Funding of Auditor General
Section 6: Expenses and accounts
20.This section amends section 93 of the GOWA. Section 6(3) inserts a new subsection (2A) into section 93 of the GOWA which gives the Auditor General the power to borrow money (sterling), by way of overdraft or otherwise, to cover an actual or anticipated temporary excess of expenditure over available income. The Audit Commission has a power to borrow under paragraph 9 of Schedule 1 of the ACA and the provision is similar to that available to the Auditor General of Scotland under paragraph 6(2)(d) of Schedule 2 to the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000.
21.In order to safeguard the constitutional independence and democratic accountability of local government in Wales, section 6(4) adds a new subsection (6A) to section 93 of the GOWA. This provides that the Assembly’s Audit Committee cannot examine or seek to modify the Auditor General’s estimate of the income and expenses of his office (which he is required to submit to the Audit Committee by virtue of section 93(4) of the GOWA) insofar as that estimate relates to the estimated income and expenditure of his office in relation to Part 2 of the Act (local government bodies in Wales).
Section 7: Fees
22.Section 93(3) of the GOWA (power of the Auditor General to charge a fee for auditing accounts) is repealed by virtue of section 72 of and Schedule 4 to the Act. Section 7 adds a new section 93A to the GOWA which makes further provision for the Auditor General to charge fees.
23.Section 93A(1) empowers the Auditor General to charge a fee for auditing accounts.
24.Section 61(3)(b) of the Act provides that where the Auditor General audits the accounts of a Welsh NHS body (under section 61(2) of the Act), the Auditor General must satisfy himself that the body has made proper arrangements for securing economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources. The fee that the Auditor General may charge under section 93A(1) of the GOWA may include an element to cover that part of the examination that he is required to do by virtue of section 61(3)(b) of the Act.
25.Section 93A(2) provides that where, upon request, he undertakes (in accordance with section 96(3)(b) of the GOWA) an examination into the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which a person has used his resources in discharging his functions, the Auditor General may charge that person a fee (not exceeding the full cost of the service). Where the Auditor General undertakes a study under section 145A of the GOWA at the request of any person (other than the Assembly) then he may charge that person a fee (not exceeding the full cost of the service).
26.Section 93A(3) provides that where the Auditor General provides a service to a body under section 96B of the GOWA (see paragraph 10 above – section 2) he must charge that body a fee (which recovers the full cost of providing the service). If the Auditor General provides services at the request of a body under section 145B of the GOWA (educational bodies in Wales) or section 44 of the Act (local government bodies in Wales) then he must charge that body a fee (which recovers the full cost of providing the service).
27.This section does not affect the provisions of section 93(1) of the GOWA whereby the Assembly is to meet the Auditor General’s expenses insofar as they cannot be met out of income received by him or met by virtue of the Auditor General’s power to borrow money (see note on section 6(3) above).
28.Section 20 of the Act deals with the fee arrangements in respect of audit work with regard to local government bodies in Wales.