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Post-Covid road to recovery approved

Created on 17/09/2020 @ 09:50
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The roadmap back to normality has been approved by Powys County Council’s (PCC) Cabinet with Head of Transformation and Communication, Emma Palmer, outlining a to do list that will eventually feed into an updated Corporate Improvement Plan.

With changes starting to be delivered from April, 2021, she told councillors that at the top of the recovery planning list, would be ensuring that this year’s budget finishes in a balanced position.

Ms Palmer, said: “We’re still working within the pandemic, some of the things we must operate in for the foreseeable future is mandatory social distancing, alongside a clear direction to work from home where possible.

“The phased re-start of services has been alongside work to prevent further spikes of the Coronavirus.”

At the last cabinet meeting in July, councillors were told that the financial black hole they faced this year could be £13 million. But since then the financial positions have changed.

More clarity has been given by the Welsh Government on what they will cover in terms of Covid-19 costs and lost income by local authorities.

Ms Palmer added: “It is anticipated that a balanced budget will include a blend of service proposals, Welsh Government support, capitalisation and use of reserves.”

Details of proposals from services, for savings and cut were being “worked through” she said.

Head of Finance, Jane Thomas, is already looking towards the 2021/22 budget and said that they were a “little delayed” in starting to plan it.

The recovery planning report has set out a time frame for work to follow and be completed.

Ms Thomas, said: “This will enable us to clearly understand the impact of the pandemic and then be able to plan that recovery and build our budget for next year and sustainable budgets over the medium term.”

Council Leader, Cllr Rosemarie Harris, said: “We are trying make some big decisions over the next few weeks.

“We formed some working groups to look at all service area because we realise there are some that we don’t need to provide in quite the same way and there are some significant changes that we make.”

The report has five specific “strategic” aims:

·      Minimise the risk to the population and council staff from Covid-19

·      Co-ordinate the recovery of services and identify appropriate changes to traditional ways of working.

·      Understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the council and the county

·      Support communities and businesses to recover from the impact of 2020 emergencies – both Covid-19 and Flooding

·      Work with partners to develop and implement a robust recovery plan for the county.

The report was approved unanimously by cabinet.

By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

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