COUNCIL meetings may be cancelled at short notice, to ensure that council staff can concentrate on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Several meetings which were due to be held this week have been cancelled – although a full council meeting which was pencilled in for Thursday, January 21 was called off as there are "no items for this meeting”, and it is “no longer needed.”

Usually the council meeting in January marks the start of a hectic few weeks of meetings in the run up to setting the annual budget in March.

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, the council 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, the council's 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 with the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme across the county.

“A meeting of full council was due to be held next week.

“However, as there were not any items for this meeting, it is no longer needed and has been cancelled.”

Meetings of Powys Council'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.

Powys Council first invoked business continuity mode on March 23 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.