Wales audit model proves effective in following the public pound across the tiers of government

10 Apr 2014 - 12:54pm

The Wales Audit Office is in a strong position to support improvement and to promote assurance as well as audit collaborative arrangements across sectors, says Huw Vaughan Thomas, Auditor General for Wales.

Public services in Wales benefit from consistency in the country’s audit arrangements, says Huw Vaughan Thomas, Auditor General for Wales in a new report from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) called Breaking out: public audit’s new role in a post-crash world [PDF 445KB opens in new window].

Speaking about the role of the Wales Audit Office, Huw Vaughan Thomas asserts that public audit is very much part of the whole and is strongly placed to follow the public pound across all tiers of government. He says:

We have a collaborative approach that brings greater benefits to the public. This ensures that Wales’ public service ethos is entirely complemented by arrangements for public audit. These close working relationships require public audit to engage with inspectors and regulators and this will continue to strengthen our connectedness to service users and increase the impact of common improvement themes.

The collection of expert’s essays included in Breaking Out offer an upbeat reflection of the auditor’s role in accountability and improving public service from Australia to Jamaica, Scotland to Bhutan. The writers also speak about improving public engagement and strengthening scrutiny and public service effectiveness.

Ben Cottam, Head of ACCA Wales, says: “With the recent announcement of certain tax and borrowing powers being devolved to the Welsh Government as a result of the recommendation of the Silk Commission, public audit’s role in understanding how this money is spent is important. As taxpayers, this public scrutiny is vital.”

Gillian Fawcett, ACCA’s Head of Public Sector and a fellow contributor to the report, said: “As the boundaries of public service widen, the role of the public audit will be ever more crucial in providing assurance and challenge the way public money is spent and accounted for.

“Wales, like the rest of the UK, is grappling with the imperative to overcome inertia and resistance to change and auditors are key to securing public confidence as services are transformed for the post financial crisis era.”

Mr Vaughan Thomas concludes: “Good governance, accountability and transparency are a cornerstone of the Welsh Government’s approach to improving public services. Wales is a small country with big ambitions for its people. It has hurdles to leap. But our team ethos is strong. Our evidence is that public audit is a trusted, respected and independent partner in delivering shared national objectives and in supporting improvement in our public bodies.”