William Eichler 31 January 2017

Welsh community councils receiving ‘worrying’ amount of qualified audit opinions

Too many Welsh community councils are receiving ‘avoidable’ qualified audit opinions, auditors say.

A report from the Auditor General for Wales, published today, found over 200 councils (30%) received a qualified audit opinion on their 2015/16 accounts.

The Auditor General concluded that there was scope to further develop and improve the financial management and governance of Wales’ 735 community councils, particularly in regards to the quality of financial reporting.

They need to improve the timeliness in the way they prepare accounts and the quality of those accounts, he said.

This is made even more relevant as county councils look to transfer more assets over to community councils, who currently are responsible for over £43m of public money.

‘The accountability and scrutiny that comes with the use of public money is growing ever tighter,’ said the Auditor General for Wales, Huw Vaughan Thomas.

‘Community councils are responsible for over £43m worth of funds and are likely to be devolved more responsibilities.

‘It is worrying to see that a number of councils have qualified opinions which are easily avoidable and I would urge them to undertake an investigation into their current practice to ensure they are compliant with their legal requirements before the 2016-17 audit reviews.’

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