Welsh local authority qualified audit opinions double

15 Jan 19

The Welsh auditor general has said councils must “get a grip on financial management” as the number of qualified audit opinions has doubled in 2017-18.

Of the 730 town and community councils in Wales, 340 (46%) have ‘deficiencies’ – qualified audit opinion - in their accounts, according to Adrian Crompton’s annual report out today. It has gone up 170 from 2016-17.

Crompton said today: “Year after year, my auditors are uncovering deficiencies at town and community councils across Wales and the situation is worsening.

“This cannot continue. With rising incomes and increased responsibility, the sector needs to get a grip on financial management, now more than ever. My report needs to be read, digested, and acted upon – so that communities in Wales get the services and the assurance they rightly deserve.”

Town and community councils continue to manage increasing sums of money, and in 2017-18 they raised more than £48.5m in income and spent more than £47.4m, the auditor highlighted.

In eight instances, the auditor issued reports ‘in the public interest’ or made formal recommendations last year. The reasons for this included incomplete accounting records maintained by the clerk, lack of payroll records and ineffective or non-existent internal audit arrangements.

The report comes just a week after the National Audit Office found that 22% of local bodies in England were issued a qualified audit opinion in 2017-18.

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