Torfaen closes accounts in record time under WGA push

28 Jul 15

Torfaen County Borough Council has closed its accounts for 2014/15 in record time for Wales as part of UK government efforts for local bodies to quicken sign-off in order to improve the timeliness of the Whole of Government Accounts.

It was today confirmed the authority’s audited accounts had been approved a full 10 weeks before the current 30 September cut off, meeting an early closure target that the Treasury wants to see all local public organisations to move towards.

This is intended to help speed up the annual publication of the WGA, which is dependent on public bodies in Wales being able to submit prompt and accurate returns to the Welsh Government.

The faster closure is also designed to improve financial management in the public sector by supporting improvements in resource management, decision-making and risk management.

David Lilly, head of financial services at Torfaen council, said: “We are very pleased to be able release our audited financial accounts so quickly. This information is vital for us in making the right decisions for the people of Torfaen.

“Having a clearer view of our finances means we can ensure that resources are used where they are needed most and we can do so with confidence.”

Congratulating the authority, Auditor General for Wales Huw Vaughan Thomas said the Wales Audit Office was supporting more than 800 public bodies in Wales to produce timely financial reporting.
It was very encouraging to see how Torfaen council had responded to this challenge, he stated.

“The importance of producing timely accounts will become even more vital when the Welsh Government starts producing whole of Government accounts so we are hopeful that other councils in Wales will follow Torfaen’s lead,” he said.

Grant Thornton, the appointed auditors for Torfaen council, had begun work with the authority early to identify any potential challenges and solutions that may be faced, the WAO said.

The Wales Audit Office’s Good Practice Exchange team will be running an event later this year to share the lessons learned from Torfaen and authorities in England, where Westminster City Council set the record for account closures on May 18 this year.

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