There could be less accountability of Powys County Council as more public council meetings are cancelled to allow staff to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Council meetings may be cancelled at short notice, to ensure that council Staff can concentrate their attention on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
A full council meeting was due to take place on Thursday this week, but like several other meetings which were due to be held, it has been cancelled as the authority continues in emergency mode.
As Wales entered it’s third period of lockdown on Sunday, December 20, 2020, a couple of meetings had already fallen by the wayside as the country braced itself to deal with the second wave of Covid-19.
This means that for now, PCC will be concentrating on only the most vital services, and staff will not be available to discuss issues with councillors as they normally would.
Clerking staff may also be re-prioritised to other duties.
In a joint statement, PCC leader, Cllr Rosemarie Harris and Chief Executive, Dr Caroline Turner, said: “Our public services are facing unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic and we are extremely concerned about the wellbeing and resilience of our staff, who continue to step up to the mark under difficult circumstances.
“We do not want to be in the position where key council services cannot be provided because of the increasing pressure that Covid-19 has on our workforce.
“We have therefore reviewed and revised our business critical activities.
“We are also supporting Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) with the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme across the county.”
Meetings of PCC’s Gold Command have been ramped up and are now chaired by Nigel Brinn, Director of Environment and Economy.
Mr Brinn, has taken over the role after Vanessa Young, the former Director of Transformation and Resources, who left the authority last November.
This committee oversees the council’s strategy to navigate through the pandemic.
Another committee, Silver Command, looks after the day to day running of services.
PCC first invoked business continuity mode on 23 March as the UK entered it’s first lockdown.
For a six-week period all meetings were cancelled and started again by remotely attendance using Microsoft Teams, from May 5, 2020,
Meetings were kept to an hour and were broadly to scrutinise PCC’s response to the pandemic.
In June 2020, councillors started asking for longer meetings, looking at a broader range of issues.
By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporting Service