THE WORK of an internal council board to improve Planning performance in Powys will be wound down later this year, a senior councillor has said.
At a meeting of Powys County Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday, February 6 councillors met to discuss the draft Corporate and Strategic Equality plan before it is presented to all councillors for endorsement later this month.
The updated draft of the plan which is also dubbed: “Stronger, Fairer, Greener” covers the ambitions of the Liberal Democrat/Labour/Green minority administration’s up to 2027.
To meet Welsh Government deadline the latest version needs to be published by April 1.
At the meeting Liberal Democrat portfolio holder for Planning, Cllr Jake Berriman drew his colleagues attention to a section of the document which mentioned the Planning Improvement Board.
This board was set up following a scathing report into the council’s Planning department published by Audit Wales in May last year.
Audit Wales expressed concerns about the fundamental strategic operational and cultural weaknesses of the council’s planning service and published a list of recommendations for the council to address.
Cllr Berriman said: “Since we had an external audit in respect of planning, we did set up a Planning Improvement Board where we were looking at transforming the planning service.
“That’s still ongoing and I hope to wind that down later in the year.
“The text didn’t adequately describe that improvement work we were doing or that it’s focussed on planning.”
He pointed out that the section included “public protection” which is not part of his responsibilities.
Cllr Berriman: “I felt it was misnamed.
“Perhaps there needs to be a think on the description and re-title so that it doesn’t imply that I’m also looking at public protection and other areas.”
Portfolio holder for Welsh and Children’s Social Services, Labour’s Cllr Sandra Davies stressed that a Welsh language and an easy read versions are also needed before the report is published.
Head of transformation and democratic services Catherine James said that she would look to provide that.
Cabinet agreed the proposal which is expected to be debated alongside the draft budget at a council meeting on February 22.
The three objectives that form the Corporate and Strategic Equality plan’s are to:
Improve people’s awareness of services, and how to access them, so that they can make informed choices.
Provide good quality, sustainable, employment and training opportunities, whilst pursuing real living wage employer accreditation.
Work to tackle poverty and inequality to support the well-being of the people of Powys.