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Wales Audit - New Act sees Auditor General look to the future

Duty placed on Auditor General means his audits will now consider impacts of public body decision-making on future generations in Wales


The Auditor General for Wales has today (29 April) become one of just a small number of Auditor Generals across the world who have a statutory duty to audit sustainable development, under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, which has today received Royal Assent.

The new law sets long term goals for Wales which have been shaped by a year-long national conversation on the ‘Wales we want’. When it comes into force the new law will mean that, for the first time, many of the public bodies that provide services to people across Wales must do so in a way which takes account of money, people and their culture, and the planet. They will also have to think about the impact of decisions made today, on future generations.

The new law also requires public bodies to work together better; involve people and reflect the diversity of communities; look to the long term as well as the here and now and take action to try and stop problems getting worse - or even stop them happening in the first place.

Huw Vaughan Thomas, Auditor General said:

“I am very pleased that the Wales Audit Office and I have been given such a pivotal role in assessing compliance with this Act. Wales is leading the way in seeking to create a culture and society that values its people, its identity and environment, not just for now but for generations to come. The new duty placed on me will help ensure that Welsh public bodies focus on making the right decisions on our resources in Wales, both for now and also for the long term.

I look forward to working with the Future Generations Commissioner and public bodies to develop a rigorous, meaningful and proportionate approach to this work.”

The Well-being of Future Generations Act also requires the Auditor General to report on the extent to which public bodies have applied the sustainable development principle to:

  • the way they set their objectives, and
  • the steps they are taking to meet those objectives.

The Auditor General is required to report on his findings to the National Assembly at least once in every five-year electoral cycle.

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