Dear Wales Audit Office,
I am requesting information on WAO work relating to Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and its governing Fire and Rescue Authority (further referred to as MAWWFRS/FRA). All requests relate to the time period between 1st January 2008 and the date of this request.
Specifically, I am requesting information regarding:
(1) Dates and, where applicable, locations of WAO visits, audits and inspections of the MAWWFRS/FRA area, premises and hard-copy or electronic data/information;
(2) The resultant reports of the actions described in (1)
(3) In the event that reports identified in (2) have not been completed or have not been made publicly available, reasons for such.
In your response, I ask that you provide the information in the form of links to on-line resources and, where these are unavailable, as attached files in electronic format (either PDF or DOC/DOCX Word files).
Dear Mr Lewis
I am writing to acknowledge your request for information of 8 October
I should firstly explain that the Auditor General for Wales became the
auditor of the accounts of local government bodies in Wales (including
Fire & Rescue Authorities) with effect from the 2014-15 audit year as a
result of the Public Audit (Wales) Act 2013. Prior to 2014-15 the Auditor
General appointed the auditors of the accounts of local government bodies
in Wales. Appointed auditors were separate office holders with their own
statutory functions, and were not part of the Wales Audit Office. As well
as being legally separate persons, appointed auditors were not public
authorities under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). Therefore,
there is not a right of access under that Act to information that they
In any case, if the information that was held by the appointed auditor
prior to 2014-15 was within the scope of FOIA, then to attempt to collate
this information from 1 January 2008 would go over the “appropriate
limit”. The appropriate limit is 18 hours (which equates to a cost of
£450) as set out in the Freedom of Information and Data Protection
(Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.
In addition, collation of the information requested in question 1 in
respect of our performance audit work from 1 January 2008 to the date of
your request would also go over the appropriate limit. As such, the
section 12 (exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit)
of the FOIA is applicable.
I have consulted with colleagues, and there are various difficulties in
collating the information you have requested. For example, a number of
performance audit staff have now retired and so it is likely going to be
difficult to identify if they conducted their work at a Mid and West
location other than the headquarters, and information with regard to the
locations of Wales Audit Office staff visits will not be centrally
located. There are also other issues such as the fact that a private
sector firm carried out the accounts work on behalf of the Auditor General
in 2014-15 so we would need to liaise with that firm and obtain
information from them.
I’d therefore be grateful if you could let us know if you have a
particular focus in terms of the information you are seeking, so that we
are in a better position to help you refine your request so that it does
not exceed the appropriate limit.
I should also be grateful if you would clarify the final part of question
1 of your request, because I am not clear what you mean by "hard-copy or
electronic data/information" in the context of question 1 and this
hinders our ability to determine what information we can provide within
the appropriate limit.
Your request refers to providing links to "on-line" resources.
Technically, this engages the section 21 exemption (information accessible
to applicant by other means) provided by the FOIA. However, for ease of
reference, I can provide you with the following links to relevant reports
that are published on our website:
The above annual improvement reports summarise the audit work undertaken
in the respective financial years.
Once I have received your clarification, I will be considering your
request in accordance with the procedures set out on the Wales Audit
Office website at:
The procedures are intended to ensure that requests are dealt with in
accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information
Act 2000, the Code of Practice set under section 45 of the 2000 Act and
other relevant legislation.
I shall write to you again once I am in a position to provide a
substantive response, though I may write to you before that should I
require any further clarification of any aspect of your request.
Please note that we have a policy of publishing in a disclosure log on our
website information that we provide in response to requests where we
consider that this is in the public interest. We will not, however,
publish personal information if this would be unfair and so breach the
first data protection principle. In line with this, we will generally not
disclose the identity or other personal information of requesters. We
will, however, disclose the identity of requesters if this is in the
public interest and doing so would be fair, such as in the case of holders
of public office. If you have any concerns regarding inclusion of our
response to you in the disclosure log, please let me know.
In the meantime, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to
Law & Ethics Specialist
Wales Audit Office
24 Cathedral Road
Tel: 02920 320678
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ways to contact us please visit our website at www.audit.wales.
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