AWEMA: Report number nineteen


I'll keep this short - and it's not at all sweet.

The Wales Audit Office report, published this morning, into the way taxpayers money was given by the Welsh Government to the All Wales Ethnic Minority Association is damning. Turn the pages and you'll find facts, figures, quotes from officials and ministers that point to opportunity after opportunity to stamp out the mismanagement at AWEMA, all missed.


Because alarm bells ringing in one department weren't even heard in other departments.

Because when red lights were flashing - as they did regularly over the years - AWEMA promised things would improve. They didn't but no-one was looking anyway, not properly.

Because while the report concludes - and this is the one bit of good news for the government - that there is no evidence that Labour ministers interfered to protect a body run by a well-known Labour party supporter. It cites the author of one investigation who said he was aware of "the backdrop" of support for AWEMA within the government, that ministers "wanted AWEMA to work". Others point to a worry they'd be accused of discrimination if they spoke out and did more to question what AWEMA was doing with over the years with many millions of pounds.

Another point worth making: that until the Wales Audit Office put their report together, no-one actually knew how much public money had been given to AWEMA. There were many sources, many streams of funding and an overview seems to have been absent when it came to answering the question: just how much?

And a final point: the men from the Audit Office were anything but careful spokespeople-in-suits this morning. They were keen to volunteer the fact that this is just the latest in a long line of reports criticising the way the Welsh Government manages grant funding. It is, in fact, number nineteen, they said in a voice that screamed: we've had a gutsful.

It seems to me that the Wales Audit Office has indeed had enough. It is determined that this report is the one that will act as a wake-up call, that if there has to be a number twenty, it's because lessons are being learned but that changing the culture of management failure is taking time.

There are no ministers out and about responding to such strong and damning critcism. The Welsh Government instead has chosen to issue a statement:

"The report has confirmed there is no evidence that Ministers exerted any inappropriate political influence over funding decisions and always acted in accordance with advice from officials. It also highlights the swift and robust action the Welsh Government took to suspend funding to Awema while protecting those who were delivering programmes through Awema.

"The Welsh Government is already acting on the lessons contained in the Report which will build on the work underway to improve the future management of our grants programme."

Betsan Powys, Political editor, Wales Article written by Betsan Powys Betsan Powys Former political editor, Wales

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  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    Gobbledygook. I like it Fo he he

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    Re 62

    Seeing that you like pedantry - President may well be pretentious, Llywydd certainly isn't. You were probably 'thinking' of Arlywydd. Really not the same thing at all.

    And what you call a 'more accurate translation' - from Google?! - is actually gobbledygook.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Sorry John but I am innocent of all charges. Like the MPs until they have no choice. It is my stupid IPad pre-empting my words. It has got a mind of its own. Thank you for being so pedantic though, it becomes you. Even machines can't be as perfect as you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    Could the IT gnomes arrange it so that, if our blogs get removed hours after they were put on the site, they remain visible in our 'View your previous comments' so we can try and work out where we offended. ??

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    ... he took his time !

    its "Westminster" alf, single word....

    ... and they are everywhere, the incompetents, it's the Peter principle alf......

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    Perhaps we would like to talk about this....Well another West Minster Luvvy bites the dust. How much more do we have to put up with these incompitants in London.

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    Careful Cythraul or they will be on to the Mods to have your comments banned if you put Welsh language words on here. I did. Even though it was alright for Boxer to use French. That is the only reason Mods ban your comments now, is if some one complains.

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    Cythraul (61)

    "The building that houses the Siambr is, of course, known as the Senedd"

    Not to me (and over 90% of those living in Wales) its not !

    You live in a little wonderland of Welsh don't you Cythraul? Blissfully unaware of how little the vast majority of us care about that strange little, artificially manufactured language.

    Maybe you should be up there on Snowdon... with the dog.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    Cythraul (61)

    "If I was a "rather nasty little language fanatic" then I wouldn't be willing to express my opinions on this site through the medium of English, would I?

    Keep it up Cythraul. You've already started dropping in the odd (inaccurate) dollop of Welsh haven't you

    Soon it'll all be in Welsh, and only three men and a dog sat on Snowdon will understand anything you say on here...

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    ... "President" is a little pretentious...

    ... lets stick to "Presiding Officer", or if you must use Welsh a more accurate translation would be "Llywyddu Swyddog" (google).

    ... after all, we are not independent .....

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.


    The building that houses the Siambr is, of course, known as the Senedd (lit. Parliament).

    Crossroads - If I was a "rather nasty little language fanatic" then I clearly wouldn't be willing to express my opinions on this site through the medium of English, would I? Look to your own conscience before making such remarks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.


    If you paid any attention to the proceedings of the National Assembly you'd have noticed that it is very, very common to refer to the Presiding Officer as Llywydd (lit. President), amongst English speakers and bilinguals alike. Siambr (lit. chamber) is the name used for the assembly chamber where the debates take place.

    Your ignorance, and intolerance, is very disturbing - grow up.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    #49 - full time scrutiny. The current problems with Welsh legislation would have been avoided with full-time scrutiny by some other body.

    It's friday, and just for fun, seek out comment #300 for my view on Welsh:

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    "Cathraul" (48)
    "Siambr to the Llywddd"...

    Why on earth did you include something that over 90% of us who live in Wales do not understand?

    Arrogance, bloody-mindedness, or just plain stupidity? Whatever made you come out with such a pointless and confusing choice of words, shows you up as being the rather nasty little language fanatic many of us have taken you for.

    Show some sense man !

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    glasnost - more pathetic, boring and childish paranoia about Welsh speaking people. Shame on you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    Scrutiny appears to be a dirty word for WAG – No independent watch dog for WAG, the same in education, social services and many other public sectors. In other words as it stands now anything goes as long as it’s supportive of the Welsh speaking minority!

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    I wonder, if our administration was responsible for both raising and spending its revenue, would it have created stronger compliance, a more complete scrutiny, and a much more demanding Assembly ....

    ... an Assembly that refused to take "No" as an answer to those difficult questions ....

    ... an Assembly that explained to the electorate in detail how it had failed and succeeded.


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