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22  June

Tories expect to hold senior council posts

14/05/2024 @ 06:29


By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

The Conservative group at Powys County Council expect to continue chairing two scrutiny committees, despite no longer being the biggest opposition group in county hall and only qualifying to chair one.

Last week councillors on the Independent and Independents for Powys groups announced they would merge to form the Powys Independent group to become the biggest opposition group at the council, overtaking the Conservatives.

Ahead of the council’s annual meeting this Thursday, council staff have been busy re-calculating how many councillors from each group get to sit on each committee.

Committee seats are shared out depending on how many councillors are in a group – the biggest get more seats and so on. The same is true of scrutiny committee chairs.

The set up for the last two years has seen the Conservatives’ Cllr Gwynfor Thomas serving as chairman the Learning and Skills scrutiny committee, and Cllr Amanda Jenner as chairwoman of the Health and Care scrutiny committee.

Cllr Thomas was allowed to hold the role last year thanks to an agreement with the Independent group who under the rules could have installed one of their own to the role.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Angela Davies is the chairwoman of the Economy, Residents and Communities scrutiny committee.

Head of Legal and Monitoring Officer, Clive Pinney, said: “The chairs of the three scrutiny committees must be appointed by full council.”

This year, under the rules, the executive group (Liberal Democrats) is allowed to have one scrutiny chair with the Powys Independents allowed one and the other going to the Conservatives.

Conservatives leader, Cllr Aled Davies, said: “The Conservative group will be entitled to one scrutiny chair as before.

“Cllr Gwynfor Thomas, who has been doing an outstanding job as chair of Learning and Skills, has been appointed to his position by the Independent group, I expect that agreement to continue.

“I am very proud of the Conservative contribution to scrutiny in difficult circumstances which has seen a reduction in the number of councillors on committees.”

The Conservatives do chair several other council committees.

The Finance Panel is chaired by Cllr Davies, the Planning, Taxi Licensing and Rights of Ways committee is chaired by Cllr Karl Lewis, while the Pensions and Investment committee is chaired by Cllr Peter Lewis.

These roles are decided by the individual committees in a vote when they next meet following the council’s annual meeting.