William Eichler 26 January 2018

Welsh councils must improve financial management, auditors say

Local authorities in Wales need to improve the governance and financial management arrangements they have in place, Auditor concludes.

The Auditor General of Wales has found that although there has been some improvement in governance arrangements, too many council are failing to comply with the statutory timetable for preparing accounts.

According to the Auditor’s annual report into financial management and governance in local authorities, over 80 councils failed to meet the statutory deadline for accounts in 2016-17.

Councils also frequently submitted annual returns that are incomplete or contain simple errors.

The report also found there was a lot of variation between councils when it came to governance arrangements.

‘Significant numbers’ of authorities demonstrated a lack of understanding of the governance framework they operated in, the report states.

It also found that not all councils were complying with their statutory responsibilities, such as having evidence of a code of conduct for members.

‘Although town and community councils have made progress to improve their governance and management arrangements, many are still failing to publish their audited annual accounts in a timely way, and there are still too many receiving qualified audit opinions,’ said Auditor General, Huw Vaughan-Thomas.

‘As their revenues continue to increase, it important that councils improve their governance arrangements, and ensure their members adopt and comply with a code of conduct, so that they fully understand and comply with their statutory responsibilities.'

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