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Transparency and value for money key to people’s confidence in public bodies – says National Assembly committee

18/12/2015

Transparency, accessibility and value for money are key to people’s confidence when it comes to public organisations, according to a National Assembly committee.

The Public Accounts Committee has reviewed the accounts for five such bodies:

In each case the Committee found that there had been improvements to the way that body presented its accounts and that previous advice and recommendations from the Committee and other organisations had been taken on board.

The Committee also outlined concerns it had with each organisation.

It has questioned the National Library for Wales’s approach to its pursuit of litigation against the contractors responsible for a fire at the Library in April 2013, as it doesn’t believe the possible legal costs balanced against likely compensation demonstrate value for money.

The Committee commented on National Museum Wales’s generous pension and severance scheme which Members felt was at odds with a dispute over pay and conditions between management and frontline staff.

The National Assembly for Wales Commission was praised for its traffic light system of showing performance at a glance, but the Committee was disappointed to learn that only a fraction of £100, 000 lost in a fraud incident in 2013-14 had been recovered.

The Committee highlighted the importance of diversity for Sport Wales’s Board and welcomed the work already being undertaken to address this issue.

The Welsh Government had not taken on the Committee’s previous recommendation to improve the presentation of its accounts, but Members noted its intention to do so.

The Committee also recommended that the Welsh Government review its approach to energy consumption, and raised concerns about the approach to project management and the processes in place for reviewing contracts prior to their expiration.

“People need to have confidence that the public bodies charged with carrying out the many services we need in Wales are delivering effectively and getting value for money,” said Darren Millar AM, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee.

“To do that a public organisation’s accounts need to be easily accessible and transparent. Only then can people see exactly how these bodies are working for them and delivering quality services in a cost effective way.

“We have made a number of cross-cutting recommendations in our report around issues of transparency and governance, as well as more specific points for each organisation we examined.”

Public Accounts Committee Report - Scrutiny of Accounts 2014-15 (PDF, 651)

More information about the Public Accounts Committee

Images sourced from Wikipedia.

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