WAO slams town councils over weak financial management

1 Oct 14

Welsh town and community councils need to do more to address systemic weaknesses in financial management, according to the Wales Audit Office.

In a report issued today, the auditor general for Wales said the timeliness of the accounts was improving, but the number of qualified opinions was still too high. The report noted that auditors 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.

Although there had been a small decrease in the number of accounts being qualified, around 60% of  annual returns requires some form of amendment.

Huw Vaughan Thomas, auditor general for Wales, said: ‘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.’

New arrangements, which come into force next year in time for the 2015/16 audits, should help councils further improve their financial management and governance, the WAO said. Auditors will examine how councils set and monitor their budgets and how they use internal audit services.

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