Pembrokeshire Council in ‘a very different place’ after Audit Wales report

PEMBROKESHIRE County Council “is now in a very different place” to when an Audit Wales report highlighted deficiencies in the wake of a £95,000 pay-off, members heard yesterday.

The Auditor General for Wales issued Pembrokeshire County Council with a Report in the Public Interest last January, which identified deficiencies in governance and decision making in relation to the way the council dealt with a £95,000 departure payment made to former chief executive Ian Westley.

The council later agreed an action plan that contained 74 actions to address recommendations arising from a number of reviews and reports.

A follow-up Audit Wales report has been received by the council, with an additional recommendation agreed at Pembrokeshire County Council’s July 13 meeting: “The council needs to assure itself and demonstrate that the actions it is taking to address the recommendations in our report in the public interest are sustainable and will achieve the intended impacts.”

A council report for members stated: “Audit Wales’ report shows that whilst the council is making progress, more work is required on ensuring the intended impacts of the actions are being achieved and will result in sustained improvement for the long-term.”

The council will need to make a formal response to Audit Wales additional recommendation by July 22, a draft response being agreed at the meeting.

The report for members concluded: “Whilst the report is generally positive and notes that progress is being made, it also notes that, as an organisation, we need to do more work on systems that will give us assurance that positive change has been embedded.”

Alison Lewis of Audit Wales told councillors the report was positive, adding the council needed to demonstrate continuing the changes was sustainable.

Councillor Neil Prior, who moved a recommendation the report be noted, said: “It obviously has been quite a journey and we’re clearly moving in the right direction.”

Members unanimously agreed to note the contents of Audit Wales’ Stage 1 follow-up for its Report in the Public Interest and adopt the response to its additional recommendation.

The Auditor General had made eight recommendations to the council covering: roles and responsibilities, member/officer relationships; decision making, termination payments, pay policy statement, procurement and use of external advisors, the council’s constitution, and adherence to the Nolan Principles of Public Life.


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