The Auditor General for Wales has made the following statement regarding the Public Accounts Committee's report on 'Accounting, Governance and Propriety issues at the Wales Audit Office'
"This thorough report effectively draws a line under a period of necessary, but difficult, public scrutiny of the Wales Audit Office in the wake of the resignation of Jeremy Colman. I have accepted all of its recommendations, as well as those made in previous reports, and I should like to pay tribute to my staff for the way they have conducted themselves over this period.
The Committee's report incorporates the findings of the independent review of the Wales Audit Office accounts that I commissioned from the National Audit Office. I have since put in place robust arrangements, in line with the Committee's recommendations, to ensure that the 2010-11 accounts are prepared in full accordance with accounting standards.
The report as a whole clearly shows that we have reached an important milestone in restoring full public confidence in the Wales Audit Office. However, it is unfortunate that the press release accompanying the report focuses on the slim possibility of further criminal prosecution of Mr Colman. As I have made clear to the Committee, the legal advice that I have received strongly suggests that the Committee's proposed action is unlikely to result in a successful prosecution.
I am confident that the Wales Audit Office continues to provide appropriate challenge and support to public bodies, so that the people of Wales receive more efficient and effective services. The new statutory powers available to the incoming Fourth National Assembly for Wales provide further scope to ensure our governance arrangements are exemplary and for what has been learned to be of enduring benefit."
Notes to Editors:
• The Wales Audit Office is independent of government and is responsible for the annual audit of some £20 billion of annual public expenditure. Its mission is to promote improvement, so that people in Wales benefit from accountable, well-managed public services that offer the best possible value for money. It is also committed to identify and spreading good practice across the Welsh public sector.