National Assembly Committee agrees general principles of Public Audit (Wales) Bill
23 November 2012
The National Assembly for Wales’s Public Accounts Committee has agreed the general principles of the Public Audit (Wales) Bill, subject to certain changes being made to the Bill. Further to this, the Committee recommended that issues relating to WAO staff transfer arrangements, taxation and participation in the National Fraud Initiative are resolved in advance of the Bill proceeding to the next stage in the legislative process.
The objective of the Bill is to strengthen and improve the accountability and governance arrangements relating to the Auditor General for Wales (AGW) and the Wales Audit Office (WAO).
But while the Public Accounts Committee agreed with the Bill’s general principles, it also stressed that the Auditor General should continue to be an independent statutory office- holder who is personally responsible and accountable to the Assembly. The Committee recommended a number of amendments to the Bill in order to safeguard this position, based on specific concerns raised by stakeholders about key provisions in the Bill. These amendments relate to the governance model proposed in the Bill and the size and composition of the WAO executive board.
“The committee recognises the objectives behind this Bill and the general support for it during our deliberations," said Darren Millar AM, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee.
"The actions of a former Auditor General clearly demonstrated a need for the position to have both sufficient support and robust financial scrutiny.
"But while the Committee has agreed the general principles of the Bill it has also made recommendations which will ensure that, amongst other things, the position's independence to carry out duties placed upon it and its accountability to the National Assembly will continue.”
The Bill and the Committee's recommendations will now be debated by the National Assembly during Plenary.
Public Accounts Committee