Welsh Assembly hit by accounting failures.

The report, by Sir John Bourn, who is also head of the National Audit Office, did not qualify the accounts but pointed to the difficulties faced by the assembly’s finance group in preparing the body’s first accounts.

But the report was also critical of the finance group’s failure to complete monthly bank reconciliations. By not doing so, the assembly had risked fraudulent payments being made and not brought to account.

The finance group also failed to deliver the accounts until the middle of October, six and a half months after the assembly’s financial year-end. The delay was blamed on the shortage of qualified staff and difficulties in transferring functions from the Welsh office to the assembly. Sir John warned: ‘It is important for the assembly’s senior management to act promptly to identify and address the lessons to be learnt.’

The assembly’s accounts and the auditor general’s report can be found on www.wales.gov.uk.

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