Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Prospects of a sustainable recovery by August 2011 are poor, says the Auditor General.


Below is the press release and full report from the Welsh Audit Office. In essence it makes the following six recommendations:

  1. That WAG sends in the Commissioners
  2. That WAG retains the right to appoint an Interim MD, but better define the functions of the job and make it more accountable
  3. In the event that any statutory posts become vacant (e.g. Monitoring Officer) that WAG be responsible for appointing a successor
  4. That the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales re-examine their proposals reducing the number of councillors and introducing multi-member wards in order to bring about "democratic renewal".
  5. If the Boundary Commission is not able to do this by the next scheduled local elections in 2012, WAG should delay the elections on Ynys Môn until 2013
  6. WAG should consider holding a referendum on Ynys Môn for the appointment of an elected mayor.
The BBC report is here.

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Welsh Ministers intervention in 2009 has not succeeded in producing a sustainable recovery from the Isle of Anglesey County Council's long history of weak governance, and stronger intervention is necessary. This is the conclusion of the Auditor General's Corporate Governance Re-inspection report, which is published today, and which concludes that the Council's prospects of achieving a full and sustainable recovery by August 2011 are poor and prospects of doing so by May 2012 ahead of local council elections are uncertain.
The Minister for Social Justice and Local Government requested the Auditor General to re-inspect the Council in February 2011. He asked for an urgent assessment of the situation at the Council and the progress it has made to date in addressing the findings of the Auditor Generals 2009 Corporate Governance Inspection report.
The inspection found that, although there has been progress since 2009, conflict  is once again having a corrosive effect that seriously jeopardises service delivery. Instability and uncertainty have affected staff morale and the prospects for greater collaborative work with neighbouring Gwynedd Council. Instability is also distracting staff and councillors from delivering the ambitious programme of improvement that the Council has set for itself in its Corporate Plan.
Following the Ministerial intervention in 2009, a number of positive changes and learning opportunities have arisen for staff and councillors. The Recovery Board appointed by the Minister, has brought a diverse range of expertise and experience to the Council, and has provided valuable insight as well as monitoring the Council's progress and regularly reporting this to the Minister.
The Council has taken significant steps to improve consistency in its approach to corporate issues, but the inspection found that these changes have not yet been embedded. There has also been progress in ensuring a consistent approach across the Council in business planning, project and programme management and performance management but the Council acknowledges that more work is needed to make sure that the changes are implemented in full, and that they bring about the intended improvements.
But, despite the progress the Council has made, events in the early part of 2011 suggest that the efforts of the Recovery Board and the Interim Managing Director have ultimately proved unsuccessful in resolving the Council's underlying weaknesses of corporate governance. The re-inspection found that the pursuit of power for its own sake or for the advantages that it can bring to individuals or the wards they represent has once again emerged. The report suggests that the Council's lack of diversity contributes to this culture and also deters new blood from standing for election.
The overall conclusion of the re-inspection is that, in order to improve the Council's prospects of recovery, Ministers should continue to intervene in the running of the Council and should strengthen the terms of their intervention.
The Auditor General makes a number of recommendations for Ministers to consider including:

  • Welsh Ministers should direct that the executive functions of the Council be exercised by commissioners appointed by them.
  • Welsh Ministers should retain the power to appoint an Interim Managing Director, but give greater clarity in the terms of reference for the post and in defining the accountability of the post holder.
  • If any of the Council's other statutory officer posts become vacant during the period of Intervention, then the function of appointing should be exercised by the Commissioners.
  • Welsh Ministers should direct the Council to develop a strategy that promotes democratic renewal, and that they should also request that the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales review its existing proposals relating to the numbers of councillors and the introduction of multi-member wards so that these address adequately the need for democratic renewal. Any such changes should be implemented prior to the next local election. It may therefore be necessary for the Minister to use powers under section 87 of the Local Government Act 2000 to delay the elections until 2013.

The Auditor General also suggests that Welsh Ministers should consider directing the Council to conduct a referendum that seeks the views of the Anglesey electorate on a change to the Council's model of governance to that of Directly Elected Mayor and Cabinet.
Auditor General for Wales, Huw Vaughan Thomas, said today:
It is disappointing that Ministerial intervention has not succeeded in producing sustainable recovery for Isle of Anglesey Council. I acknowledge that, in some respects, the Council has responded positively to the intervention, but much work remains to implement plans and embed the modernisation of the Council's corporate arrangements. For this to happen there needs to be political stability within the Council and I do not believe the Council's current democratic arrangements support the changes that are needed.
In making specific recommendations for further Ministerial directions, I hope that a stronger intervention combined with democratic renewal will help to resolve these issues and allow the Council to move forward in a positive direction as well as securing sustainable recovery for the future.
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The full report is attached below (hat tip Photon Blog):

162A2011_IoA_CC_Corporate_Governance_Re-inspection

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Elected Mayor
More lip service to give Labour more power?

