PROPOSALS to bolster scrutiny of Powys County Council's work could be voted upon at the next Full Council meeting.

The Health, Care and Housing Scrutiny Committee was told that next week a set of proposals will be decided by the Scrutiny Development Board on Monday.

They will then go to the Democratic Services Committee scheduled for Wednesday, November 14, before going to a Full Council meeting on Tuesday, November 20 for a final decision.

If the proposals all go through as planned, a new scrutiny structure could be in place by January.

The discussion follows the Welsh Audit Offices Report , Overview and Scrutiny, Fit For the Future?

This highlights weaknesses in the current scrutiny structure at Powys and gives advice on improvements.

Gwilym Berry, of the Welsh Audit Office, was at the meeting to take councillors through the report.

Mr Berry, said: "The council has been slow to develop its scrutiny arrangements and there are fundamental areas it needs to address if scrutiny operates effectively and have impact in the face of future challenges.

"The council governance framework does not help to create a supportive environment to operate effectively and have impact.

"The council recognises that its scrutiny function needs to improve.

"There is scope for improvement in how scrutiny is planned, how scrutiny meetings are conducted and how forward work plans are developed.

"We also felt the council does not evaluate the impact of overview and scrutiny and cannot demonstrate its overall effectiveness."

"We did this report at the beginning of the summer and we know that members have been producing action plans to address the issues we have raised."

Committee manager, Wyn Richards, said: "It's been very clear for us that it was a retrograde step for us and a knee-jerk reaction to the CIW report (Children's Services October 2017) that we moved away from working groups.

"We need to revisit and we are looking to probably schedule full meetings every six to eight weeks and putting working groups  in between.

"It's a return to the old system which was actually working very effectively."

Cllr Mike Williams said: "I see nothing wrong in experimenting with different formats.

"Hopefully after some time one can judge which is most beneficial.

"The information going to the panels must be robust and state clearly where we are at that moment in time.

Scrutiny committee chairman, Cllr Gwilym Williams, said: "Looking back over the last six months we've had a lot of good meetings really  but the downside is we don't have the capacity to look at other things.

"There's a lot of stuff we're not looking at.

"Procurement and commissioning we never get to it as we're spending a lot of our time in (scrutinising) Children's Services.

"So If there's an extra (scrutiny) committee it will give us more capacity.

"The crunch is we need to be effective in what we do and we'll see what comes forward."

Cllr Amanda Jenner added that the scrutiny committee needed to be made up of members who had an interest in those subject areas so that they could speak on issues where they have knowledge and expertise.

The WAO report has six proposals to improvement:

These are:

Specific reports and why a scrutiny committee is receiving an issue

More training for chairs and vice-chairs

More training for members on the Well-Being of Future Generations Act

Strengthen arrangements for public and other stakeholder engagement in overview and scrutiny

Clarify arrangements for feeding back overview and scrutiny committees' views to Cabinet and for Cabinet to respond to recommendations made

Put in place arrangements for assessing the effectiveness and impact of overview and scrutiny.