Future Audit Arrangements for Community and Town Councils in Wales
In January 2020, we consulted on the proposed changes to the audit arrangements for community and town councils. The proposals were made to address systemic issues across the sector.
We received 136 responses from councils, clerks, individual members, internal auditors and members of the public. We have reviewed the responses and carefully considered the issues and observations made by respondents.
The Auditor General has published details of the audit process to be followed for the audit of the 2020-21 accounts and in future years. Community and town councils will be subject to audit arrangements based on a three-year cycle. In two out of the three years, the audit arrangements will be broadly the same as those in place, up to and including 2019-20. In one year out of the three year cycle, auditors will undertake a more detailed audit looking at individual transactions.
This approach balances the risk to the audit of community and town councils, the overall risk to the public purse, and the cost of the audit.
This webinar will provide more detail to councils on how the new arrangements will work in practice.
Cyber resilience in Wales
The modern world is increasingly reliant upon digital technology. The amount of data stored by public bodies is growing, and increasingly, computerised systems are performing vital functions in public services.
However, one of the downsides to this increased digitisation is the growing cyber threat from unscrupulous organisations and individuals seeking to exploit the digital world for their own monetary or political gain.
In order to defend themselves against such attacks, public bodies have to increase their cyber security but also their cyber resilience.
Cyber resilience is the ‘overall ability of systems and organisations to withstand cyber events and, where harm is caused, recover from them’ (as defined by the National Cyber Security Centre).
The COVID-19 pandemic has further emphasised the importance of cyber resilience. Reliance on the internet has surged during 2020, with huge numbers of public and private employees working remotely, and with the general public increasing their use of the internet to connect with friends and relatives.
Audit Wales is carrying out a national study on cyber resilience in the Welsh public sector. We have surveyed around 70 Welsh organisations about their approaches to cyber resilience.
Mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19
The Coronavirus pandemic has inevitably had an effect on many people’s mental wellbeing to varying degrees.
From key health and social care workers on the frontline treating COVID hands on, to those shielding, living alone, or those volunteering in the community – everyone has been impacted by the virus.
In particular we focused on:
- Community based services working together to provide mental health support
- Supporting staff health and wellbeing
- How technology can be harnessed to overcome loneliness and social isolation
- What it’s like to lead organisations through a pandemic
- Different approaches to providing mental health support
As well as this we also heard from We are Platfform, who shared key messages from their ‘Lessons from Lockdown’ and provided a picture of mental health and wellbeing in Wales.
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We do this by holding free shared learning events, webinars and podcasts.
They enable delegates to share and learn from each other:
- on the day
- remotely through social media
- through continued discussions post-event, and
- by accessing our event outputs and guides.
Our programme of shared learning events focusses on topics that are common across public services. These topics align with many of our studies and contribute towards our organisation’s strategic objectives.
They also underpin the ways of working and goals of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 [opens in new window], Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 [opens in new window] and the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 [opens in new window].
We recognise that organisations are at different stages of design and delivery of public services. This is an important focus for our events.
We believe in adapting not adopting – there’s no need to reinvent the wheel but equally, one size won’t fit all.