Wales Audit Office saves £1m
By Vivienne Russell | 27 July 2012
The Wales Audit Office last year shaved £1m off its operating costs, and increased its income by £1.4m, according to its annual report and accounts.
Published today, the documents reveal that in 2011/12 the WAO reported on the accounts of more than 800 public bodies, produced eight national value-for-money reports, published 28 annual improvement reports for local authorities and carried out structured assessments for health boards and NHS trusts.
Huw Vaughan Thomas, auditor general for Wales, said 2011/12 had been an ‘encouraging year’ for the watchdog. ‘While there are challenges still to be faced, there is much to confirm we are supporting public services in Wales, and providing valued and independent assurance to citizens,’ he said.
‘Just as other public bodies grapple with the need to make resources go further, we will continue to seek to do more with less, working harder as well as smarter.’
Vaughan Thomas also took the opportunity to reiterate his concerns over the Public Audit Wales Bill. Responding to the consultation on the draft Bill in May, the auditor general said it was ‘over-prescriptive and unbalanced’.
The final version of the Bill was introduced to the Welsh Assembly on July 9. In a written statement, Finance Minister Jane Hutt said it would ‘strike an effective balance between greater transparency in the auditor general’s deployment of public resources, while ensuring that the independence of the office of the auditor general is not constrained’.
Speaking today, Vaughan Thomas said: ‘Whilst I welcome the intention behind the Bill there are elements within it that need further work to ensure that audit independence and employee rights are properly safeguarded.’