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Thursday, October 18, 2012

The scandal continues

The Wales Audit Office report published today into the AWEMA scandal is a very significant document, not least because for the first time we have a detailed assessment of how disjointed and chaotic the process of Government is in Cathays Park.

A senior official from the Wales Audit Office said on Radio Wales this morning that this is now the 19th report in the last 5 or 6 years that has identified weaknesses in the way that the Welsh Government issues and monitors grants. And yet no lessons have been learnt and the same mistakes are being repeated over and over.

The point was also made as to how silohed the Welsh Government is. Civil Servants in one department do not talk regularly or in a systematic way with their opposite numbers in other departments about matters of joint concern. In some cases it seems that civil servants were afraid to speak out in case they were being seen to be racist. That is an unsustainable culture and needs to be addressed urgently.

The report clearly states that there was no evidence of undue political influence with regards to the way that AWEMA was dealt with, despite there being senior members of the Labour Party at the top of that organisation. I am happy to accept that, but this conclusion does not excuse Ministers of political responsibility for this mess.

After all Ministers had concerns raised with them in 2003 and 2007 but apparently not enough was done to stop the rot. Previously posed-questions now need to be answered as to what action Ministers took in response to these reports and how vigorously these were followed through.
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