A productive year for public audit in Wales in the face of a worldwide pandemic
Despite some significant changes to our planned work due to COVID-19, we successfully delivered a full audit programme in 2020-21.
Our Annual Report and Accounts 2020-21 has now been published.
Alongside our financial and accountability statements, the report provides a summary of the changes made to the original work programmes set out in our Annual Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the progress we made in delivering those adapted plans.
A selection of case studies has been included to give more insight on some of the projects we have been involved with and the contribution that work has made.
We also provide narrative on how we used our resources in 2020-21, and on the progress we made towards achieving the key performance indicator targets set out in our Plan.
We are pleased to report that we delivered our full programme of audit of accounts work in 2020-21. Our success in continuing to deliver timely and good quality audits reflects a great collective effort by both our staff and public body officers to embrace new ways of working and remain flexible to and considerate of the many issues arising.
Our national studies programme has always retained a degree of flexibility to respond to changing circumstances. Not surprisingly, we exercised that flexibility over the past year more than ever before. We published several reports focused specifically on the COVID-19 response and reshaped much of our planned work to position it in this context.
At the local level, we significantly reshaped our governance and value for money audit plans at individual NHS and local government bodies to concentrate on issues of the most relevance to the evolving situation.
I am indebted to all Audit Wales staff for their professionalism, hard work and commitment to public service through these challenging times.
I pay tribute to our staff for all their hard work and commitment throughout the year. In this Report we celebrate our achievements, of which there are many, but identify some important areas where we need to reflect and make further improvements.
Looking forward we will continue to prioritise the ongoing support of the health and wellbeing of Audit Wales staff as we move from a ‘response’ to a ‘recovery’ approach with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. In shaping our new way of working for the future, we will build on the adaptations outlined in this Report, to capture and keep some of the positive changes we have seen during the pandemic.
Notes to Editors:
- This Annual Report for the year ended 31 March 2021 has been jointly prepared, and is laid before the Senedd, by the Auditor General for Wales and the Chair of the Wales Audit Office, in accordance with Schedule 2 of the Public Audit (Wales) Act 2013 and containing matters as directed by the Treasury.
- The Annual Report demonstrates that, during 2020-21:
- the exercise of the functions of both the Auditor General and the Wales Audit Office has been broadly consistent with the Annual Plan prepared for the year under section 25 of the Public Audit (Wales) Act 2013, but with some significant changes made to planned work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and
- the priorities set out in the Plan for 2020-21 have been substantively achieved.
- The Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2021 have been prepared by the Auditor General for Wales, as the Accounting Officer for the Wales Audit Office, in accordance with Schedule 1 of the Public Audit (Wales) Act 2013 and in a form directed by the Treasury.
- 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 £21 billion of funds that are voted on annually by the Welsh Parliament. Elements of this funding are passed by the Welsh Government to the NHS in Wales (over £8 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 Welsh Parliament 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.
- Audit Wales is the umbrella name for the Auditor General for Wales and the Wales Audit Office. Audit Wales is a registered trademark, but it is not a legal entity in itself.