THERE are not enough schools service staff to drive forward the work of reorganising education in Powys.

This was stressed at a meeting of Powys County Council’s learning and skills scrutiny committee on Friday, July 19.

There, schools service business partner Jennie Spraggon told the committee the schools central service was expected to be £669,000 in the red at the end of the financial year (March 31, 2020).

Ms Spraggon said: “The main reasons is there are underachieved savings across the service and we are continually working with the service to achieve those.”

Cllr Lucy Roberts, (Conservative – Llandrinio) asked: “My question is about the range of work going on.

“There’s so many things going on, 21st Century schools (building programme) post 16 review, we’ve go transport cost being mentioned and spending on schools.

“I’m concerned about the lack of join up between all these different reviews going on and most importantly and possibly a reason for this is the lack of staff to actually carry out this work.

“This committee is concerned that the service has been cut to the extent that they can’t support the schools and make these big decisions that are important to the future financial viability of our schools throughout the county.”

Schools senior challenge advisor, Eurig Towns, replied: “Yes it is a concern we are a reduced number of officers in the schools service, it’s particularly affecting the modernisation area which is under capacity.

“That is the area we’ll need to focus on.”

Mr Towns added that there department was receiving support from the transformation team but said they needed to be trained specifically on how to deal with school projects.

“Regarding the savings here, as senior managers, we are aware of what needs to be done, it’s just getting that capacity in place to carry out those efficiencies,” said Mr Towns.

Cllr Roberts said: “So, one set of efficiencies has impact on the ability to carry out another set of efficiencies.”

In the report, head of schools service, Dr Alec Clark, said: “We continue to monitor planned savings and will strive to deliver on the proposed savings as in the yearly forecast and budget plans.

“The close relationship with the transition team will be key in modelling future transformation of the schools delivery model across the county.”

Earlier this year, £2 million was cut from the central schools service budget to allow £1 million extra to go to schools.