A new Board is to take up the reins at the Wales Audit Office. Newly appointed Chair, Isobel Garner, will steer the organisation as its Governance Committee and support delivery of the Auditor General for Wales' programme of work.
Joining Isobel at the Board's first full meeting today will be four non-executive members - Peter Price, Christine Hayes, Steve Burnett and David Corner - and the Auditor General for Wales.
The Board will act as the organisation's Governance Committee and, from 1 April 2014, under the Public Audit (Wales) Act 2013, the Board will also be responsible for employing staff, procuring services, and providing resources to enable the Auditor General to do his work.
Wales Audit Office Board Chair, Isobel Garner, said today:
"The National Assembly has appointed members of considerable experience with a wide range of expertise and we are all excited to be working with the Auditor General in this way, as well as grateful to the Shadow Board, which trialled the new arrangements. Given the calibre of my colleagues, I am confident that the Wales Audit Office will make an even more helpful impact in helping Wales spend wisely in these difficult times."
Auditor General for Wales, Huw Vaughan Thomas, said today:
"I am delighted to welcome the Chair and board members to their roles and look forward to working with them as we build on the foundations laid by the previous Shadow Board and three governance committees.This new Board strengthens our internal arrangements further, to deliver an ambitious programme of work - promoting public service improvement - in what is a very challenging environment."
• The National Assembly for Wales formally appointed the Chair of the Wales Audit Office Board and its four non-executive members on 16 October 2013.
• The Board has been established under the Public Audit (Wales) Act 2013 and will take on its full range of functions on 1 April 2014.
• By the 1 April 2014, the Board will comprise the Chair, four non-executive members, the Auditor General for Wales and three employee members.
• The Auditor General and the auditors he appoints in local government are the independent statutory external auditors of most of the Welsh public sector. They are responsible for the annual audit of the majority of public money spent in Wales, including the £15 billion of funds that are voted on annually by the National Assembly. Elements of this funding are passed by the Welsh Government to the NHS in Wales (over £5 billion) and to local government (over £4 billion).
• Isobel Garner is currently a non-executive Board Member of the Health and Safety Executive reporting into Ministers at a UK level, a senior advisor to Newton Europe providing advice on local Government matters. She was a Commissioner for Education Services in Blaenau Gwent (September 2011 - December 2012) and has experience of operating at Senior Executive level (currently Director of Isotoro Ltd and spent eight years as Chief Executive of Wrexham Borough Council).
• Peter Price (Board Member) was Chairman of the European Parliament's Budgetary Control Committee. He has had successive careers in law and politics, progressing into a portfolio of Non-Executive, consultancy and judicial roles. He has been a Non-Executive Director of an NHS Trust for the past eight years, with a series of past health roles including a previous directorship. He has had several other Non-Executive Board roles in public and private sectors, including nine years on a University Board of Governors.
• David Corner (Board Member) is a qualified accountant with over 25 years' experience in helping public bodies to enhance their performance. He has had board and corporate level roles in a number of different organisations and projects, including as Director of Corporate Affairs at the National Audit Office. He has recently worked with Boards to develop performance assessment frameworks for Regional Development Agencies and Sector Skills Councils.
• Christine Hayes (Board Member) is currently a member on the Audit and Risk Management Committee of the Wales Audit Office, a Trustee of AgeCare (a charitable organisation caring for people with dementia), and a Governor of an NHS Trust in England. She has worked at board level for 10 years as an Executive Nurse Director, Chief Executive and Executive Director of Planning within the NHS in Wales. She has had a 40 year career in the NHS working as a nurse, midwife and executive specialising in quality, clinical effectiveness, patient experience and building and maintaining effective partnerships.
• Steven Burnett (Board Member) is an Actuary by profession with over 13 years' experience at Chief Executive level spanning Swiss Life UK plc and Royal Liver Assurance Society. He is currently fulfilling Non-Executive roles at Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust; the Wales Audit Office's Resources Committee, and the Homes and Communities Agency. He has previous experience of Non-Executives roles both internally as Chair of group subsidiary companies and also externally, as a Non -Executive Director of London Scottish Bank plc and Chairman of the Association of Mutual Insurers.