Special meeting to discuss council's Highways department and audit findings

A special meeting of Powys Council is to look at issues affecting Powys County Council’s Highways department.

Dr Caroline Turner
Dr Caroline Turner

At a meeting of the council’s Audit and Governance committee members were told of the findings of a number of investigations by the council’s internal auditors, SWAP.

Councillor Graham Breeze: “I was alarmed when I read the report and the recommendations regarding the auditing process for the ordering of goods such as tarmac in particular.

“Members would be aware that we have had an ongoing situation which has led to disciplinary matters taking place.

“I’m alarmed this council has not taken the action to make sure there is no repetition of what we had discovered.

Committee chairwoman, Lynne Hamilton said: “I found it a tough read and it’s a challenging set of audit judgements.

“I propose that the committee has a single agenda meeting to go through these matters in detail.”

Ms Hamilton says she believed that a working group could be set up following the meeting to seek assurance and scrutinise a recovery plan for Highways.

Councillor Breeze said: "I welcome the suggestion we dive deeper into this.”

Powys chief executive Dr Caroline Turner explained that the internal audit reports were commissioned by the head of service, Matt Perry, shortly after he arrived at the authority two years ago.

Dr Turner said: “Some of these matters came to light really quite early when he took up his post.

“It has taken time to get the proper resources to support the head of service to address some of these long-standing issues, but that is now in place.”

Now that the reports had been completed Dr Turner told the committee that Mr Perry was now forming an action plan to deal with the problems.

She wanted the committee to allow Mr Perry the opportunity of presenting his action plan which, she said clearly states how the department is addressing all of the numerous recommendations.

Dr Turner said: “They are addressing long standing cultural issues in the service, it’s not something that could be turned around overnight.”

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