Preparations in Wales for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit – an update

25 Sep 2019 - 4:18pm

Auditor General issues letter to Assembly Committee on progress made by public bodies

Today, the Auditor General for Wales has written to the External Affairs & Additional Legislation Committee with his observations on the progress made in recent months by devolved public bodies across Wales in preparing for a potential ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

Following our report, which was published in February this year, the Auditor General for Wales, Adrian Crompton, states that the key challenges facing public service leaders across Wales are now to:

  • Sustain collective working: Planning for a no-deal Brexit has continued, and has been significantly strengthened in some areas, since March. There is evidence of a more collaborative approach across Wales’ public services. It is vital that this continues.
  • Strengthen communications with the public: Public services must communicate clear and consistent messages to the public about the implications of a no-deal Brexit building on arrangements already in place. In particular, the public need to know what they should and, just as importantly, should not do in respect of medicines, food and fuel supplies.
  • Enhance independent scrutiny: Those charged with governance of Wales’ public bodies need to enhance their oversight and scrutiny of Brexit preparations, both as 31 October approaches and also in the immediate period thereafter.
  • Be collectively ready to respond to the unexpected: Public bodies need to be agile and adapt quickly to unexpected developments, especially as some of the immediate implications of a no-deal Brexit are hard to predict.
  • Plan and prepare for longer-term impacts: Public bodies need to balance their attention between the immediate consequences of a no-deal Brexit and preparing for its longer-term effects.  

Ends

Notes to editors:

  • The Auditor General is the independent statutory external auditor of the devolved Welsh public sector. He is responsible for the annual audit of the majority of the public money spent in Wales, including the £15 billion of funds that are voted on annually by the National Assembly. Elements of this funding are passed by the Welsh Government to the NHS in Wales (over £7 billion) and to local government (over £4 billion).
  • The audit independence of the Auditor General is of paramount importance. He is appointed by the Queen, and his audit work is not subject to direction or control by the National Assembly or government.
  • The Wales Audit Office (WAO) is a corporate body consisting of a nine member statutory Board which employs staff and provides other resources to the Auditor General, who is also the Board’s Chief Executive and Accounting Officer. The Board monitors and advises the Auditor General, regarding the exercise of his functions.