WAO issues public interest reports on three community councils

12 Dec 18

The auditor general for Wales has issued public interest reports highlighting failures in financial management and governance at three community councils.

Adrian Crompton said town and community councils needed to be fully aware of their statutory duties and it was “disappointing” that a “small but persistent” number do not meet the standards expected of public bodies and officials.

The three councils concerned are: Cadfarch, Glantwymyn and Llanbrynmair, all of which are in Powys.

Similar problems were identified at all three and included failures on accounts submission, payroll administration, budget preparation and internal audit.

Minutes were also not kept in the form prescribed by law and there was failure to comply with legal duties to adopt a code of conduct for members and maintain a register of members’ interests.

All three councils were dependent on the same person, which affected the delivery of these statutory requirements.

“There are important lessons which all community councils can learn from the failures at these three councils,” Crompton said.

“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 today.”

There are 735 town and community councils in Wales, although not every area of the country is served by one.  

They are the lowest level of local government, sometimes serving populations of less than 200 people, although others serve much larger towns.

In October this year, an independent review panel recommended that town and community councils be established across Wales, taking responsibility for ‘place-based’ services, such as bus shelters, local highways and footpaths, public toilets, markets, libraries and arts centres.

It also recommended that all town and community council clerks hold a professional qualification and that councillors should receive mandatory training.

  • Vivienne Russell

    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and publicfinance.co.uk

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