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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Audit Committee: 21st December, 2011

 

Report of the Head of Accountancy and Resource Management

 

Wales Audit Office - Grants Management in Wales

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             The purpose of this report is to inform Members of the outcome of the Wales Audit Office review of Grants Management in Wales.

Recommendations

THAT Members note the report.

Reasons for the Recommendations

To facilitate monitoring of the audit function.

Background

2.             Grants are very important in Wales.  The Welsh Government and other statutory funders use them as a powerful lever for achieving their policy objectives, enabling local government and the voluntary sector to provide specific services to Welsh people.  Grants both initiate and sustain significant economic and social activity and also represent significant investments of time and taxpayers' money.

3.             The Wales Audit Office (WAO) identified through analysis that Wales uses specific grant funding more heavily than other parts of the United Kingdom, with a relatively high number of schemes and consequently relatively high administration costs.  Whilst the WAO are unclear as to how many grants are currently being made to or by Welsh public bodies, in September 2011 they were aware of over 500 different schemes, collectively worth some £2 billion a year.

4.             It is clearly very important that grants are well planned and managed.  Funders want the maximum possible resources directed to project delivery, and they also want to be sure those resources are delivered in a way that achieves real value for money and more importantly, the public must be confident that this funding is being administered and spent in a fair and transparent way.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.             On the 29th November 2011, the Auditor General for Wales presented a report on Grant Management in Wales to the National Assembly for Wales.   The purpose of the report was to answer the question "Are Welsh public sector grants well managed".

6.             The overall conclusion from the Auditor General for Wales is that many grants are poorly managed, with funders and recipients failing to learn from past mistakes.  However, it was also conclude that there is clear evidence of a desire to improve and the WAO is well placed to continue supporting funders and recipients to do so, in part by the publication of the Auditor General for Wales's report which is attached at Appendix A.

7.             Contained within the body of the report, specifically at page 23 it states that "there is significant variation in the quality of grants management at local authority level".  This is further demonstrated on page 25 by Exhibit 8 - Percentage of grant claims adjusted or qualified for 2009-10, by Council.  As can be seen from this diagram the Vale of Glamorgan is performing exceptionally well with a qualification rate of less than 10% with only two other Councils performing slightly better. 

8.             It is pleasing to note that the Vale of Glamorgan Council has a special mention within the Auditor General for Wales's report along with Ceredigion and Wrexham because the WAO have recognised the improvements the Council has made to our grant management arrangements, this is outlined on page 32 of the report.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment, and Climate Change if appropriate)

9.             Effective audit planning and monitoring are key contributors in ensuring that the Authority's assets and interests are properly accounted for and safeguarded.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

10.        Provision of an adequate and effective Internal Audit function is a legal requirement under the Accounts and Audit (Wales) Regulations 2005.

Crime and Disorder Implications

11.        Pursuing initiatives to prevent, detect and deter crime is encompassed within the terms of reference under which the audit function operates.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

12.        None as a direct consequence of this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

13.        The work of audit is intended to assist in the achievement of all corporate and service objectives.

Policy Framework and Budget

14.        The proposals in this report are in accordance with the policy framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

15.        No further consultation is proposed.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

16.        Corporate Resources.

Background Papers

None

Contact Officer

Helen Smith - Principal Auditor Tel: 01656 754901

Officers Consulted

External Audit Manager - Grant Thornton UK LLP

Responsible Officer:

Alan Jenkins - Head of Accountancy & Resource Management