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'We can pull through together'

Created on 21/08/2020 @ 10:30
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Powys County Council Leader Rosemarie Harris (pictured) has highlighted the importance of partnerships to help the county recover from the pandemic.

Here is her latest column:

“The Coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the county, changed the way we work and the way we deliver services. It is clear the consequences will be with us for many years to come and that we must adapt to meet new challenges.

Two years ago, the Cabinet and I set out our Vision 2025 with 40 ambitious outcomes to make a real difference to the lives of Powys residents, communities and businesses.

No-one could have predicted that the county along with the rest of the country would face a global pandemic and the most difficult circumstances since the war. Despite those challenges the council remains committed to investing in services, driving improvement and improving outcomes for our service users.

Our four key priorities, Economy; Health and Care; Learning and Skills; Residents and Communities, are more important than before and last month the full council accepted our second annual report and endorsed our plans.

We have a range of activities, some short-term that can be delivered relatively quickly and others that are longer term that will take time to develop and implement. Since the start of our plan in 2018 we have:

·      Completed five new primary school in the Gwernyfed catchment area following the reorganisation from ten to five schools as part of a £25 million investment programme.

·      Developed a new cultural hub (Y Gaer) in Brecon involving refurbishment of the town’s Grade II listed museum and provision of a new library.

·      Spent nearly £100 million with local businesses as part of our Powys Pound initiative

·      Supported more than a thousand adults with Technology Enabled Care

·      Ensured 72% of children and young people who need support are supported through Early Help services, avoiding the need to be stepped up to statutory intervention

·      Completed the Welsh Housing Quality Standard refurbishment works, replacing over 11,000 components including kitchens, heating systems, door, windows and roof improvements in county houses

·      Supported 24 apprentices

·      Developed our website, with 12 services now available to access on-line, 24-7

·      Achieved £22.9 million cost reductions by becoming more efficient.

But we now need to look forward not backwards, we must learn the lessons gained during the pandemic. Our response to the pandemic has shown the importance of partnership working across the county and the impact that a joint approach can have for the benefit of residents. 

The county council is a key member of the Public Services Board, a strategic partnership established under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, which also includes Powys Teaching Health Board, Mid and West Wales Fire Service and Natural Resources Wales.

It requires the partners and key local organisation in Powys, including Police, Brecon Beacons National Park, the third sector and community councils, to work together and take a more co-ordinated and long-term approach to the issues that really matter to the people of the county.

We must build on that partnership work and strengthen those opportunities for the benefit of our residents and communities, particularly at a time when we face challenging financial circumstances and an uncertain world.

To achieve this, we know we need to continue to transform the way we deliver services and that is our ambition for the coming years.”

Councillor Rosemarie Harris

Leader, Powys County Council

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