Help to Buy – Wales Shared Equity Scheme »This shared equity loan will make up the shortfall between the purchase price of a property and the funding available to buyers through their cash deposit and mortgage offer.Learn more »
Enhanced rights for older people in Wales move a step closer
The Welsh Government has announced its plans for a public consultation on proposals for a Declaration of the Rights of Older People.
- “£200m boost will accelerate Wales’ school re-building programme and support 23,000 jobs” – Jane Hutt
- Poor being stigmatised by welfare debate
- Enhanced rights for older people in Wales move a step closer
- Alternatives to Waste Transfer Notes and other aspects of Waste Regulation
- Proposals concerning the publication of official statistics
- Consultation on Regional engagement partnership structures in the tourism sector
- Beyond 2011: Consultation on Census and future provision of population statistics in England and Wales
- M4 Corridor around Newport Consultation
- Undertaking fatal and non-fatal drug poisoning reviews in Wales
Featured consultation »New guidance for the Risk Assessment of Walked Routes to School
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In this section
Section highlightThe Housing (Wales) Bill
The Bill will introduce significant improvements across the housing sector to ensure that people have access to a decent, affordable home and better housing-related services.
Legislative programme 2013 - 2014 »
The First Minister detailed the 8 bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the 3rd year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightProject pipeline update - December 2013
This Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan annex highlights planned investments and potential procurement opportunities.
Final Budget 2014-15 »
The amount of funding allocated to Welsh Government Departments for 2014-15 is £14.9bn.Learn more »
- Statistics & Research
Oral - The Wales Audit Office Report into Anglesey Council
The Auditor General for Wales has today published his corporate governance inspection of Anglesey County Council.
The inspection describes a council where the political processes do not work effectively and have not done so for many years. I am not prepared to tolerate these failings and will accept the recommendation of the auditor general to intervene to ensure that the recommendations in the report are delivered in full.
The inspection followed a recommendation for a wider corporate governance inspection made by the council’s appointed auditor’s annual letter, published earlier this year. That letter did not make for comfortable reading. It concluded that the council had not taken effective action in response to many previous recommendations made by the Wales Audit Office. Specifically, at a service level, the authority has not made reasonable progress against a range of improvement actions. Corporate management was assessed as weak, and that had a substantial limiting impact on the council’s ability to offer improved services. Unified political and managerial leadership appeared to be absent, and the difficulties in working relationships between some executive members and senior officers were having a detrimental impact on the council’s ability to meet its best value duties. For these reasons it was recommended that the auditor general should carry out an inspection of the council’s corporate governance.
The corporate governance inspection is published today, and is the result of that further work. The auditor general has gathered evidence from a wide variety of stakeholders, including the public. In my view, the conclusions presented by the inspection are well founded and based in evidence. They reflect the views of citizens, elected members and officers.
I welcome the publication of the inspection report, but I very much regret its findings. Those who have had a chance to examine the document will agree that it is unprecedented in the nature of its criticism of the council. The report does, however, accept that'there are good features in the performance of many services’.
I pay tribute to the dedicated staff who have achieved that in difficult circumstances.
The criticism is different from what we have seen recently in other reports, in that it finds that there are clear failures in the corporate governance of the council rather than in services. Nevertheless, the prospects for delivering improved services for the future are far from positive, particularly in the challenging financial times ahead of us, and given the particular challenges that the island of Anglesey faces.
Overall, the report concludes that the council was and is failing to comply with Part I of the Local Government Act 1999. That means that it was not, and is not, making adequate arrangements to secure continuous improvement. That is a fundamental corporate responsibility for any local authority, and failure to discharge it is a grave matter.
Most notably, the poor self-regulation of inappropriate and unacceptable behaviours by the council has been found to have diverted attention from essential business. The inspection also found the council has been ineffective and reactive in dealing with its problems, and that it has not developed any convincing strategic direction. These behaviours, together with substantial internal conflict, as recorded by the inspection report, are endemic and long standing. Most importantly, this seems to have diverted valuable resources away from the provision and improvement of front-line services. As the auditor general acknowledges, poor corporate governance can all too quickly lead to failure in major services. I am not prepared to allow that to happen.
The identified failures run widely across the local authority. It is clear that the elected members have been part of the problem. They must be part of the solution. I expect them to engage constructively in the change process from today onwards. I will be also be looking to partners across the public sector to play their part, too. I have already contacted the political leadership of the Welsh Local Government Association, and I know that John Davies, the leader of the WLGA, and Russell Roberts, its deputy leader, are as greatly concerned as I am about the findings set out in this detailed report. Together, we will work with the association and other partners to address the recommendations and to seek to turnaround this situation. We will use whatever means we have to.
Public services face a testing time over the next few years. All organisations will need the most robust and high-performing corporate systems to support the effective delivery and continued improvement of services to the citizen. Citizens rely on their local councils for vital services, and we must not let them down. That includes the citizens of Anglesey. Without a major change in the current corporate and political arrangements in the council, as well as a new maturity in behaviour and relationships, there can be no effective identification of the real priorities for the island, no reasoned allocation of resources between them, no prospect of improvement in services, a real possibility of a drop in standards, and, at worst, service failures.
That is an indefensible situation for a council and, looking ahead, the position seems totally unsustainable. The auditor general recognises that and has recommended that the Assembly Government use its statutory powers under section 15 of the Local Government Act 1999 to intervene. I need to reflect carefully on the auditor general’s wider findings and recommendations before determining the exact form of intervention that will best restore stability and consistency to the council’s corporate governance. However, in principle, I agree with the auditor general’s recommendation. I will be meeting the council next week to discuss the report, and I will outline the details of the intervention that I intend to make in the next few weeks.