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Quality of service lost in transformation debate

Created on 09/08/2019 @ 09:57
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

Quality public services for the county’s residents should be central to Powys County Council’s (PCC) transformation scheme.

At a meeting of the panel on Wednesday, councillors were given a presentation by corporate director for transformation, Vanessa Young.

She explained the different parts of the project and that money from the sale of PCC assets under the Welsh Governmnet’s Capital Directive would fund most of the activity.

The directive relaxes the rules of what money from sale of assets can be used for.

This financial year the money will also be is given to helps fund the cuts needed in that department as PCC look to find over £12 million in savings.

In June PCC set up its own business arm, Powys Commercial Services, which will be used to drum up income.

Labour group leader, Cllr Mathew Dorrance, said: “This is clearly driven by austerity. We’ve stopped talking about the quality of public services in this debate.

“It’s all about how we generate income how we commercialise our public services and how we bring more revenue in. I know it’s important to balance the books, but we’ve lost the conversation about what we expect as basic good quality services and need to re-inject that into the transformation debate.”

Ms Young said: “The focus has been about money because this is the Finance Panel, but the shift we’re trying to make is to go to outcome based budgeting and planning.”

Ms Young added that the start of the process was looking at the Vision 2025 document – the hopes and aspirations of the current administration and tailoring the services to match.

“Are the ways we are spending our resources helping us achieve those outcomes in the way we want?” she added.

“We need to focus on the quality and not taking anything off the table when it comes to service delivery models.”

Earlier Ms Young had pointed out that PCC continues to face a financial crisis with the best case being a £30 million shortfall and worst case scenario is £46 million over the next three years.

“That obviously presents a significant challenge to us as an authority not least because we’ve had so many years of austerity and the need to make savings year on year, and it gets harder and harder.”

Ms Young had pointed out the demographics in Powys produced a challenge, the number of older people increasing faster than in the rest of Wales as well as people of working age falling at a faster rate.

As well as £2 million from the Capital Directive the funding includes some money left over from last year bring the investment up to £2.146 million.

·      Digital First – £327,000

·      Workforce training- £78,000

·      Mid Wales Growth Deal – £44,000

·      Brecon Place Plan – £44,000

·      Schools – £418,000

·      Highways Transport and Recycling – £458,000

·      Powys Public Procurement Project – £365,000

·      Housing – £181,000

·      Social Services – £76,000

·      Additional Learning Needs (ALN) – £155,000

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