Welsh Taxpayers in the dark

January 31, 2011 1:15 PM

The devolved Welsh Assembly Government continues to be lax with accounting for taxpayers’ money. Its flagship ‘Communities First’ programme, designed to aid those in deprived areas, has been caught napping again. After a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, it was discovered that there are a number of significant and inherent failings within the record keeping of its Cardiff Council-based Human Resources department.

Apparently, the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) have only maintained recruitment costs for their ‘Communities First’ programme since 2005, even though it has been in operation since 2001. That means that four years of spending Welsh Taxpayers’ money has gone unregulated. Nationally, I would not even want to comprehend the amount of Taxpayers’ money outside of Cardiff that has been totally unaccounted for.

On a more damning note, since 2005, a total of £75,648 has been spent by Cardiff Council on recruitment towards their thirty-five member staff team. But within the FOI response, it was highlighted that Cardiff Council when reporting expenditure had not accounted for several elements of recruitment, including interview expenses and Criminal Record Bureau checks, which could account for tens of thousands of pounds more.

A further depressing element to this well-meaning initiative is that the three charitable organisations receiving WAG grants for ‘Communities First’ are not required to forward their expenses onto the Welsh Assembly and only publish results within their annual report. This leaves Welsh Taxpayers totally in the dark about their spending plans and the use of public money.The devolved Welsh Assembly Government continues to be lax with accounting for taxpayers’ money. Its flagship ‘Communities First’ programme, designed to aid those in deprived areas, has been caught napping again. After a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, it was discovered that there are a number of significant and inherent failings within the record keeping of its Cardiff Council-based Human Resources department.

Apparently, the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) have only maintained recruitment costs for their ‘Communities First’ programme since 2005, even though it has been in operation since 2001. That means that four years of spending Welsh Taxpayers’ money has gone unregulated. Nationally, I would not even want to comprehend the amount of Taxpayers’ money outside of Cardiff that has been totally unaccounted for.

On a more damning note, since 2005, a total of £75,648 has been spent by Cardiff Council on recruitment towards their thirty-five member staff team. But within the FOI response, it was highlighted that Cardiff Council when reporting expenditure had not accounted for several elements of recruitment, including interview expenses and Criminal Record Bureau checks, which could account for tens of thousands of pounds more.

A further depressing element to this well-meaning initiative is that the three charitable organisations receiving WAG grants for ‘Communities First’ are not required to forward their expenses onto the Welsh Assembly and only publish results within their annual report. This leaves Welsh Taxpayers totally in the dark about their spending plans and the use of public money.

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