Issue - meetings
Wales Audit Office Corporate Assessment
- Enc. 1 for Wales Audit Office Corporate Assessment, item 87 PDF 445 KB
- Enc. 2 for Wales Audit Office Corporate Assessment, item 87 PDF 68 KB
That the Annual Improvement Plan be accepted, subject to an amendment to the response to proposal 5 and the response following consultation with the Audit Committee be endorsed with the addition of comments from this Committee.
The Chairman introduced Mr. Paul Goodlad from the Wales Audit Office (WAO) to the meeting. The Chief Executive explained that the report had previously been considered at Audit Committee, Cabinet and County Council.
Mr. Goodlad introduced the report to present the Annual Improvement Report of the Auditor General which for 2015 incorporated the first Corporate Assessment. He detailed the background to the report and explained that the Corporate Assessment had taken place in September 2014 but had included works undertaken both before and after this date. The report was cautiously positive about the new operating model which had been implemented around this time but emphasised that this would introduce a new set of challenges. The report had identified seven proposals for improvement but Mr. Goodlad indicated that no statutory recommendations had been made. In some areas the Council had recognised that it was under performing and corrective action had been taken, which he welcomed. He highlighted the use of task and finish groups to review Council’s approach to issues such as target setting but reports submitted to Overview & Scrutiny Committees were usually for noting which limited its contribution to the Council’s policies or priorities. Some areas of progress had been identified and he added that it was encouraging to see the way the Council had continued to identify improvements required and any corrective action that was needed. However, the assessment found considerable inconsistency in the quality of business and service planning to deliver the Council’s Improvement objectives. Some performance reports to Committees were too long and contained a large amount of detail and the Council had now implemented an ‘exception reporting’ format which highlighted only those areas where performance was worse than anticipated or where there were significant risks to future progress. Mr. Goodlad stated that the way progress was now summarised was much clearer.
Mr. Goodlad highlighted the second proposal about making improvements to the quality of reports to Committee and Cabinet. It was reported that the Council had sound structures and arrangements in place to support good governance, but some of its strategies and supporting documents were out of date. He explained that strategies were not well integrated in HR, ICT, Asset Management and People Strategies and therefore did not fully support the governance framework. Implications for budget savings were not always clear in all areas but work had been undertaken to ensure that budget planning was now clearer. He commented on Member development training which was not always well attended and the take-up of Member personal development reviews had not been a success. Mr. Goodlad spoke of the forward work programmes for Overview & Scrutiny Committees and commented that it was not always clear how they were influenced by corporate priorities, the Cabinet agenda or the corporate risk profile. The WAO now had more confidence in how the Medium Term Financial Plan was delivered following work undertaken by the Council. The assessment had also highlighted that the successful completion of the Single Status agreement and Equal Pay Review ... view the full minutes text for item 87