William Eichler 12 December 2018

Auditor criticises Welsh community councils

Three community councils in Wales have been criticised for failures in governance arrangements and inadequacies in financial management.

The Auditor General for Wales has today published reports which highlight similar issues in Cadfarch, Glantwymyn and Llanbrynmair community councils.

All three failed to submit annual accounts for audit in accordance with the statutory timetable, the Auditor General Adrian Crompton found.

The report also noted there was insufficient evidence to confirm whether or not proper arrangements had been made for the exercise of electors’ rights.

There had also been a failure by the three councils to properly administer payroll and PAYE and to properly prepare a budget.

‘The issues identified in these reports highlight the reliance that councils place on a single individual,’ said Mr Crompton.

‘Councils need to be fully aware of their statutory duties and take appropriate action to ensure they are always carried out.

‘There are important lessons which all community councils can learn from the failures at these three councils.’

Mr Crompton warned that there had been a failure to maintain an adequate and effective system of internal audit.

His audit also revealed that none of the councils had kept minutes of meetings in the form prescribed by law.

Failure to comply with legal duties to adopt a Code of Conduct for members and to maintain a register of members’ interests was also noted and not all necessary documents had been published on the council websites.

‘There are some 735 local town and community councils in Wales. The vast majority work to a very high standard,’ said Mr Crompton.

‘It is disappointing, therefore, that a relatively small but persistent number do not meet the standard expected of public bodies and officials.

‘The public need to be assured that town and community councils have proper governance arrangements in place to manage the activities of the council both financially and administratively.

‘I continue to consider reports in the public interest on several other community councils for similar reasons to those reported today.’

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