Audit, Inspections & Reports

Page updated on: 25/09/2018

From social care to schools to Welsh language, find out how council services are audited and assessed.

The Auditor General is independent of government and is appointed by Her Majesty the Queen. He leads the Wales Audit Office and is held accountable by the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly for the Wales Audit Office’s work.

The Auditor General’s appointed auditors are responsible for the annual audit of the majority of public money spent in Wales, including the £15 billion of funds that are voted to Wales annually by the Westminster Parliament. Nearly £5.5 billion of this funding is passed by the Welsh Government to local government in the form of general and specific grants. Local government, in turn, raises a further £2.1 billion through council tax and business rates.

As well as carrying out financial audit, the Auditor General’s role is to examine how public bodies manage and spend public money, including achieving value in the delivery of public services. The Wales Audit Office aims to make public money count, by promoting improvement, so that people in Wales benefit from accountable, well-managed public services that offer the best possible value for money. It is also committed to identifying and spreading good practice across the Welsh public sector.

Estyn is the office of Her Majesty's Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales. They are independent of, but funded by, the National Assembly for Wales. The purpose of Estyn is to inspect quality and standards in education and training in Wales. They are responsible for inspecting:

  • Nursery schools
  • Primary schools
  • Secondary schools
  • Special schools
  • Pupil referral units
  • Independent schools
  • Further education
  • Independent specialist colleges
  • Adult community learning
  • Local authority education services for children and young people
  • Teacher education and training
  • Work-based learning
  • Careers companies
  • Offender learning

Their formal title is Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales, but are known as CSSIW. Their role is to encourage the improvement of social care, early years and social services by regulating, inspecting and reviewing services. Their aim is to raise standards, improve quality, promote best practice and tell people about social care.

CSSIW regulates and inspects services for everyone from the very young to older people. Their work can affect the majority of people living in Wales at some time in their lives.

Their work covers the whole of Wales. They review services at both a national and local level so can tell the public whether services are up to standard, suggest ways of improving services and help safeguard the interests of service users and their carers.

CSSIW carries out an annual review of social services in each local authority in Wales. This informs an annual social services inspection plan for each local authority. CSSIW also carries out national inspections and reviews of specific areas of work carried out by social services across Wales.

The principal aim of the Welsh Language Commissioner, an independent body established by the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011, is to promote and facilitate use of the Welsh language. This will entail raising awareness of the official status of the Welsh language in Wales and by imposing standards on organizations. This, in turn, will lead to the establishment of rights for Welsh speakers.

Two principles will underpin the Commissioner’s work:

  • In Wales, the Welsh language should be treated no less favourably than the English language
  • Persons in Wales should be able to live their lives through the medium of the Welsh language if they choose to do so.

The Commissioner’s functions include:

  • Promoting the use of the Welsh language
  • Facilitating the use of the Welsh language
  • Working towards ensuring that the Welsh language is treated no less favourably than the English language by imposing duties on some organizations to comply with standards relating to the Welsh language
  • Conducting inquiries into matters relating to the Commissioner's functions
  • Investigating interference with the individual’s freedom to use the Welsh language.

Council & Democracy