STAFF who have been helping shielding Powys residents through the coronavirus crisis have been praised by councillors.

Lessons will be learnt from how the welfare calls service was run, in case it’s needed again due to future lockdowns.

A report on how the service had been run was discussed at Powys County Council’s economy, residents, communities and governance scrutiny committee on Thursday, July 16.

People, known as “the shielded group” were identified by the National Health Service (NHS), and have been advised by letter to self-isolate due to underlying health conditions.

Chairman of the economy, residents, communities and governance scrutiny committee Councillor Mathew Dorrance said: “This work has been done really sympathetically and respectfully.

“We have all spoken to people in our wards who have received these calls.

“I really think it’s been appreciated and shows Powys at it’s best as an understanding organisation, and it’s done a lot to boost the confidence and the value of the council in our communities. It’s been fantastic.”

But Councillor Jeremy Pugh believed to avoid duplication, more understanding was needed from the council of what the voluntary organisations were doing in their localities.

Head of digital services, Diane Reynolds, who is in charge of scheme, said: “There was an expectation that the first call was made by the council.

“More could have been done to connect with the volunteers.

“It’s not something that we should stop looking at, this emergency has not gone away, and we will be needing support from all kinds of groups in the future.”

Portfolio holder for corporate governance and engagement, Councillor Graham Breeze, (Welshpool Llanerchyddol – Independent) added that he had made many calls to people and that on some occasions the person shielding didn’t need help,  just “a chat” as they were isolated.

Data from the Welsh government identified 5,766 people who needed to shield, and a further 4,538 people were identified as vulnerable from the council's own data.

Ten PCC workers redeployed from other departments, have made the calls.