The Wales Audit Office has flawed governance arrangements that “lack the necessary checks and balances that would need to exist in well-run private or public sector organisations”, the country’s new auditor-general has said.
In his first week in office, Huw Vaughan Thomas said “improvements are urgently needed, to make [it] more open and accountable”.
The WAO audits councils and other public bodies in Wales. It is not affected by the government’s decision to abolish the Audit Commission.
Mr Vaughan Thomas said he would set up remuneration, resources, and audit and risk management committees.
“The key deficiency in the current governance arrangements is that they do not provide sufficient independent non-executive scrutiny of, or check across, the breadth of WAO activity,” he said.
“Crucially, the current arrangements contain the risk that the auditor general can initiate significant executive actions in the management of the Wales Audit Office without having these subjected to appropriate scrutiny.”
This followed a row last month after it emerged that former chief operating officer Anthony Snow received a £750,838.66 pay-off which was personally authorised by Mr Vaughan Thomas’ predecessor Jeremy Colman, who did not disclose the payment to the WAO’s management or executive committees.
Mr Colman resigned abruptly in February and was later charged with possessing indecent images, which he denies.