Failures in governance and financial management at more community councils

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 3:19pm

Reports in the public interest issued by the Auditor General for Wales highlight failures in three community councils to meet required standards

The Auditor General for Wales has published reports in the public interest highlighting failures in governance arrangements and inadequacies in financial management at three community councils – Cadfarch, Glantwymyn and Llanbrynmair.

Similar issues were identified at each of the councils. Typically, these were:

  • Failure to submit annual accounts for audit in accordance with the statutory timetable;
  • Insufficient evidence to confirm whether or not proper arrangements have been made for the exercise of electors’ rights;
  • Failure to properly administer payroll and PAYE;
  • Failure to properly prepare a budget;
  • Failure to maintain an adequate and effective system of internal audit;
  • Failure to keep 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; and
  • Not all necessary documents have been published on the council website.

These three councils were all dependent on the same key person which impacted on the delivery of the statutory requirements for these councils. Each report makes several similar recommendations to the councils to help improve governance, financial management and reporting.

Adrian Crompton, Auditor General said:

“The issues identified in these reports highlight the reliance that councils place on a single individual. 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.

“There are some 735 local town and community councils in Wales. The vast majority work to a very high standard. 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 here.”