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Written Statement - Response to legislative consent motion vote on provisions in the Local Audit and Accountability Bill

Alun Davies AM, Minister for Natural Resources and Food

On the 12th of November the National Assembly decided not to approve the legislative consent motion for the relevant provisions in the Local Audit and Accountability Bill. It is not my intention to seek to re-introduce this legislative consent motion. As a consequence of the vote, I have written to the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, who has agreed to amend the Bill accordingly by removing cross-border IDBs from the England auditing regime.

This could, of course, result in a situation where the cross border Internal Drainage Boards are not covered by any audit arrangements. I have previously announced my intention to bring forward an Order under the Public Bodies Act 2011, which would transfer the functions of IDBs wholly or mainly in Wales to Natural Resources Wales, subject to the consent of the National Assembly and the Secretary of State. I have asked officials to bring forward this Order as soon as possible and I hope to have the new structures in place by April 2015. This will ensure that there  is no gap with the audit arrangements for the two cross border IDBs. I trust that Members will agree that these proposals both recognise the decision of the National Assembly and also put in place a clear and coherent structure to deal with these matters. I hope now that Members will support the necessary measures to put this new structure in place.

This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.