Will the Minister outline what structural support the Welsh Government will provide to town and community councils who are struggling to provide their audits on time, and how is the Minister looking to increase quality audits from these during the course of the Fifth Assembly?
The Welsh Government has provided funding to One Voice Wales to prepare training modules on a variety of topics which are of relevance to community and town councillors. These include their statutory responsibilities and the proper accounting practices they should follow. In 2015, the Welsh Government also provided funding to One Voice Wales to prepare an advanced finance module. Training based on this module aims to increase councillors’ knowledge and understanding of good governance and accountability. The Welsh Government is also funding the Society of Local Council Clerks to support clerks to undertake occupational training which will include the financial elements of their role. It is envisaged that increased competence for both councillors and clerks will assist councils in submitting their annual returns on time and receiving unqualified opinions.