Covid makes criticising council's performance 'almost impossible'

Criticising Powys County Council work in 2020/21 is “almost impossible” because of its efforts in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, a councillor has said.

Councillor Peter Roberts
Councillor Peter Roberts

At a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, councillors discussed the annual performance report, which compares how the council performed, to a number of objectives set under the umbrella of the Vision 2025 Corporate Improvement Plan.

Deputy head of transformation and communications, Catherine James said: “The report is slightly different this year, it includes the work we have done in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

She added that publishing the report is a legal requirement and that an updated final version would be “complete” before the item goes to a full council meeting.

A joint scrutiny working group, had looked at the report and provided several recommendations.

Councillor Peter Roberts, who chaired the working group, said: “It was very difficult to look at this year as there were so many gaps in the information through no fault of the council with it being reliant on so many external indicators that have not been collected due to Covid.”

He commended staff being allowed to update the report and highlight where Covid had been a negative factor to performance.

Councillor Roberts said: “There were examples of areas which appeared to be going backwards, but upon discussion it became apparent that staff had been redeployed to other more business critical operations.

“It was a year where it was almost impossible to be critical of the council performance because the council had been tackling extraordinary circumstances quite successfully.”

Councillor Harris thanked him for his “very fair comments” and acknowledging that it has been a difficult year for all the services.

Portfolio holder, for Adult Social Care, Welsh and Communications, Councillor Myfanwy Alexander said: “I would be extremely proud of the workers in adult social care if they had done nothing but keep people safe from covid.

“But I think it’s worth noting this report shows what else they did.

“While coming out of regulatory intervention and fighting a pandemic they continued to transform the service.

“They should be proud of themselves to achieve one, but all three is a remarkable performance.”

The report was approved by cabinet and its recommendation of approval will now go to a full council meeting on Thursday, July 15.

The Vision 2025 objectives are to "develop a vibrant economy, providing effective, integrated health and care in a rural environment, strengthen learning and skills and support residents and communities".

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