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Former council chief to help drive education service improvements

By Elgan Hearn | Mid Wales | Education | Published:

A former county council chief executive and education boss will be helping Powys County Council try to improve its education service.

Following the critical Estyn inspection which was published in September 2019, the education service has now been included in the remit of the Improvement and Assurance Board which reports to The Welsh Government.

Dr Gwynne Jones, who retired as Isle of Anglesey County Council chief executive in October 2019, attended a board meeting in January.

There they discussed the Post Inspection Action Plan (PIAP) which is supposed to address all the concerns and recommendations highlighted by Estyn in its report.

Council chief executive Dr Caroline Turner, was assistant chief executive of the island authority working with Dr Jones, until she took the helm at Llandrindod Wells nearly a year ago.

Council leader Rosemarie Harris revealed the appointment at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

She said: “Since adding the education element we have invited Dr Gwynne Jones the former chief executive of Anglesey and an expert on education to join the board.”

Dr Gwynne Jones was the chief executive of Anglesey County Council from June 2015 to October 2019 and had previously spent three years as the authority’s director of lifelong learning.

Process

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Before joining Anglesey in April 2012, he had worked as Chief Executive of Cynnal – the curriculum and ICT support agency which works across Anglesey and Gwynedd in North West Wales.

He also served as head of schools at Gwynedd Council between 2003-2006.

In May, 2019, Dr Jones had to publicly apologise after admitting council officers failed to meet Welsh Government guidelines in recommending the closure of three primary schools on the island.

At the time the authority had to scrap the process, but this has now been restarted.

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The board was established in April 2018 to help Councillor Harris in “driving forward the required change and improvement in the local authority.”

This followed a critical report into children’s social services published by the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) in October 2017.

Chaired independently by the former chief executive of Swansea Council, Jack Straw, the board remit also covers, adult services, corporate and transformation activity.

In his report Mr Straw concluded: “Improvements have been made, particularly corporately and in children’s services.

“That said there remains much to be done and the challenge in coming months remains delivery at pace.”

Cabinet noted and approved the contents of the report.

Elgan Hearn

By Elgan Hearn
@ElganPowysLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Powys.

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