Agenda item

Audit Wales Governance and Audit Committee Reports


This report was introduced by an Audit Manager from Audit Wales (AW).


She noted that performance audit colleagues had been unable to join the meeting. They had provided her with notes, and she would try to answer questions. If necessary, she might have to refer back to colleagues to provide Members with answers to particular queries.


She indicated that the attached report was a quarterly update from 30th June and that the September update would be published shortly.

On the financial audit work, the audit of the Council’s statement of accounts was ongoing and it was hoped they would be complete by the end of January.


In terms of grant returns, these are ongoing and not completed. Errors were noted, including Non Domestic Rates (NDR) and the teachers’ pension. That work was ongoing and not complete, and the housing benefit work would follow. She did not think they were going to make the DWP’s usual deadline, and AW are in correspondence with them centrally to let them know that, so there should not be any sort of implications in terms of withholding subsidy.


In terms of performance audits, she indicated that, in terms of the capital programme management work, they had undertaken this work at one local authority but had now decided not to do this as part of their work this year. They would defer it to next year or the year after.


In terms of performance information, they had finished work on this and had recently issued the final report to the Council. This piece of work was undertaken at all local authorities, so a national summary report would be published.


In regard to work for 2023-24, Audit Wales was planning to undertake two thematic reviews. These would involve all local authorities, so it would be possible to benchmark performance. This work was being scoped and the timescales were not confirmed. They were also scoping a local piece of work.

In respect of local government studies work, they recently published a report: ‘Cracks in the Foundations’ – Building Safety in Wales.

In terms of the Corporate Joint Committees, they had issued separate letters to each of them, and a summary report would be published in October.


Members noted and drew attention to a number of issues in response to the report:


  • The timeliness and availability of reports and whether they could be made available to members as they were published and not have to wait for them to be presented at the next available committee meeting.
  • In particular, given the building safety issue involving the Rhiw Market, the AW report would have been extremely useful. The Chairperson drew further attention to this by asking whether the issue of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) had been picked up in the building safety report.  He thought it would be useful to receive an update at the November meeting on how this issue is being picked up by AW.
  • The issue of tourism in the county. The representative from AW indicated she would refer this back to her colleagues for an update.
  • The review of the governance of Fire and Rescue Services in Wales and the importance for BCBC of keeping track of the way Members are appointed.
  • The usefulness of the AW blogs and the fact they have dried up recently.
  • In terms of the work on capital programme management, a member asked about the scope and suggested there was an opportunity to influence whether it would be possible to look beyond the sector to utilities or other regulated sectors.


The Chairperson concluded this agenda item by drawing attention to two issues:


  • He expressed his concern that the audit opinion for the accounts would not come out until the end of January.
  • He noted the performance audit work regarding the thematic review of the financial stability of the authority. He wondered what the Auditor General’s view was as to the number of English authorities being declared bankrupt and the indication that a number of Welsh Authorities are facing significant finanical pressures in the coming years. In response, members discussed the very difficult decisions that will need to be made to produce a balanced budget this year, the increase in pressures on social care and the additional responsibilities, especially in England, that the government has put on local authorities, and the risks associated with equal pay settlements for discrimination, like that in Birmingham. A member asked if it might be possible to receive, in writing, an analysis of the size of the risk BCBC might be carrying in respect of that type of judgement.



The Committee noted the Audit Wales Governance and Audit Committee Report at Appendix A.

Supporting documents: