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Written Statement - Welsh Government relationship with sponsored bodies

Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure
Maintaining a positive and collegiate relationship between the Welsh Government and our sponsored bodies enables us to work together to deliver the best possible services to the people of Wales.

Each year, I issue a Remit Letter to each sponsored body within my portfolio setting out the Government’s policy aims and areas for key performance indicators for the coming financial year. The body then prepares an annual operational plan setting out the level of service to be achieved in key areas, and the performance and output information that shall be collected to monitor progress, which is submitted for my approval. Progress against the Plan and performance indicators is regularly monitored by myself and my officials throughout the year.

Under the Framework Document, each body has its own Chief Executive who is, by convention, also the Accounting Officer for the organisation.  Sponsored bodies’ Boards are accountable to Ministers for achieving defined objectives, ensuring high quality corporate governance, and for oversight of the sponsored body’s executive, including the Chief Executive.  Governance and the internal control regime of a sponsored body is a matter primarily for the Board. As a Government, we rely in particular on the reports of the internal and external auditors for assurance. In addition, the Welsh Government has the right and responsibility to become more involved in particular issues when required.

Each sponsored body has its own individual Framework Document, adapted from a central template, which takes account of the particular circumstances of the individual body, including its primary role and objectives under its governing document and statutory obligations under UK and Welsh legislation.  Clear roles and expectations for everyone involved in the sponsorship relationship (including Ministers, Chairs, Boards, Chief Executives, Accounting Officers, sponsorship departments and auditors) are set out in the document.

The sponsored bodies listed above receive the majority of their funding from the Welsh Government. The nature of the relationship between the Welsh Government and each sponsored body is defined in a Framework Document, which is the agreement setting out the terms and conditions under which public funding is provided.  

Those particular sponsored bodies which are also registered charities, or established under Royal Charter, are required to comply with the terms of the Charter, Charity Law and guidance issued by the Charity Commission.  

Sponsored bodies have expertise and experience in specialist areas, and are valued partners who support and contribute towards many Welsh Government strategic initiatives and programmes.  In terms of governance, they have separate Chairs and Boards appointed in accordance with the Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies.

The Welsh Government has a number of sponsored bodies (WGSBs), four of which fall within my portfolio, namely Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, Arts Council of Wales, the National Library of Wales and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. There is a common relationship in place between the Welsh Government and all of its WGSBs, and therefore the general principles in this statement will also apply to other WGSBs.

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.

Following Julie Morgan’s question to the Leader of the House in Plenary on 5 July, I have prepared the following statement to clarify the relationship between the Welsh Government and its sponsored bodies.