A FOLLOW up report into a review of Ceredigion’s planning service by Audit Wales has found the Council is making swift progress in delivering improvements to the service.
The report follows Audit Wales’ review of the Council’s planning service in 2021 which identified longstanding weaknesses in the Council’s Development Management Committee’s governance arrangements.
Auditors worked closely with the Council to identify areas for attention and improvement which has enabled it to move quickly to respond to and implement many of the Auditor General’s recommendations.
The follow up audit published today recognises the progress the Council has made, notably by introducing several changes to the governance arrangements supporting its Development Management Committee.
It also provides further recommendations which include refinements to site inspection processes and arrangements to ensure that the Development Management Committee is focused on strategically important applications.
Adrian Crompton, Auditor General for Wales, said: “It is reassuring to see the Council has responded constructively and taken swift action in addressing the original recommendations and has used the opportunity to work closely with my auditors to begin delivering the improvements required.
“We recognise the importance of working collaboratively and constructively with audited bodies. I hope that we build on this relationship as the Council continues to implement our recommendations and further refine its Development Management Committee procedures and governance arrangements.”
Eifion Evans, Chief Executive of Ceredigion County Council, said: “We as a planning authority saw significant benefits in a short period of time by working closely and collaboratively with the Audit Wales team.
“Areas for attention and improvement were identified early on in the work and auditors worked closely with senior officers of the authority to identify the correct pathway to improvement.
“The process followed ensured everyone understood the need for improvement but more importantly how this could be achieved in a short period of time. There was regular and open dialogue with the auditors and subsequently rapid improvements were made by the authority.
“Ceredigion County Council acknowledge and thank the auditors for working in a constructive manner with the authority. The success of this working arrangement has provided an excellent model of collaboration for the future. The co-construction of an improvement plan and delivery model that addresses the fundamental issues identified at the start of the programme provided the most effective outcomes possible in the shortest of timeframes.”