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Accounts Scrutiny – What’s it all about?
Published 04/10/2018   |   Last Updated 04/10/2018
The Public Accounts Committee will spend a significant part of the Autumn term undertaking accounts scrutiny for the Welsh Government, National Assembly for Wales Commission, Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, and the National Museums Wales. What is Account Scrutiny? The annual scrutiny of accounts by the Public Accounts Committee involves the consideration of the accounts and annual reports of different public funded bodies, to consider see whether there are any unusual or unclear items of expenditure of public money. In addition to looking at how these organisations spend money, the Committee also considers how they are run and whether their governance arrangements are appropriate and accountable. Why do it? Although this approach can appear a little dull, this is an important piece of work because it ensures that there is scrutiny of how public money is being spent. It also provides an opportunity to hold to account those tasked with the responsibility of overseeing the expenditure of public money. Accounts and Annual reports not only provide an important snapshot of the financial health of these publicly funded organisations they also tell a story about how the organisation is being run and whether there are robust governance structures and working practices in place or not. By undertaking this scrutiny annually, the Committee has been able to build a deterrence factor into its work, with organisations responsible for spending our money knowing they could be called before the Committee to face public scrutiny. Does it work? The Committee has been doing this work for a number of years now, and generally we have seen an improvement in the information available, and in ensuring that it is more accessible. In particular, many organisations have risen to the challenge of presenting this often complex information in a more understandable format. In addition to the more general improvements, the Committee has also brought to light a number of areas of concern which have been subject to greater scrutiny and ultimately an improvement in practices – and have generated media coverage such as: