Better financial accountability needed from next Welsh government


Extensive new powers to raise revenue and control public services mean the government formed following the Wales election must work harder to explain and justify its spending, CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, claimed today. 

New powers devolved to the incoming Welsh Government will include increased borrowing limits; setting the income tax rates for each tax band; and, from 1 April 2018, setting and collecting stamp duty land tax and landfill tax.

To use these powers for the benefit of Welsh citizens, against a backdrop of continued austerity and a growing population, the next Welsh Government must be prepared to improve financial planning and accountability. CIPFA offers four key priorities, critical for success:

  1. alignment of public services
  2. citizen-centred approach
  3. clear link between national outcomes and allocation of funding
  4. improved financial information for the people of Wales.

Don Peebles, Head of Devolved Government, CIPFA, said:

“The next Welsh Government faces a raft of fiscal challenges and an urgent need to develop modern, fit for purpose public services. With newly devolved powers, the next administration will have a chance to revolutionise service delivery. Our contribution to this debate not only helps improve understanding of the complexities of public finance, but sets out our vision as to how these challenges can be met.”

With the 2016 elections for the National Assembly for Wales taking place next week, focus must be on meeting the financial challenges facing the country. This should include a focus on long-term financial planning and the delivery of affordable and financially sustainable public services.

The incoming government will face the prospect, but it will also have significant new fiscal powers.

In its call to the new Welsh Government, CIPFA has set out its vision, based on five principles:

  1. Alignment of public services
    Collaboration in service delivery between public bodies will help drive lower costs, reduce duplications and overlaps, and promote better outcomes.
  2. Citizen-centred approach
    Public service providers in Wales must put the Welsh people at the core of all policy development. This should include empowering citizens to take greater responsibility in shaping outcomes.
  3. Clear link between national outcomes and allocation of funding
    Welsh ministers must establish national indicators to measure progress towards achieving wellbeing goals and reporting on them annually. There must be a far clearer link between budget setting and planning for outcomes.
  4. Establish a robust fiscal framework
    The ability to raise and retain more revenues locally must be coupled with greater financial accountability. The Welsh Government should introduce independent scrutiny of its forecasts of receipts and economic determinants from devolved taxes.
  5. Improved financial information for the people of Wales
    The new fiscal powers that the Welsh Government take on must be balanced with increased transparency. CIPFA believes there should be financial statements covering the whole of the Welsh Government, including the introduction of a balance sheet.


For media enquiries contact the CIPFA press office on 020 7543 5830/07833 091 303  or contact E:

For more details see Our Call to the New Welsh Government (CIPFA Briefing, 2016) 

For a broader glimpse at Wales’ public finances see Public Finances in Wales (CIPFA Briefing, 2016)


CIPFA is one of the leading professional accountancy bodies in the UK and the only one which specialises in the public services. It is responsible for the education and training of professional accountants and for their regulation through the setting and monitoring of professional standards.

Uniquely among the professional accountancy bodies in the UK, CIPFA has responsibility for setting accounting standards for a significant part of the economy, namely local government. CIPFA’s members work (often at the most senior level) in the public service bodies, in the national audit agencies and major accountancy firms. They are respected throughout for their high technical and ethical standards and professional integrity. CIPFA also provides a range of high quality advisory, information and training and consultancy services to public service organisations. As such, CIPFA is the leading independent commentator on managing and accounting for public money.