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Scrutiny of Accounts 2016-17 – Public Accounts Committee report

07/02/2018

A National Assembly committee has published a report scrutinising the accounts of the Welsh Government, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, National Library for Wales, Arts Council for Wales, Sport Wales and the National Assembly for Wales Commission.

The Public Accounts Committee reports year on year improvement to the presentation and accessibility of annual reports and accounts by the public bodies it has scrutinised.

Nick Ramsay AM, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said:

“We have seen that robust and independent scrutiny is an important driver of transparent financial reporting and accountability. 

“The Public Accounts Committee has a crucial role in uncovering problems and mismanagement early on in order to make financial savings in the longer term. 

“We have a proactive role in not only challenging waste and inefficiency but also providing the checks and balances on how well organisations deliver services for the citizens they serve.”

The Committee makes 22 recommendations including the following:

Welsh Government:

- That the Welsh Government clearly demonstrates how its Performance Management systems are robust and produce tangible outputs;

- That information relating to the number of all Welsh Government staff earning over £100,000 within a year should be included in the Welsh Government’s consolidated accounts as well as included in the separately published pay policy.


Future Generations Commissioner for Wales:

- The Future Generations Commissioner for Wales revisit the disclosure of remuneration for senior staff, ensuring that it sets out information to enable the direct comparison of the level of remuneration paid to the directors within the Office of the Future Generations Commission for Wales and employed by other bodies;

- That the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales illustrates to the Committee the impact of her agile working environment and promotes any good practice she identifies.


Sport Wales:

- That Sport Wales undertakes to promote and protect access to all local authority owned sport facilities for all.

- That Sport Wales monitor the impact the promotion of 3G pitches has on access to local authority-owned pitches, sharing the outcomes of this monitoring with this Committee, and work to ensure that facilities remain as accessible to all as possible.


National Assembly for Wales Commission:

- That the Assembly Commission provided us with details of how its capacity review has tested staffing levels and provide details of how staff are deployed to deliver the Assembly Commissions priorities;

- That the Assembly Commission continues to carefully monitor staff absence levels including analysis of the causes of sickness absence to ensure these are managed appropriately.


Arts Council of Wales:

- The Committee is not content with the level of support the Arts Council of Wales is providing to support engagement with NEETs and recommend that the Arts Council review this support with a view to increasing it;

- The Committee is concerned that the role of Director of Finance at the Arts Council of Wales is now a part time post and we recommend that the Board of the Arts Council confirm that it is satisfied that responsibility for strategic financial oversight of the Council is being satisfactorily fulfilled within the organisation.


National Library of Wales:

- That the National Library for Wales reviews its pension scheme as a matter of urgency and provide assurances to the Committee that it can operate a scheme that is sustainable in the longer term given the continued austerity and pressures on public funding; and,

- The Committee is concerned that the National Library for Wales has not fully recognised the challenges and implications of declining future funding and we recommend that the National Library clearly set out in its scenario planning for the future how it intends to respond to this decrease in funding.

Read the report here

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