Committee raises concerns about early closure of local government accounts
The National Assembly for Wales’ Finance Committee has raised concerns that early closure of local government accounts may create an unsustainable amount of additional work for the Wales Audit Office.
Whilst the requirement from the Treasury for early closure of local government accounts doesn’t formally happen until 2020-2021, the WAO are working with local authorities across Wales to put steps in place to ensure a smooth transition.
The Finance Committee raised their concerns in a report examining the Wales Audit Office Estimate for 2018-19.
The Committee recognised that a number of important initiatives are taking place within the WAO, including a reduction in sickness levels, increasing the number of female employees and extending an existing graduate scheme to support apprentices. However, the Committee recommended that the WAO should consider how the apprenticeship and graduate scheme could provide opportunities for young people in hard to reach communities in Wales.
The Committee also recognised the steps being taken by the Board and the Auditor General for Wales to improve the culture of the Wales Audit Office.
Simon Thomas AM, Chair of the Finance Committee, said: “We have recommended that the Auditor General for Wales and the Wales Audit Office continue to highlight the concerns they have raised relating to the early closure of local government accounts.
“The WAO told us of one local authority where the WAO are currently auditing version 14 of one local authority’s 2015-16 accounts; we are concerned this could impact how the WAO use its resources in future years.”
The Public Service Ombudsman for Wales’ Estimate will now be considered by the National Assembly for Wales, as part of the annual Budget Motion.