Tweaks have been made to the set up of Powys' scrutiny committees

More councillors will be able to sit on Powys County Council’s Learning and Skills scrutiny committee in the near future.

In a series of changes to the constitution, the number of councillors who scrutinise education and schools in Powys will go up to 14.

The number of councillors on the committee had been curtailed to nine to allow five independent members representing school governors and religious denominations, to sit on the committee.

Head of legal and democratic services, Clive Pinney, explained the need for these changes at a meeting of the Democratic Services committee on Tuesday, April 20.

Mr Pinney said: “It has been suggested that council reconsiders the number of members who sit on the various scrutiny committees, with the exception of the Audit Committee, scrutiny committees are 14 members inclusive of lay or independent members.”

“It’s been considered that the reduced number of democratically elected members (on committees) is a concern.

“I have spoken to the chair of the Learning and Skill committee (Cllr Pete Roberts) who suffers the most from this issue and has confirmed to me that he’s happy with the recommendation which is set out in the report.

“The recommendation is that the committees become 14, plus any independent or lay members to increase the number of county councillors on those committees.”

Councillor Daniel Rowlands added that it already had been discussed and agreed by Cllr Roberts, “he was happy” with the recommendation.

It was also revealed at the meeting the Audit committee has already become the Governance and Audit committee.

This change was needed as it is a requirement of the Local Government and Elections Act (Wales) 2021 comes into force on May 1 and all Welsh local authorities will have a “Governance and Audit Committee.”

This means that the. Economy, Residents Communities and Governance scrutiny committee is supposed to lose the “Governance” part of it’s title and will become Economy Residents and Communities scrutiny committee.

Mr Pinney, said that the name for ERCG is a “bit of a mouthful in itself” but this was not driving the change.

Mr Pinney said: “It will be really ambiguous and confusing if we had two scrutiny committees which had the word governance in the title.

“This has been discussed with the chair of the committee (Cllr Mathew Dorrance), he agrees with it.

“It’s a minor amendment and we had no option but to do it because the Act says we must do it.”

The changes will go to a full council meeting on Friday, April 30 for a decision.

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