A DECISION to cut  jobs amongst staff that organise and clerk Powys County Council (PCC) meetings will be looked at again.

The proposal made by the head of legal and democratic services Clive Pinney and published in the draft budget report said that the cuts, along with others, would save over £280,000.

The restructure of the scrutiny, democratic services and member services team would see the number of staff that deal with committees fall from eight to six.

Councillors feared this would leave scrutiny committees understaffed and that decisions by cabinet would go unchallenged.

In 2018, lack of scrutiny was highlighted by the Welsh Audit Office in a report as a weakness and it made proposals to improve the role of scrutiny at PCC.

This caused  a lot of concern amongst councillors.

On Wednesday night (January 22) just before the Full Council meeting on Thursday January 23 an emergency motion was set to be put forward by the chair of the democratic services committee, Cllr Elwyn Vaughan (Plaid Cymru – Glantwymyn).

He suggested the proposal:  “Be halted until a full business case is made to the Democratic services committee for consideration.”

But at the full council meeting the emergency motion was not needed as PCC chief executive Caroline Turner announced it would be looked at by the democratic services committee

Dr Turner said: “The proposals to change democratic services have had quite a bit of attention.

“Again in that area I’m aware that staffing matters are matters for me as head of paid service.

“But I also recognise that the democratic services committee has  a role in making sure that members are adequately supported by staff and other resources.

“We will be taking a paper to that committee soon.”

The changes are part of a raft of proposals that could save a total of £282,161 by Mr Pinney.

They include:

  • Not recruiting a trained solicitor for a vacant post
  • Not recruiting a part time education/employment solicitor post
  • Registration services redundancies
  • Regrading solicitor from 14 to 12
  • Reducing councillors’ travel expense and printing

In the impact assessment report Mr Pinney says: “Whilst the impact of the proposal might initially be regarded as significant, if the process is managed properly and the transition undertaken carefully then the long term impact should be low.

PCC will be attempting to balance its budget for 2020/21 with £11 million in cuts and a proposal to increase council tax by five per cent.

It is expected the budget will be discussed by full council on February 28.