Anonymous said...

At least with the Council been run by Commissioners they would not dare brush complaints of wrongdoing under the carpet nor would they bring in so called independent investigators to do bogus peer reviews on the Officers

Anonymous said...

Right the wrongs, all of them.

Anonymous said...

This Council should had been dismantled years ago, the victims of it's unconstitutional behaviour and abuse of power need answers, will the Comissioners listen now?

Or, do we have to take the evidence of years of abuse to them, it's time for the Comissioners to decide are they there for the people? or are they there to save the abusers of power?

Groundhog Day said...

Seems we are going to be be stuck with the ineffective Bowles for a long time if they appoint him as the interim managing director as per the recommendations! He's been a failure in sorting out the council as shown by the requirement to bring in the commissioners so he should be given his marching orders and a request for a refund of our hard earned money.

Puck said...

What to do with those redundant portfolio holders?

Pay-per-view cage fighting?

Anonymous said...

Leave him there, a lot of these problems have escalated since he arrived, we want him to explain to the tax payer, the business rate payer, the desperate, and the victims of this Cruel Council,why this mess happened on his shift.

David Bowles was parachuted in on the orders of Brian Gibbons, they can both now be accountable for this mess that they BOTH created.

Anonymous said...

Right the wrongs, Anglesey County Council, right the wrongs that you made against the people.

Anonymous said...

"David Bowles was parachuted in on the orders of Brian Gibbons, they can both now be accountable for this mess that they BOTH created."

It's the councilors and certain council officers that have caused the mess. They are still there and in the case of the councilors most still will be even following the next elections.

Anonymous said...

I cannot wait to point the Commissioners in the direction of the missing Grant money which IoACC currently cannot account for.

The problems within IoACC are more serious than you can possibly imagine.

We are talking fraud, theft by false accouting and passive corruption, and YES we do have ALL the EVIDENCE.

I can assure you that justice is just around the corner.

Andrew Hughes

Ps. If any anon want to slag me off then have the balls to put your name to the post.

The Red Flag said...

Andrew Hughes - Out of interest can I ask if you have all this why you haven't been to the Police? Or if you have been to the Police why they seemingly haven't followed-up on it?

Was Carl Sergeant made aware and what his response was? (and Bowles)

Also, have you been in contact with AO and IWJ and what their response was?

Anonymous said...

Red Flag - North Wales Police do not have the resources nor expertise to unravel complex financial fraud.

I have endeavored to have this case investigated but to no avail. It's too complicated for them to get their heads around

Ceri Stradling succeeded in having the gang investigated but the case collapsed due to the detective inspector going on holiday with the accused.

The same criminal cell that Ceri Stradling was after are involved in this. I know this for a fact because I had the pleasure of speaking to Ceri Stradling last year and we discussed the usual suspects in depth.

Andrew Hughes

The Red Flag said...

Andrew Hughes - Thanks for that. I was under the impression that the Police now have access to centralised specialist forensic accountants that work for the regional serious crime units as opposed to the Constabularies - a sort of FBI for want of a better description.

How come they weren't used in this case?

The Red Flag said...

For anyone following this I believe (correct me if I'm wrong Andrew) that this centres around the 1998 audit report which can be viewed at this link.

http://photonicanglesey.blogspot.com/2011/03/ceri-stradling-second-report.html

Anonymous said...

I met with the former head of North Wales Fraud Squad prior to IoACC engineered a false audit trail and before the full facts were known.

If I would have met him after the known falsifying of financial documents, then I doubt I would still be fighting for justice because it's clearly a Police matter.

He also informed me that Fraud Act 2006 Section 3 deals with passive corruption and cover-up merchants. Let's hope IoACC are reading this, because it most certainly does applies to them and they are far from out of the woods.

Andrew Hughes

Anonymous said...

Passive corruption is arguably worse than the actual corruption itself.

To be elected to Office or employed as an Officer of a punlic body, see or be aware of corruption by others and do noithing about it makes you not only an accomplice but actually a lower life-form.