Town and Community Councils not doing enough to improve financial management

1 Oct 2014 - 3:06pm

Urgent need to address systemic weaknesses, says Auditor General for Wales

Town and Community Councils are getting better at submitting their financial accounts on time, but they still need to improve the quality of the accounts they are submitting for audit. That is the conclusion of a report, published today, by the Auditor General for Wales.

While I am heartened to see a degree of improvement on last year, it is disappointing that there is still considerable scope for Town and Community councils to improve their financial management and governance arrangements. I urge them to read the contents of this report carefully in order to address the systemic weaknesses that are still apparent and which often lead to, avoidable, audit qualifications.

Huw Vaughan Thomas, Auditor General for Wales

The report found that, while there has been a small descrease in the number of accounts being qualified the number of qualified opinons is still too high and covers a wide range of issues. Auditors also had to make statutory recommendations at three councils in relation to their 2012-13 accounts – Banwy Community Council, St Florence Community Council and Kidwelly Town Council.

Limited progress has been made since an Auditor General report last year found significant problems with the quality of annual returns and supporting information provided to Appointed Auditors. This year, around 60 per cent of annual returns submitted for the 2012-13 period still required some form of amendment.

New arrangements will come into force next year, in time for the 2015-16 audits – to help councils further improve their financial management and governance. Local council auditors will examine how councils set and monitor budgets and look into how they use the services of internal audit.