CEREDIGION County Council’s accounts got a clean bill of health from Audit Wales but improvements need to be made by the Estates department – again.

Members of the audit committee heard on Thursday (September 10) that Audit Wales would have given the authority’s a report “as positive as we could give” if there had not been delays in responses from the Estates department and unclear audit trails in some cases, which have been raised as concerns over the last four years.

Auditor Jason Blewitt added that Ceredigion had made an “outstanding achievement” in meeting the September audit deadline, with around half of Welsh authorities not expected to do so.

Councillors voted to send a letter to chief executive Eifion Evans outlining concerns about the Estates department auditing process and to ask the new head of service to prepare a report for November’s audit committee about what has gone wrong, as well as how issues will be overcome.

“The issues arising are similar to prior years in terms of delays in responses to audit queries from Estates staff, insufficient audit trail and lack of effective Quality Assurance within Estates to ensure that issues and errors are identified internally and not when the audit is engaged,” states the Audit Wales report.

It adds that there is a risk that those future audit deadlines may not be met.

Cllr Gareth Rees said it was “exceptional” that the audit work had been completed in the circumstances but added that issues in estates “needs to be sorted out.”

Head of finance Stephen Johnson said: “There’s a very successful story here about how it’s all come together,” adding that risks to deadlines were minimal

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