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Schools in Powys could close due to lack of money for building maintenance

SCHOOLS in Powys could be forced to close due to the deteriorating state of their buildings.

The lack of money to maintain school buildings has been identified as a major risk to add to Powys County Council strategic risk register and was discussed at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, February 8.

Finance portfolio holder, Cllr David Thomas explained that the education and planning, property and public protection departments wanted to escalate two risks caused by the: “insufficient revenue maintenance and major improvement capital funding is likely to result in unsafe and unfit assets within the school property.”

Cllr David Thomas

Cllr Thomas said: “The potential consequences are the withdrawal of use of the asset leading to disruption to educational continuity with the partial or full closure to school.”

To deal with this problem the report explains that maintenance work will be prioritised and carried out when money is available.

Deteriorating buildings could also see the school “escalated” to become part of the schools transforming education programme.

Cllr Thomas said: “Our strategic risk register is key to safeguarding the organisation and building resilience in our services.

“As of the end of quarter two (end of September) there were 13 risks on the strategic register.”

He added that the “owners” of the risk had provided explanations of how they were monitoring and dealing with the potential problems.

Director of corporate services, Emma Palmer believed it was important not to see the risk register in “isolation” but also consider the work done to address the issues.

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Ms Palmer said: “What we can see is that the cabinet is actively considering those risks and thinking about the objectives and actions we need to take to serve our communities.”

Last summer it was revealed that there is a backlog of school building maintenance worth £77 million – which has been blamed on a historic lack of investment in maintaining them.

Councillors agreed to add the risks to the register.