys reform plan principles pulled at last minute as not all Cabinet members can agree to the potentially radical changes.

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By Elgan Hearn
Local Democracy Reporter


Major Powys reform plan principles pulled at last minute as not all Cabinet members can agree to the potentially radical changes.

At a meeting of the Powys County Council’s (PCC) Liberal Democrat/Labour Cabinet on Tuesday, July 9 senior councillors were expected to debate and agree the “principles” of the Sustainable Powys Programme.

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But it was revealed that the item had been pulled from the agenda at the last minute – due to the need for more behind closed doors talks to take place.

At the start of the meeting council leader, Liberal Democrat Cllr James Gibson- Watt announced that the item had been withdrawn from discussion.

Cllr Gibson-Watt said: “I know it’s rather late in the day, but we’ve decided to defer item nine (Sustainable Powys Programme Principles) on the agenda to the next meeting of cabinet pending a few issues and wrinkles we need to iron out which some members of cabinet are not very happy with.

“Therefore, we just need to finalise those things before we come to consider it.”

The “principles” is the first step in explaining how the council will provide its services in the future.

It will see the county divided into four quadrants called” core areas” by the council which will be centred on Brecon, Llandrindod Wells, Newtown, and Welshpool.

The report explains that any services provided beyond the four towns would need to have: “an approved business case to support it.”

Residents living an hour away including children will be expected to travel to these towns to access council services.

Work on the project has already been going on for 18 months.

The report said: “Growing financial and workforce pressures are having an impact on the ability of public services to meet the needs of the population.

“A transformation is needed: making use of reduced assets across the county; breaking down silos between services and maximising coordination with external providers and partners.

“We must become more connected to the population we serve.

“We need to redesign PCC and the type and volume of services that we can offer to put the organisation on a more sustainable footing, moving away from year-on-year service cuts.”

The report explains that “place-based planning” helps the council divide the county into “manageable areas for services” and for collaborating with communities and partners.

The model is already used with the council having split the county into 13 “localities” based on its market towns.

These 13 localities will be now fit into the quadrants.

The report is now expected to be in front of Cabinet at their next meeting on Tuesday, July 16.

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