Welsh Government
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New Welsh audit law receives Royal Assent

A new law to strengthen and improve the accountability arrangements of Wales’s public audit service has been granted Royal Assent by Her Majesty the Queen.

The Public Audit (Wales) Act 2013 will provide for more open and effective governance of the Auditor General for Wales (AGW) while protecting the AGW’s independence from the Welsh Government and the National Assembly for Wales.

A Bill receives Royal Assent when Letters Patent under the Welsh Seal signed with Her Majesty’s own hand signifying Her Assent are notified to the Clerk of the Assembly.

The First Minister, as Keeper of the Welsh Seal, applied the Seal to the Letters Patent in a ceremony in Cardiff earlier today (29 April).

First Minister Carwyn Jones said:

“Through our ambitious five year legislative programme, we are introducing ‘made in Wales’ laws which will make a real difference to the lives of people in Wales.

“We want a strong public service ethos in Wales, and one that is not prevented from delivering good quality services by unnecessary bureaucracy or governmental control. This Act will strengthen the crucial role the Auditor General plays in ensuring public services in Wales are delivered in an efficient and effective way.”

The passing of the Act fulfils a commitment made by Welsh Ministers to strengthen and improve the governance, accountability and oversight arrangements relating to the Auditor General for Wales following concerns about the professional behaviour and practice of a former Auditor General.

Finance Minister Jane Hutt, the Minister responsible for the Bill said:

“I’m very pleased the Act has received Royal Assent. It will strengthen the Wales Audit Office’s governance and accountability arrangements without restricting the Auditor General for Wales’s independence to examine whatever subjects he or she chooses.

“The absence of clear governance and accountability arrangements at the WAO was a significant contributory factor in allowing the previous Auditor General to override his office’s control systems. The resultant reputational damage caused by those activities to an important public office was considerable.

“This Act will go a long way to restoring public confidence in the office of Auditor General for Wales.”

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