Wales

Powys health board repaying debts to county council

Elderly person holding a walking frame Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Most of the money owed to Powys adult services is down to the health board, a report said

A health board criticised for owing £6m to a local council says it has already paid off most of the debt.

Powys county councillors told their officers not to fear taking legal action to recover the money from Powys Teaching Health Board if necessary.

A spokesman for the health board said £4m had already been repaid with another £1m on the way.

Talks were taking place between the two bodies over the outstanding money, he added.

Senior council officers drew a distinction between historic debt and amounts temporarily owed from the normal course of business when the £6m debt was flagged up to councillors in an end-of-year financial report on adult social services.

Vanessa Young, corporate director of transformation, had told members that discussions over the debt had been open and that everyone was "keen to resolve the issue".

'Thousands of invoices'

A health board spokesman told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "We very much value our close relationship with Powys County Council.

"At any one time, and particularly at the end of the financial year, thousands of invoices move through the system of validation and authorisation before payment is made.

"We can confirm that of the amounts identified at the time of the writing of the committee report, £4m has already been processed and paid and a further £1m is being validated for payment.

"Any further amounts are being actively managed by the finance directors of the health board and the council."

The spokesman added the health board took "its responsibility to pay invoices on time very seriously while ensuring scrutiny of the accounting process".

Asked by the BBC why the health board owed money to the council, the spokesman said: "We have a number of pooled fund arrangements that are led by the county council including for example IT services, community equipment services for people in need of care and support, care home placements and community re-ablement services.

"Furthermore, the health board administers the Integrated Care Fund which is allocated by Welsh Government for services provided in partnership."

Health board chief executive Carol Shillabeer is to be invited to a future meeting of the council's health and social care scrutiny committee to face questions about the financial situation.

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