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THE rising cost of building materials has become “a concern” for Powys councillors as it could affect  building projects.

At a meeting of the Powys County Council’s cabinet on Tuesday, July 27 councillors discussed an update report on the strategic risk register.

During the first quarter of the 2021/21 the housing and community services department asked that the risk of rising build material costs be added to the register and classify its impact as “major.”

Finance portfolio holder, Cllr Aled Davies, explained that that the escalating costs could put pressure on the council’s finances.

“It’s recommended that we increase the risk level around that, ” said Cllr Davies.

Council leader, Cllr Rosemarie Harris said: “To me it’s a huge concern, as we have a big house building programme.

“As a local authority we have only just been allowed to start building council houses.”

She believed  the authority would find a way of “dealing” with the problem.

The report outlines a number of consequences to the rising costs, these include:

  • Work on site could be delayed due to material shortages.
  • Delay to schemes to allow material costs to come down and if this doesn’t happen quickly, possibly needing to use lower spec material.
  • Increasing tender prices for projects which could affect the financial viability of schemes as well as lowering the number of contractors who are able to submit bids.

The report adds that the situation will be “under constant review.”

Continued problems with the Welsh Community Care Information System (WCCIS) were also brought up at the meeting.

WCCIS is multimillion pound IT investment supplied by the Welsh Government to fully integrate health and social care in Wales.

Adult social care, Welsh and communications portfolio holder, Cllr Myfanwy Alexander said: “This remains a major concern, this is something that makes it harder for people to perform well.

“This system is failing on a regular basis as people use it, covid has not been the only thing we’re fighting against.”

Director, People & Organisational development, Ali Bulman said: “It’s the one thing that really does causes staff pressure and impacts their morale and motivation.

“We’ve had staff that have left quoting the use of this system as one of the main reasons they are leaving.”

Ms Bulman added that a number of meetings to discuss the problems had taken place with the system provider and the WCCIS national team, Welsh Government officials and the deputy minister (Julie Morgan MS.)

While work would to fix the software would continue, Ms Bulman said that other options needed to be considered including changing systems.

“It is becoming untenable for the service,” said Ms Bulman.

The cabinet voted to add the building material costs rising to the risk register and note the report.


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